Tag Archives: PanSIG

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.


Narratives: Raising the Happiness Quotient


The PanSIG 2015 Conference of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT) will be taking place next weekend (May 16-17) at Kobe City University of Foreign Studies. (SIG stands for Special Interest Group – there are 27 SIGs in JALT, based on various academic, research and pedagogical interests.)

Working alongside with Tom Gorham, who runs the Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) SIG, I’m the program co-chair for the conference. The theme of the conference is “Narratives: Raising the Happiness Quotient” – and Tom and I have tried to put together a programme that provides a narrative structure to the weekend.

“Our creative team has planned a different type of program on Day 1 with the two plenaries scheduled directly after lunch followed by an extended Q & A session,” write Donna Tatsuki and Donna Fujimoto, the conference chairs for PanSIG2015. “We will first hear from Liliana Landolfi from the University of Naples in Italy and then from Curtis Kelly from Kansai University. On Day 2 after Kim Horne’s talk, there will be an interactive session with all three speakers. We hope conference goers will share their thoughts and stories there as well.”

If you are interested in attending the conference, you can go to the registration page here.