Presentation Title

How the Integration of Cognitive Science and Computer Science Can Transform Foreign Language Learning

Presenter Information

Juliette Chirol HillFollow

Faculty Mentor

Anthony Maddox

Start Date

18-11-2017 2:00 PM

End Date

18-11-2017 2:15 PM

Location

15-1802

Session

Interdisciplinary 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

interdisciplinary

Abstract

Barriers to global communication are no longer distance, time, and cost, but foreign language fluency. Technology has made it possible for nearly anyone, anywhere to reach out to others around the planet. Sadly, this development has come at the same time as a drop of interest in foreign language education, especially in colleges in the United States. Potential learners view the process as too inefficient, time-consuming, or difficult to reach satisfying levels of proficiency. Recent research in cognitive science has identified many optimal learning practices that speed up and reinforce language acquisition, and which teachers can incorporate into their methodology. In light of these advances, software and apps designed for the study of foreign languages have emerged, and each tends to emphasize a particular cognitive angle. This study will survey and analyze those digital resources, and will explore how they could be combined to achieve more efficient and comprehensive language solutions. Then, calling for more personalized training in the standard classroom environment, this presentation will present developments in computer science, particularly in adaptive learning, that show how technology can tailor and scaffold foreign language instruction based on a learner’s proficiency, motivation, personal background, and cognitive maturity. By spreading these new findings, we can promote multilingualism in a world desperately calling for better relations between its peoples.

Summary of research results to be presented

From scholarly reports to consultations with second language teachers, it is evident that foreign language instructors anticipate many profound changes in their use of technology and pedagogical methods. However, many teachers remain unaware of the vast language teaching apps at their disposal and the advantages and limitations of each app or website. Cognitive science has determined that learning vocabulary requires spaced repetition, testing the user, and using mnemonics to provide the best results in the long run. The website Memrise.com fulfills both of those requirements, making it the reason for being so widely used to learn foreign vocabulary. Many websites and apps take advantage of social media and crowd-sourcing models where learners can help each other in their language learning goals at a rate that standard classroom teachers may not be able to maintain. Examples of such websites include Lang-8.com and HiNative.com, where learners can receive feedback to their specific situations. Aiming to understand the meaning of the sentence before knowing how each word contributes to that meaning is a method used by many successful polyglots. Readlang.com allows learners to browse any webpage in a foreign language, select unfamiliar words, and store those words to be later learned. Through such a program, learners can communicate effectively more quickly, thus boosting their language level. All these digital resources, developed around a small set of core cognitive or pedagogical concepts, are tailored to the needs of the learner, providing some of the best resources to learn languages today.

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Nov 18th, 2:00 PM Nov 18th, 2:15 PM

How the Integration of Cognitive Science and Computer Science Can Transform Foreign Language Learning

15-1802

Barriers to global communication are no longer distance, time, and cost, but foreign language fluency. Technology has made it possible for nearly anyone, anywhere to reach out to others around the planet. Sadly, this development has come at the same time as a drop of interest in foreign language education, especially in colleges in the United States. Potential learners view the process as too inefficient, time-consuming, or difficult to reach satisfying levels of proficiency. Recent research in cognitive science has identified many optimal learning practices that speed up and reinforce language acquisition, and which teachers can incorporate into their methodology. In light of these advances, software and apps designed for the study of foreign languages have emerged, and each tends to emphasize a particular cognitive angle. This study will survey and analyze those digital resources, and will explore how they could be combined to achieve more efficient and comprehensive language solutions. Then, calling for more personalized training in the standard classroom environment, this presentation will present developments in computer science, particularly in adaptive learning, that show how technology can tailor and scaffold foreign language instruction based on a learner’s proficiency, motivation, personal background, and cognitive maturity. By spreading these new findings, we can promote multilingualism in a world desperately calling for better relations between its peoples.