ConferencesJuly 2024

CALICO 2024 Conference Report

By Edwige Simon, PhD, Online Learning and Instructional Technology Director at the International Center for Language Studies

Edwige Simon


The 2024 Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO) conference took place at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh from May 21 to May 25, 2024. Through 100 presentations and 10 hands-on workshops, educators, researchers, innovators, and industry leaders from around the world explored the theme “Confluences and Connections: Bridging Industry and Academia in CALL.”

On Wednesday night, Luis Von Ahn, CEO, co-founder, and board member at Duolingo, kicked off the conference with an informal keynote. He discussed his professional journey from university professor to industry leader, the Duolingo model, language access, and the company’s efforts to integrate AI into their products. During the Q&A, Von Ahn engaged with the audience in a lively debate on the impact of AI on the field and the challenge of integrating culture and pragmatics into Duolingo products.

On Thursday evening, Frederik Cornillie delivered a powerful plenary address entitled “It Takes a Village to Create Impact from Research: Towards Smart Collaboration within the Innovation Ecosystem of CALL.”

Picture 1 – Louis Von Ahn, keynote address at CALICO 2024
Picture 1 – Luis Von Ahn, keynote address at CALICO 2024 

Presenter sessions covered a wide variety of topics. A significant number of AI-focused sessions included “Harnessing AI and Digital Tools for Developing Custom Flipped Teaching Materials,” “Tales with Tails: AI Image Generation to Enhance Storytelling,” and “Generative AI – Friend or Foe of Language Education?”. There were also sessions on Virtual and Immersive Reality, such as “Using Immersive Virtual Reality to Practice Public Speaking Skills in a Second/Foreign Language (L2)” and “Virtual Reality in Language and Intercultural Communication Education.” Other sessions focused on a range of CALL topics, including game-based approaches, MOOCs, online teaching, social media, and app-based language learning. The FLTMAG participated in a panel discussion about how to get published in the field of CALL.

Picture 2 – Valentina Lukin, Russian Instructor at the Foreign Service Institute - screen behind her says "Unleashing the potential of ChatGPT in curriculum development and lesson planning"
Picture 2 – Valentina Lukin, Russian Instructor at the Foreign Service Institute

This year’s LaunchPad event took place on Thursday morning, hosted by The Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The LaunchPad event offers entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their tech-based language products in a shark tank-style competition. This year’s four finalists were:

  • Hallo by founder Joon Beh: An AI-powered language learning app available in over 50 languages that allows learners to engage in conversation with avatars.
  • Langiddy by Noah Duran: A social chat application that allows learners to connect and chat with fellow language learners worldwide.
  • Newcomer by Jason Kappes: A language-learning video game that immerses players in their L2.
  • Roxxem by Hugo Xiong: An app that leverages music to help users learn a new language.
Picture 3 – 2024 Launchpad finalists answer the judges’ questions
Picture 3 – 2024 Launchpad finalists answer the judges’ questions

Roxxem won both the judges’ votes and the People’s Choice Award, which was decided through an audience vote.

Picture 4  – 2024  LaunchPad winner, Hugo Xiong
Picture 4  – 2024  LaunchPad winner, Hugo Xiong

Between sessions, the 300+ attendees visited the exhibitor hall, where they learned about companies such as Avant Assessment, Cascade Reading, Immerse, The Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center, and  IALLT.

Picture 5 – Jeff Samuels, Stacey Powell and Dan Nickolai staffing the IALLT booth at the CALICO 2024 conference
Picture 5 – Jeff Samuels, Stacey Powell, and Dan Nickolai staffing the IALLT booth at the CALICO 2024 conference

As the conference concluded, CALICO president Jonathon Reinhart announced the winners of the conference game, a scrabble-like scavenger hunt hybrid that required attendees to interact with their colleagues to collect letters and form words. He also announced this year’s award winners:

  • The Robert A. Fischer Outstanding Graduate Student Award went to Lincoln Baines.
  • The Language-learning Website Award: The Esperanto “Access to Language Education Award” was awarded to Géraldine Blattner, Amanda Dalola, and Stéphanie Roulon for their work on #OnYGo.
  • The Outstanding CALICO Journal Article Award went to Gilbert Dizon, Himeji Dokkyo University. The article was “Foreign Language Learning in the Digital Wilds: A Qualitative Research Synthesis.”

Jon Reinhart then welcomed new executive board members Okasan Vorobel and Greg Kessler, and introduced Liudmila Klimanova as the new CALICO secretary. 

The next CALICO conference will be May 28-31, 2025 at San Diego State University with the theme ‘Converging Realities and Realms of Possibility’. The call for papers will be available soon on the new CALICO website which will launch mid-June. The deadline for submissions will be October 31, 2024. 

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