miLexicon @ Eurocall2010


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My EuroCALL2010 presentation about designing miLexicon - mobile software to help manage resource ecologies for self-initiated personal and collaborative language inquiry.

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  • This is about the design of miLexicon - software for Android mobiles that aims to support a particular kind of learning (self-initiated personal & collaborative inquiry) Follow this on twitter #milexicon or at
  • It is a kind of design-based research, by which I mean I have hypotheses (about how this kind of learning can be supported) and that these hypotheses can be represented in a design that I can implement and evaluate and refine in realistic settings. First I’ll outline the theoretical & design framework I am working within Then I’ll give an overview of 2 on going studies with language learners and indicate how these feed into the design Hopefully, I will have plenty of time to then show you how the current prototype works… Finally, I want to leave enough time to hear your suggestions, comments and questions
  • Understanding context is critical for designing learning, particularly in a ubicomp word Context, not just the physical & spatial settings in which we learn but also the socio-cultural historical settings and our personal individual constructions of meaning in these settings - our interpretations of the world, our situation definitions (Wertsch).
  • Map context to understand the Zone of Available Assistance (from various perspectives) and the Filters & resources that form and constrain interactions within this zone. What are resources & filters? Resources help me learn - Filters constrain/channel my interactions with resources - e.g. Curriculum / rules/available infrastructure - These constraints can be good as well as bad Design is about making adjustments and providing scaffolding that optimizes this ecology for learning
  • Coding categories derived from EoR framework However definitions are initially loose and evolve as a result of ongoing coding (similarities with open coding & grounded approach) . Also note EoR categories and coding does not need to be exclusive - it may be useful to describe and think about the same thing in different ways (e.g. as a tool, as a filter, as part of the environment)
  • The typical people and tool resources mentioned by learners and seen in other research (e.g. Guth’s work on language learner PLEs, descriptions of uses of handhelds e.g. Clough, Scanlon, Jones - Song & Fox).
  • The EoR particularly highlights the learner’s resources and filters - these are less often seen in analysis of language learning environments (but see Palfreyman).
  • A small selection of scenarios drawn from the interviews - these illustrate the use of resources in learning that is connected and extends over time and space - this is what I aim to support. We might call it personal (personally motivated and initiated) and collaborative (almost always involves others) language inquiry (usually involves formation of tentative hypotheses about meaning, use and production and the testing and evolving of these - see van Lier)
  • In summary, my interview studies give me the above…
  • So what do I actually want to do? Better connect (across time & space) the learner with language & language interactions in the world and the resources he or she can use to investigate these language interactions, and start to appropriate them and make personal and collaborative meaning. The main hypotheses embedded in this design are: That personal mobile technology can better help us capture, revisit and manage our interactions with language in the world across (formal & informal) settings That appropriate software can help us link these experiences of language with the resources that can help us to understand, reproduce and use that language (in this view resources include people, online tools, books, etc… That appropriate software (and representations) can help us reflect on, build, and manage PLE/Ns formed from these resources That appropriate (adaptive) software can guide/scaffold the way we interact with language and resources in our PLEs to improve our language learning
  • Of course there are many influences on the design I conjure up to respond to this challenge - not just the user studies
  • Auto-ethnography / self-ethnography as a method Chang (2008) warns auto-ethnographers of pitfalls that they should avoid in doing autoethnography: "(1) excessive focus on self in isolation from others; (2) overemphasis on narration rather than analysis and cultural interpretation; (3) exclusive reliance on personal memory and recall as a data source; (4) negligence of ethical standards regarding others in self-narratives; and (5) inappropriate application of the label autoethnography" (pp. 54).
  • An example of one of my self-initiated personal and collaborative language inquiry experiences
  • Now I want to provide an overview of the conceptual design Language in via user notes (written or spoken) and direct capture (photo, video, sound recordings) Organised persistent extensible collection of language items Language item record structures further investigation of meaning & use & practice History of interaction with language item and self-assessment items aim to promote reflection (OLM) Direct links to the resources that are useful for this contextual menus The second tab provides access to an extensible list of language learning resources customizable by user - their own personal learning environment - preferred resources, useful contacts etc, managed in the extensible collection of resources…
  • So, what does this look like in practice?
  • Click add an item opens a new item record
  • You can type or speak a name in but you just want to take a photo, faster ;-)
  • Menu button
  • Add media choose take photo - opens the camera
  • Add a title (but you don’t need to)
  • Close - later get a reminder
  • Open and add some notes.. Hmm maybe I’ll add some of those words later… Notice predictive text and autocorrect… Scrolll down…
  • Change my self ratings…. Notice the history. - how do you pronounce it?
  • Text to speech - alternatively look it up… ask a friend and record it…
  • Demo of tts
  • Check my pron - use Google SP…
  • Success… Now some more examples of use…
  • miLexicon @ Eurocall2010

    1. 1. Managing Resource Ecologies for Mobile, Personal & Collaborative Self-initiated Language Learning Joshua Underwood Rose Luckin, Niall Winters
    2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Resources & Context </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile, Personal & Collaborative Self-initiated Inquiry </li></ul><ul><li>A design: miLexicon </li></ul><ul><li>Questions & Suggestions </li></ul>
    3. 3. Context a s an Ecology of Resources Context is “a learner ’s dynamic lived experience of the world constructed through their interactions with multiple concepts, people, artefacts and environments . These interactions are spatially and historically contingent and are driven by the goals and feelings of those who participate. Partial descriptions of the world are offered to a learner through the resources with which they interact ” Luckin, R (2010) Re-designing Learning Contexts: Technology-rich, learner-centred ecologies. Routledge
    4. 4. Resources & Filters Knowledge & Skills Tools & People Environment Filters Filters Filters My resources The world of resources The EoR - an iterative & participatory Design Framework Map Context Identify (ZAA) MAPs, Resources, Filters & Relationships Design (ZPA) Adjustments & Scaffolding Evaluate
    5. 5. User Studies 1 interviews and follow up conversations Objectives: to generate varied plausible accounts of resources and filter use in language learning Participants: currently 15 successful ‘lifelong’ language learners (in 30s to 60s, learning English, Spanish, French, levels B2 to C2) Method: semi-structured interviews (30mins to 3hours) and stimulated recall of a recent language learning events + follow up conversations (e-mail and/or f2f) and collection of supporting multimedia data (e.g. Notebook photos, urls) Ongoing interviews are informed by analysis of previous interviews (e.g. generate new prompts - ‘do you have a notebook I can see’, )
    6. 6. Some data & analysis Resources: notebook, hand-writing, mother tongue translations, drawings Filters: size, convenience, ease & speed of use Resources: TL speaking friends & contacts, TL emails, memory Implied Filters: memory, concern for accuracy/appropriacy, ability to find examples in received e-mails Resources: interest, existing knowledge Filters: variation across time & subject, awareness, to hand-ness, effort Follow-up email & scan of notebook Interview transcript Interview transcript
    7. 7. Some Resources & Filters Filters - e.g. circumstance, location, curriculum, external pressures, etc… Learner’s resources, which often act as filters
    8. 8. The Learner’s Resources as filters… Learner’s Resources These vary over time & across settings and can significantly filter the learner’s interactions with other resources
    9. 9. Self-initiated Inquiry Scenarios: Moving to Design An advanced learner of English watching a DVD at home hears a word, he has a feel for what it means but no idea how to spell. Later he brings an English speaking friend home, shows her the clip and asks her to identify the word, She says its ‘”awkward” and spells it for him and they talk about it . Later he looks it up in a bilingual dictionary . An advanced learner of Spanish, with a passion for trees , is on a country walk with her Spanish partner . She takes a photo of a particularly beautiful tree to post to her blog and asks her partner what it is called in Spanish. He is unsure but thinks it’s an ‘Haya’ . Later they consult a Spanish language nature guide and use images of the leaves to identify the tree. She names it in Spanish and English on her blog. A learner of English watches CNN every morning for business news. He notices the unfamiliar phrase ‘pave the way’ in the scrolling text . He thinks he understands but notes it down to check in a dictionary . Days later, talking to an English-speaking friend on Skype , he tries to use the expression. Initially, the friend is confused and this leads to the friend correcting his pronunciation and some discussion of usage .
    10. 10. Interview Results <ul><li>Context Maps in terms of resources & filters - Resources similar to Song & Fox, Guth, Palfreyman, Kobayashi, etc… :-) - But greater awareness of filters - particularly the critical role of the learners’ resources (e.g. motivation, interests, time, etc..) more on this later… </li></ul><ul><li>Examples of how resources are used in learning - Many accounts describing learning ‘incidents’ and the use of resources to support these. These often echo van Lier’s description of experience-driven language learning & accounts of e-Dictionary and paper dictionary use (Kobayashi) and PDA use (Song & Fox) </li></ul><ul><li>Key Characteristic of these learning ‘incidents’ The learning happens over disjointed periods of time and across settings and involves different resources at different times and in different settings. The learner’s attention, time, motivation, engagement, etc. (i.e. EoR Filters) also varies across these settings </li></ul><ul><li>Design Challenge -> what is the role for technology in supporting this kind of learning? </li></ul>
    11. 11. I want to better connect My Experiences, Me & My PLE resources for investigating, sharing & making meaning Signs Songs Conversations Books Announcements interactions with language in the world Language classes Etc… Friends Google Blogs Thesaurus Examples Dictionaries Teachers Native Speakers Etc… Pronunciation tools TV Radio +
    12. 12. Influences on Design Design Intuition & Experience Me as a Language Learner Language Teacher Technology User Theory Vygotsky (ZPD, Internalisation) van Lier (Action-based learning) Wood, Pea (Scaffolding) Fischer (Design 4 Living/Learning) Dourish (Context & Embodiment) Design Framework Luckin, Re-designing Learning Contexts: Technology-rich, learner-centred ecologies Practicalities $ Skills User Studies Technology Affordances, Constraints, Inspirations e.g. AR, GPS, Small screens, Poor visibility in daylight Research Roberts et al, Language Learners as Ethnographers Guth - Language Learners & PLEs Rivers - Autonomy Ethnography Palfreyman - Social & Material Resources Song & Fox- Mobile Resource use Bull & Kukulska-Hulme - OLMs and MALL Pemberton et al - Cloudbank Chen, Kobayashi - Electronic & Paper Dictionary Use C.K. Looi - Seamless Learning
    13. 13. User Study 2 Trying it out 1 <ul><li>Objective: Find out more about what happens in practice </li></ul><ul><li>Method: autoethnography of a French ‘field-trip’ using a Nexus One phone & various resources: e.g. Memento (for notes), Google Translate, Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, French speaking friends, Google Search & Translate, Forvo, WordReference, French Wikipedia, etc… </li></ul>
    14. 14. Trying it out an example
    15. 15. miLexicon Design Capture of language interactions & Context Notes, images, sounds, where & when Collected language items My Resources Filters Structured language item record Interaction history Send item to resources e.g.
    16. 16. Current miLexicon
    17. 17. miLexicon in use an example
    18. 18. I saw a sign with some language that interested me. I got my phone out and added a new item to miLexicon
    19. 19. I took a picture…
    20. 22. Later on, in a coffee break I open the new item and added a name, by tapping on ‘item name’…
    21. 24. In the evening I got a reminder to look at words I had added to miLexicon…
    22. 25. I typed in my thoughts on what ‘pendant’ means and an example of use… Notice the helpful autocorrect…
    23. 26. … and I rated my understanding of ‘pendant’ - not so sure I could pronounce and use it though… Notice my actions with this language item record get recorded in the history…
    24. 27. So, I wanted to check the pronunciation and at the time I didn’t have an Internet connection to look it up, so… I tried the text to speech…
    25. 28. ‘ Pendant’ it said and I imitated, a few times… * I could, of course, have asked a French speaker to say it for me and recorded that and added it to the record but I like to talk like a computer ;-)
    26. 29. The next day and back at the conference where I had an Internet connection I thought I’d try my pronunciation out… So, I tapped the item record and then hit the speech input icon… ‘ Pendant’ I said…
    27. 30. And hey, bingo :-) Google recognised it and wrote it in for me. After, that I bored a few French speaking participants with my poor pronunciation of ‘pendant’…
    28. 31. Later still, I decided to look for a few more examples of ‘pendant’ in use…
    29. 32. I selected one of the resources I had previously added to my resource list (think personal learning environment)…
    30. 33. And that started a search of recent articles in Le Monde that contain ‘pendant’…
    31. 34. I followed through to read a couple and find the sentences with ‘pendant’…
    32. 35. After all that I felt confident enough to use ‘pendant’, at least in writing so…
    33. 36. I decided to send my photo and the text about ‘pendant’ …
    34. 37. … to Facebook …
    35. 38. … and I wrote a little comment on the photo in French.
    36. 39. Just to show another feature. If you have useful language learning resources on your phone the Android intents framework makes it easy to find these…
    37. 40. For example, straight from my language item record I can launch a search for this item in any dictionaries I have installed on my phone… End of demo and back to the talk…
    38. 41. Some Reflections <ul><li>The learner’s resources - User Studies 1 </li></ul><ul><li>Highlight importance of learner resources & filters (e.g. motivations, interests, effort, etc.) and variability of these over time. Suggests opportunities to support capture of events and context and assist learners in reflecting on these, linking them over time. Also opportunities to help learners find, share and use resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Time, Ease of use, Situation:task appropriateness - User Studies 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Nexus in Sunlight :-( It is difficult to capture language & context as it happens but not impossible to do it retrospectively though often there will only be time to make very limited initial entries - suggests opportunities for continuous passive capture of context and using this to support recall? Too many taps to find what you want or takes too long or connection drops = give up </li></ul><ul><li>Utility of the EoR Design Framework </li></ul><ul><li>So far, the EoR has highlighted importance of ‘filters’ and ‘learner resources’ in a way that other methods might not have. The EoR doesn’t specifically prompt designers to think about time (as a resource, as a filter) this might be a useful extension? </li></ul>
    39. 42. Future Work <ul><li>Now: Developing more stable prototype </li></ul><ul><li>Ongoing agile development and use/evaluation - expanding number of participants continuing through September to November </li></ul><ul><li>Next: Observe/log use over extended period (2 or 3 months) with several (5 to 10) expert language learners & competent technology users </li></ul><ul><li>Data capture: logs, diaries, observations, stimulated recall… </li></ul><ul><li>More distant future: </li></ul><ul><li>Model expert learner uses of miLexicon and implement scaffolding through adaptive navigation & prompts to support less expert language learners in developing autonomy and using miLexicon </li></ul><ul><li>open evaluation? (provide application (on Android Market?) provide feedback channel, make code open source? </li></ul>
    40. 43. Many Thanks :-) Suggestions & Questions?
    41. 44. References 1 Chang, H (2008). Autoethnography as method . Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. Chen, Y (2010) Dictionary Use and EFL Learning. A Contrastive Study of Pocket Electronic Dictionaries and Paper Dictionaries. International Journal of Lexicography Volume23, Issue3Pp. 275-306 Dourish, P.: What we talk about when we talk about context. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 8(1), 19-30 (2004) Fischer, G. & Konomi, S.: Innovative socio-technical environments in support of distributed intelligence and lifelong learning. JCAL, 23, 338–350 (2007) Guth, S. (2008). Personal learning environments for language learning. In Thomas M. (ed.), Handbook of Research on Web 2.0 and Second Language Learning (451-471). UK, IGI Kobayashi, C.: The use of pocket electronic and printed dictionaries, In K. Bradford Watts, T. Muller, & M. Swanson (Eds.), Proceedings of JALT 2007. Tokyo: JALT (2008) Kukulska-Hulme, A., Bull, S.: Theory-based Support for Mobile Language Learning: Noticing and Recording. International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies, 3(2), 12- 18, (2009) Looi, C. K., Seow, P., Zhang, B., So, H.-J., Chen, W., Wong, L. H.: Leveraging Mobile Technology for Sustainable Seamless Learning: a Research Agenda. BJET, online (2009) Luckin (2010) Re-designing Learning Contexts: Technology-rich, learner-centred ecologies. Routledge
    42. 45. References 2 Palfreyman, D. (2006). Social context and resources for language learning. System 34(3):352–370 Pea, R.D. (2004) The social and technological dimensions of scaffolding and related theoretical concepts for learning, education, and human activity Journal of the Learning Sciences , 13, 423-51. Pemberton, L., Winter, M. & Fallahkhair, S.: A User Created Content Approach to Mobile Knowledge Sharing for Advanced Language Learners. Proceedings of mLearn 2009, Orlando, Florida, 184-187, (2009) Rivers, W. P.: Autonomy at All Costs: An Ethnography of Metacognitive Self-Assessment and Self-Management. The Modern Language Journal, 85(2) 1, 279-290 (2001) Roberts, C., Byram, M., Barro, A., Jordan, S. and Street, B. (2001) Language Learners as Ethnographers. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Song, Y., & Fox, R. (2008). Uses of the PDA for undergraduate students incidental vocabulary learning of English. ReCALL , 20 (3):290, 314. van Lier, L. (2007). Action-based teaching, autonomy and identity. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching , 1 (1):46-65 Wood, D. (2001). Scaffolding, contingent tutoring, and computer-supported learning. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 12:280-91
    43. 46. Adjustments & Scaffolding <ul><li>What is the difference between: </li></ul><ul><li>automatically pulling a definition for a new word to a language learner’s notebook </li></ul><ul><li>helping the learner to find a definition and then summarise it to her notebook? </li></ul>Some things we want to make as easy as possible (adjustments) others we want to make the right amount of difficult (scaffolding) Task Effort Solution Task Effort Solution