BRAIN-CALL collaboration

Is this the way forward in an increasingly multidisciplinary world…? I took part in an eye-opening BRAIN-CALL joint forum at the JALT PanSIG Conference in Kobe last weekend.

JALT stands for Japan Association for Language Teaching; SIG stands for Special Interest Group. BRAIN is the Mind, Brain, and Education SIG – it’s ‘the new kid on the block’. CALL is Computer Assisted Language Learning – it’s one of ‘the biggies’ within JALT.

The aim of the collaborative forum was to combine educational neuroscientific principles with concrete examples of technology. Or as Curtis Kelly, the coordinator of the BRAIN SIG, put it: “Neuroscience brings new information to the table, but does not tell us how to use it. Let’s solve that problem through roundtable discussions, and by hearing about a few technological implementations presented by the CALL SIG.”

The four major BRAIN topics – together with the examples of CALL solutions – were as follows:

  • Attention and Anticipation (Jason Lowes’s Posse) / Zondle (Jon Gorham)
  • Identifying Learning Disabilities (Glenn Magee) / Dyslexic fonts (Michael Iwane-Salovaara & Maki Ho)
  • Embodied Cognition and Language (Caroline Handley) / SkypeRead (that was me!)
  • Immediate and Working Memory in L2 Reading (Amanda Gillis-Furutaka) / Branch Narratives & Reading Apps (Tom Gorham)

There were also some brilliant shorts, kicking off with Ai Murphy on “The Second Brain”, and some awesome energy breaks conducted by Steve Jugovic.


Published by Graham Jones

Astrophysicist and science communicator