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Computational modeling of teacher learner expertise  

Background:  About a decade ago the advent of the Web and multimedia swung attention radically away from serious work that was under way on cognitive modelling of human language learning and expertise, and using those models as test-beds for cognitive research. Social and constructivist models are powerful, attractive and fit well into the current ethos of applied linguistics; but we have lost out on a dimension of research, and current work is not moving discernibly in this cognitive-modelling direction, which I believe provides a theoretically, methodologically and applicationally rich domain for CALL research.  

Research question: To what extent and how can we knowledge-engineer, and computationally model, teacher and learner expertise in CALL in current socially-enriched and constructivist paradigms? What does this enterprise tell us about human learning and teaching, and about the delicacy of computational formalisms to represent this expertise?  

Suggested methodology/comments:  Close collaboration between software engineers, AI experts, applied linguists and CALL practitioners and theoreticians, the goal being not to build real-world learning systems, but rather to construct test-beds which can be used to investigate human learning and teaching, and computational paradigms for their representation and investigation.  

Contact:  Roly Sussex   sussex@uq.edu.au

Reader Comments:

February 5, 2005: Kathleen Hanson   Kathleen.hanson@sjcc.edu   I was glad to see your inclusion of software engineers in your list of collaborators above. Having worked with a Russian software engineer who was developing a tool for creating interactive activities, I can say that having the tool has been a wonderful incentive to supplement courses with online practice activities. You can see the initial results at our online lab, www.eslstation.net under the link Interactive Activities. The links across the top (340L, etc.) provide immersion in practice activities for each language skill, from our lowest level to our highest. Our students love this site and use it regularly. For the language tool itself, go to www.languageteach.com to see its versatility. Remember, it has been developed by a Russian immigrant, so the use of English isn't always perfect, but he's put together a great tool. I hope this may be of some interest to your research. Kathleen Hanson/ESL Instructor/Lab Coordinator at San Jose City College.

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