• Invited Speakers
  • Keynotes

Dr. Carolin Fuchs

Professor, World Languages Center and English/ Coordinator of Online Teaching and Learning, Northeastern University, USA

Speech Title

Virtual Exchange in Language Education: Trends and Future Directions

Virtual exchange (VE), also known as telecollaboration or online intercultural exchange, has rapidly gained prominence in higher education in the last few years. VE originated as an experiential pedagogical approach for virtually connecting geographically distant learners in institutionalized settings to support language and intercultural learning (Belz, 2003; Warschauer, 1996). Recently, VE has evolved from its early focus on Intercultural Communicative Competence or ICC (Byram, 1997) to embrace a broader framework of Intercultural Citizenship Education or ICE (Byram, 2008; Porto, 2021). As globalization and internationalization continue to reshape higher education (O’Dowd, 2018), there has been a notable shift towards models of ICE, emphasizing the intersection of language learning with community engagement. Recent scholarship underscores the potential of VE to not only foster linguistic and intercultural development but to also cultivate a sense of civic engagement by involving students in social action that emphasizes the common ground where languages and communities intersect (Palpacuer Lee et al., 2018). Furthermore, in the area of community outreach (Bringle & Hatcher, 1995), traditional initiatives in language education have often focused on languages such as Spanish (Nelson & Scott, 2008) or English (Deans, 2000), with a predominant emphasis on service abroad or within a country (Porto, 2021). However, the potential for community engagement between countries remains largely underexplored. This presentation aims to fill this gap by implementing VE within a foreign language program to facilitate community outreach targeting an under-represented population abroad, namely older adults (Newman et al., 1997). What began as an outreach effort during the pandemic has evolved into a cornerstone of a foreign language program, involving intermediate and advanced German learners, two non-profit volunteer organizations in Germany that focus on improving the living conditions of older adults in society, and German heritage speakers in the U.S. Since Spring 2021, students have engaged with the older adults in tandem and whole-group formats via analog or digital technologies (landlines, Zoom, WhatsApp, Facetime). Drawing on results from different student cohorts, this presentation delineates the potential of integrating community-engaged instruction across a foreign language program for outreach purposes. It also addresses the inherent challenges and considerations in facilitating intergenerational, intercultural, and language engagement through VE. Moreover, this curricular model offers collaborative opportunities for instructors, teaching assistants, and students within lower-division programs regarding community-engaged teaching and research. Key objectives of the program include contributing to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) goals, combating ageism through critical reflection, and offering insights for program development and coordination. The program offers a scalable model for implementing VE across the curriculum, applicable to other languages and academic contexts.

Keywords: Virtual Exchange, Foreign Language, Intergenerational, Community Outreach, Civic Engagement


Dr. Müge Satar

Professor, Acting Dean of Global (Hass)/ Reader in Applied Linguistics, Northeastern University, UK

Speech Title

Social presence in multimodal online language learning environments

Learners and teachers across the globe faced the challenge of establishing and maintaining interpersonal connections in online environments vis-à-vis the Covid-19 pandemic because these environments do not offer the same affordances as present-in-person contexts (Hampel 2019; Stickler 2022). As blended and fully online educational activities are becoming mainstream, interest in community building and assisting learners’ and teachers’ socio-emotional engagement (Coleman et al. 2012) is gaining traction. One way of building socio-emotional engagement is to establish and maintain social presence (SP) within a Community of Inquiry (CoI) (Garrison, Anderson and Archer 2000).

In online language learning and teaching research, SP has been proposed as the key factor in maintaining a sense of connectedness (Lomicka 2020), reducing feelings of isolation and improving active participation (Amezcua et al. 2021), avoiding social distancing between learners and teachers (Klimova, Kozlovtseva and Tolstova 2021), and thus sustaining interaction and participation (Satar 2015; Satar and Akcan 2018). While a large body of research on social presence investigates asynchronous text-based computer-mediated communication, exploration of multimodal synchronous (e.g. Satar, 2015, 2020) and asynchronous (e.g. Háhn, 2020) online interaction is rare.

In this talk, I will define social presence as the social, emotional, and cultural connectedness among language learners and teachers. I will argue that it is the key ingredient that most learners and teachers feel is missing in their online interactions. Following a review of current debates and developments, I will illustrate multimodal construction of social presence in both synchronous and asynchronous interaction involving text, still and moving images. I will do this by showing data from two online language learning contexts: virtual exchange and 1:1 tutoring. I will conclude by identifying key research directions and make suggestions for language learners and teachers for effective construction of social presence in their online pedagogical interactions.

Keywords: social presence; multimodality; videoconference; virtual exchange; 1:1 online tutoring


Siew Ming Thang

Professor, National Institute of Education-English Language & Literature, Nanyang Technology University, Singapore

Speech Title

Insights into children’s reading through eye-tracking research

It is not easy to understand the thought processes that go on in a person’s mind when he/she is undertaking a reading task as a variety of factors come into play that cannot be measured easily. Researchers are still struggling to find new techniques to understand the reading processes and eye-tracking technology offers an approach that allows researchers to probe into the cognitive processes of human beings through their eye movements. The application of eye-tracking (ET) technology to comprehend the learning processes of human beings has been going on for over 100 years and it has found prominence in reading research. However, research dealing with young children is still lacking. This is understandable as it is difficult to undertake research that allows probing into the children’s minds using the conventional approach such as think-aloud and in-depth interviews. The presentation will share eye-tracking research undertaken on prereaders in Malaysia to explore their responses when exposed to reading materials under various conditions, such as looking at a picture and listening to a matching narration, looking at a picture and listening to a non-matching narration, given a picture without narration, and also given a text with a matching narration only. Their story-telling performance was also investigated and matched with their eye-tracking data. Studies undertaken in Western contexts will be compared with the studies undertaken in the Malaysian context to see the influence of ethnic origins, language proficiency, gender, and family background on prereaders’ eye movements and story-telling performance. Theories will be used to derive a better understanding of the cognitive processes that go on in their minds when exposed to different conditions.


Dr. Victor Lim Fei

Associate Professor, National Institute of Education-English Language & Literature, Nanyang Technology University, Singapore

Speech Title

From Language to Literacy: Learning in the Digital Age

The manifesto for multiliteracies (New London Group, 1996) has led to the broadening of our understanding of literacy beyond language learning to multiliteracies (Cope & Kalantzis, 2015). In response to the clarion call, the literacy curricula around the world have been expanded to include multimodal meaning making, beyond the familiar focus on language learning. The digital age, with new technological tools, offers exciting possibilities for students’ language learning and development of multimodal literacy. Digital technologies also shape the ways in which we communicate ideas, express our identities, and influence the ways we think and act (Jones & Hafner, 2012; O’Halloran et al., 2017). In this talk, I draw on findings from my forthcoming book (Lim & Querol-Julián, in press) to discuss the developments in designing learning in the digital age and offer a research and practice agenda for the next decade, with the goal of furthering the meaningful and effective design of learning with digital technologies.


Dr. Gwo-Jen Hwang

Vice-President, National Taichung University of Education, Taiwan

Chair Professor, Graduate Institute of Digital Learning and Education, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taiwan

Speech Title

Applications and Research Designs of Artificial Intelligence in Language Learning

The advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies has attracted the attention of researchers in the globe. One of the popular applications of AI in educational settings is language learning. However, it remains a challenging task for language learning researchers to apply AI technologies to school settings, not to mention designing studies. In this talk, Prof. Hwang is going to introduce the basic conceptions and applications of AI in educational settings; following that, potential applications as well as research issues and research designs of AI in language learning are presented. In addition, several examples are given to demonstrate how to publish AI in language learning studies in quality journals.


Dr. Hsien-Chin Liou

Professor, Department of Foreign Language and Literature, Feng Chia University, Taiwan

Speech Title

Impactful technologies for language learning: Personal retrospect and prospect

A great variety of advanced technologies have increasingly made technology-enhanced language learning (TELL) more impactful in spite of the disruptive Covid-19 years in the past. Extended realities including VR, AR, or metaverse, artificial intelligence, LMOOCs, or machine translation all provide exciting affordances for scholars and teachers to investigate and implement new possibilities. In this talk, I will contribute my humble efforts with explorations I have travelled in the recent five years on topics of (a) corpus analysis of meaning senses of phrasal verbs in TED talks, and data-driven learning for writing revision, (b) emotions in online collaborative writing, (c) teacher development of TPACK (technological pedagogical and content knowledge), and (d) using ChatGPT for EFL writing. Then, I will offer prospect of TELL in the foreseeable future. Among all the progress technologies may keep making, we can envision quantum computing, more intelligent devices that simulate human’s five senses, real individualized instruction, adaptive learning, and multimodal multilingual tools in connected virtual spaces for world-wide English learner-users to communicate. Finally, I would argue for future proofing CALL for mindful and skillful teachers and researchers under Education 5.0, and our moral responsibilities by advancing equity and inclusion in our learning environments.

Keywords: reflective CALL teachers, informal learning, AI, affective variables, corpus, impactful technologies