By Edwige Simon, Foreign Language Technology Coordinator at the Anderson Language & Technology Center, the University of Colorado Boulder.
The International Association for Language Learning Technology (IALLT) and the Japan Association for Language Education & Technology (J-LET) held their sixth joint Foreign Language Education and Technology Conference (FLEAT VI) at Harvard University on August 11-15, 2015.
On Wednesday morning, Peter K. Bol, Vice Provost for Advances in Learning (in charge of HarvardX) gave a keynote address on Exceptionalism, Provincialism, Globalization, and the World Wide Web. In his talk, Bol discussed the place and relevance of foreign language learning in an increasingly global world.
Throughout the conference, over 350 attendees listened to their peers and colleagues present their latest work in the field of language learning and technology. The conference offered 11 workshops, 143 sessions and 30 poster presentations. The sessions covered a wide range of topics, including language center design, flipped learning, online language learning, mobile apps, digital storytelling, Virtual Immersion, professional development, and Open Educational Resources (see the full FLEAT 6 schedule here).
Between sessions, attendees visited the exhibition hall located in stunning Annenberg Hall and (re)discovered various vendors and organizations including Rosetta Stone, Mango Languages, CALICO, Sans or Yabla. This conference also celebrated IALLT’s 50th anniversary. The Anniversary Committee organized various events such as a Selfie Tag game, several commemorative slideshows, and an anniversary table showcasing a large collection of IALLT conference programs and other IALLT artifacts.
This year’s Henderson plenary address was given by Christine Poteau, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Coordinator of the World Languages Program, Alvernia University. Christine Poteau gave her address entitled “From Local to Global: Virtual Pedagogies for Intercultural Competence Development” on Thursday, August 13th at 9am. The Henderson Plenary rewards the best submitted abstract. No other sessions are scheduled during the plenary address.
During the IALLT annual business meeting held on Thursday August 13th, IALLT’s outgoing president Harold Hendricks (BYU) introduced the 2015-2017 IALLT Board members:
- President Elect, Sangeetha Gopalakrishnan (Wayne State University) took office as IALLT President and Harold Hendricks (BYU) is now Past-President.
- Felix Kronenberg (Rhodes College) took office as IALLT’s President Elect.
- Sharon Scinicariello (University of Richmond) took office as IALLT Programs Director (succeeding to Edwige Simon, University of Colorado, Boulder)
- Gus Leonard (Cal State, Monterey) and Kristy Britt (University of South Alabama) were reelected to their respective positions as Secretary/Parliamentarian and Treasurer.
During the business meeting, Harold Hendricks honored the six recipients of the Ursula Williams awards (see picture above). The Ursula Williams Graduate Student Conference Grant, given in memory of former IALLT President-Elect, Ursula Williams, is for the express purpose of assisting worthy candidates to attend the IALLT biennial conference.
At each biannual conference, the IALLT Board honors two outstanding IALLT members. This year, Alex Waid (Coast Guard Academy) received the Henderson Memorial Award and Betsy Lavolette (Gettysburg College) received the Marie Sheppard award.
First awarded during FLEAT III at the University of Victoria, the Henderson and Sheppard Memorial awards were conceived in memory of Robert Henderson and Marie Sheppard, beloved members of IALLT. Bob was a president of IALLT and Marie was a Journal editor and Director of the Anderson Language & Technology Center at CU Boulder, home of the FLTMAG.
On Thursday, IALLT board members attended a business lunch at the Harvard faculty club with the three official LET representatives, Eiichi Yubune, Vice President of LET, Seiko Oguri, Secretariat of LET Chubu Chapter, Seijiro Sumi, Secretariat of LET Headquarters, where future IALLT and LET collaborations were discussed.
At the closing event, the Talking Stick was passed on to the next conference host, Ron Balko. The 2017 IALLT will be held at Concordia College, in Moorhead, Minnesota.