The Automated Language Teaching and Assessment Institute (ALTA) at the University of Cambridge has recently announced the first summer school in Machine Learning for Digital English Language Teaching, to be held 3-7 July 2017, in Chania, Crete. We think it’s going to be a fascinating event – we’ll be there and will be sharing the outcomes on ELTjam. In meantime, we asked Diane NIcholls to tell us some more about the event.
Following Tim’s recent post on bots and their potential application in ELT, and after our own foray into the world of bots with our Ame product, we decided it was time to do another ELTjam review, this time of the recently launched Duolingo Language Bots.
The capability of bots to perform tasks that were previously the sole domain of human intelligence seems to be growing rapidly – tasks that involve communication, reasoning and analysis. A lot of the noise about bots is just hype and their value is still unproven but, despite that, is there a role for them in ELT? And does that extend beyond their use as a tool to support language learning?
Artificial intelligence is a vast, complex and potentially confusing subject. Since we believe it has the potential to transform ELT (and many other aspects of life too, of course), we thought it would be useful to start setting out what AI actually is, and demystifying some of the terminology. It’s a topic we plan to delve into more deeply during 2017, looking at the pros and cons, seeking out and analysing specific examples in the field of languages and sharing our thoughts on what this all means for ELT. But for now, we hope this acts as useful starting point in simply understanding what AI is and how it works.