IALLT 2017 Conference report

By Angelika Kraemer Executive Associate Director and CLS Director, Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA), Michigan State University.

 

The biennial International Association for Language Learning Technology (IALLT) conference (IALLT 2017) took place June 20-23, 2017 at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN.

The conference was kicked off Tuesday by a tour of Concordia Language Villages and a series of pre-conference workshops. Tuesday evening marked the opening reception at the Hjemkomst Center, where attendees marveled at the full-size replica of Hjemkomst, a Viking longboat that sailed from Duluth to Norway in the summer of 1982. Over the course of the following three days, roughly 100 attendees were able to learn from their colleagues and peers about the latest trends and developments in the field of language learning technology. In addition to the 5 pre-conference workshops, the conference featured 60 sessions, 6 e-posters, and 4 SIGs (see full program).

Throughout the conference, attendees had the opportunity to visit the exhibit hall and learn more about various vendors and organizations including OWL Testing, Sounds Virtual Inc., Voxy, and Yabla.

Figure 1 – Julie Evershed during her Henderson plenary address.

This year’s Henderson plenary address was given by Julie Evershed, Director of the Language Resource Center at the University of Michigan. Julie discussed ways to reframe the language resource center to remain relevant and valued on campus in days of reduced budgets, lower enrollments as well as ubiquitous technology and language materials. The Henderson plenary rewards the best abstract submitted for the conference.

At Thursday evening’s IALLT Banquet and Business Meeting, outgoing IALLT President Sangeetha Gopalakrishnan reflected on her presidency and welcomed new President Felix Kronenberg. Various individuals were recognized for their distinguished service:

Ruth Trometer Lifetime Achievement Award: Marlene Johnshoy (University of Minnesota).

Figure 2 – Marlene Johnshoy with husband Phil Rukavina and IALLT President Sangeetha Gopalakrishnan.

Henderson Award: Amanda Romjue (Appalachian State University)

Sheppard Award: Angelika Kraemer (Michigan State University)

Henderson Plenary Award: Julie Evershed (University of Michigan)

President’s Award: Harold H. Hendricks (Brigham Young University)

Ursula Williams Graduate Student Conference Grant Recipients: Xin Chen, Margaret Godwin-Jones, Becky Lawrence, Judson MacDonald, and Paul Sebastian

K-12 Conference Grant Recipients: Tavane Moore and Julia Ullmann

Samantha Earp, Chief Information Officer at Smith College, shared her personal journey from language lab director to chief information officer in her inspiring keynote address titled “What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been: Lessons from Language Technology for Higher Education Leadership.”

In Friday’s closing plenary “Emerging Trends in Language Learning Technology,” panelists Dan Nickolai from Saint Louis University, Andrew Ross from Arizona State University, and Edwige Simon from the University of Colorado at Boulder engaged the audience by posing questions and sharing lessons to imagine the future of language learning and technology.

Figure 3- Edwige Simon skyped in for the conference-closing plenary with colleagues Andrew Ross and Dan Nickolai.

Following the plenary, the Talking Stick was passed on to the next conference hosts from the University of Oregon, where IALLT 2019 will be held June 19-22.

It wouldn’t have been an IALLT conference without many social events and opportunities for fun. The conference included a pub crawl in downtown Fargo (and yes, we did see the Fargo wood chipper), regional group lunches for colleagues to connect, a cocktail hour prior to the banquet, and a closing event featuring a trick shot demonstration by a local pool shark.

Thanks to conference host Ron Balko (Concordia College), conference program committee chair Jonathan Perkins (University of Kansas), conference coordinator Stacey Powell (Auburn University), and the IALLT Board for a wonderful conference.

Figure 4 – IALLT Board and Council Members Sharon Scinicariello, University of Richmond (Programs Director), Gus Leonard, CSU Monterey Bay (Secretary & Parliamentarian), Stacey Powell, Auburn University (Conference Coordinator), Sangeetha Gopalakrishnan, Wayne State University (President), Harold H. Hendricks, Brigham Young University (Past President), and Felix Kronenberg, Rhodes College (President Elect).

All pictures were posted on the IALLT Facebook group by various IALLT members.

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