by Shannon Donnally Spasova, Michigan State University
The International Association for Language Learning Technology (IALLT) conference (IALLT 2019) took place June 19-22, 2019 at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. The theme was “crafting communities of learners” and it celebrated the role of language centers, instructors, and campus technologists not only in supporting the academic success of language students through the informed use of technology but also in creating bridges across cultures and constituencies.
The conference began Wednesday with a series of pre-conference workshops as well as crafting workshops hosted at the University of Oregon’s crafting center. Members made fused glass dishes as well as block printed cards.
Some adventurous souls who appreciate the fun and social side of IALLT also went on a winery and tasting tour. This led perfectly into the opening reception which had distinguished speakers such as Karen J. Ford, Senior Divisional Dean for the Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon, conference hosts Jeff Magoto and Julie Sykes, and special guest Carl Falsgraf (former and founding director of CASLS), who entertained conference guests with music played by him together with Eugene band the NeverEver Band. Over the course of the following three days, approximately 200 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 11 pre- and post-conference workshops, the conference featured over 100 sessions.
Throughout the conference, attendees had the opportunity to visit the exhibit hall and learn more about various vendors and organizations including Avant Assessment, the Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning, Conversifi, Extempore, the Global Seal of Biliteracy, Ponddy Education, Vista Higher Learning, and Yabla.
Thursday’s keynote address was given by Michele Anciaux Aoki from the Seattle Public Schools. Michele talked about her involvement in efforts to get credit for high schoolers for proficiency in their home languages as well as the global seal of biliteracy and its effects on the study of less commonly taught languages.
This year’s Henderson plenary address was given by Johnathon Beals from the University of Michigan. Johnathon talked about the possibilities for language learning presented by artificial intelligence and machine learning technology. The Henderson plenary rewards the best abstract submitted for the conference.
At Friday evening’s IALLT Banquet and Business Meeting, outgoing IALLT President Felix Kronenberg reflected on the state of IALLT and welcomed new President Andrew Ross. Various individuals were recognized for their distinguished service.
Three remarkable people were presented with the Ruth Trometer Lifetime Achievement Award: Bruno Browning (University of Wisconsin), Judi Franz (University of California, Irvine), and Harold H. Hendricks (Brigham Young University).
|Picture 5 – Bruno Browning receiving the Ruth Trometer Lifetime Achievement Award.||Picture 6 – Judi Franz receiving the Ruth Trometer Lifetime Achievement Award.|
The Board also announced a new award given for sustained leadership in IALLT, named in honor of Harold H. Hendricks, former IALLT president, and executive secretary/programs director. The first recipient of “the Harold” was Jonathan Perkins (University of Kansas) for his service to the organization in multiple areas.
|Picture 7 – Harold H. Hendricks learning about the creation of an award in his honor.||Picture 8 – Jonathan Perkins receiving the first Harold H. Hendricks award (“the Harold”).|
The Henderson and Sheppard Awards, given for talent, accomplishments, and promise in the areas of organization and administration and publications, were given to Dan Nickolai (Saint Louis University) and Paul Sebastian (Appalachian State University).
|Picture 10 – Paul Sebastian receives the Sheppard Award.||Picture 9 – Dan Nickolai receives the Henderson Award.|
The Henderson Plenary Award was given to Johnathon Beals (University of Michigan) and Edwige Simon (University of Colorado) received the President’s Award for her tireless work in founding the FLTMAG and transitioning it to IALLT.
Several members earned awards for travel to the conference, including Margherita Berti, Silvana Domaz, Maria Ocando Finol, Kaitlin Lucas, Leeseul Park, Intissar Yahia who received the Ursula Williams Graduate Student Conference Grant and Nathalie Ettzevoglou who received the K-12 Conference Grant.
|Picture 11 – Graduate students receiving the Ursula Williams awards.||Picture 12 – Nathalie Ettzevoglou receiving the K-12 award.|
At the end of the banquet, the Talking Stick was passed on to the conference coordinator, Stacey Powell. IALLT 2021 may be held in the southeastern part of the United States. Stay tuned for an announcement about its exact date and location.
The closing session on Saturday was a Town Hall event in which the members could raise issues and express their opinions about what IALLT should address in the next two years. Lauren Rosen and Audrey Sartiaux moderated, and many good ideas were noted.
As always, the IALLT conference included many social events and opportunities for fun: the traditional pub crawl in downtown Eugene, regional group lunches for colleagues to connect, a cocktail hour prior to the banquet, and a closing event featuring craft beers as well as craft projects.
We especially thank conference host Jeff Magoto (University of Oregon), conference program committee chair Trish Nolde (Georgia State University) and the conference committee, conference coordinator Stacey Powell (Auburn University), and the IALLT Board for a wonderful conference.