By Karla de Lima Guedes
Thanks to the Web Science CDT training fund, I was able to attend the 2021 European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning (EuroCALL) conference back in August 25-27th. EuroCALL is an organisation that brings together researchers, practitioners, and developers who feel passionate about the use of technology for the learning and teaching of languages and cultures. Their events have been running for approximately 25 years and their annual conference is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) in Europe in the field of technology-enhanced language education.
The EuroCALL 2021 Conference was meant to take place in Paris but due to the pandemic it was hosted as a fully online event. The 2021 conference theme was CALL & Professionalisation, and it was an opportunity for academics from across Europe (and the world) and to share their research and practices, discuss topics of common interest, and network. The conference brought together researchers from disciplines such as computer and information science, linguistics and second language education. They used Zoom and Whova, an online event management software, for all the synchronous and asynchronous sessions, and the Q&A sessions.
The conference offered a mix of the traditional one-hour keynote speaker sessions and twenty-minute parallel individual presentations followed by Q&A, but also group sessions where presenters were expected to give a five-minute lightning talk based on one slide only followed by Q&A, SIG meetings, and Q&A sessions based on posters and videoed presentations. Some of the topics discussed included ‘Developing students’ Machine Translation Literacy’, ‘Teaching ESP online, blending Formal, Non-formal and Informal contexts’, and ‘Disruptive CALL: Anticipated innovations in technology, pedagogy and language learning’.
Attending the conference was a fantastic opportunity for me to meet practitioners and researchers who are as passionate as I am about computer-assisted language education. From my involvement with EuroCALL I was invited to deliver a national teacher training session on a CALL related topic. I also became a reviewer for their next publication and had my paper accepted to be published in their next Conference Short Papers Proceedings, which is coming out at the end of 2021 or beginning of 2022 – so watch this space!
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