Keynote speakers

Session 1: Thursday 15 October, 2020
10am London / 11am Stockholm / 6pm Tokyo

Hampel-photoRegine Hampel is Professor of Open and Distance Language Learning at the Open University, UK, and currently holds the role of Associate Dean (Research Excellence) in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies. Her research focuses on the use of digital technologies for language learning and teaching, contributing to new theoretical and pedagogical perspectives that go beyond narrow cognitive approaches and that take account of sociocultural theories of learning and ecological principles as well as the multimodal nature of the new media. She is particularly interested in the affordances of these tools and the potential they offer for learner interaction, communication and real-world learning, as well as the implications for task design, online teaching skills, and new literacies. This work has fed into a wide range of presentations and publications, including a recent book on ‘Disruptive Technologies and the Language Classroom: A Complex Systems Theory Approach’ (Palgrave Macmillan).

Presentation title: Disruptive technologies and language learner identity in the digital age [Video recording] [Slides]

Digital communication technologies are providing language learners and teachers with new opportunities, but they also disrupt more traditional ways of learning (Hampel 2019a; Säljö, 1999; Wertsch, 2002), offering for example more opportunities for self-directed learning. While many of the new tools have the potential to foster communication and collaboration – crucial for language learning – the different materiality of the online medium is not only changing the nature of how we learn but also the nature of the learner (Hampel, 2019b). This presentation will focus on the impact of the new technologies on language learner identity.

Traditionally, learning took place in particular contexts, and our understanding of what a learner is is still closely associated with educational institutions, where learning takes place in synchronous time and is embodied, with learners and teachers physically present. This means that learner identity is bound up with notions of time, place and the body that are closely linked to institutions (Kasper & Wagner, 2011).

In this keynote presentation I will explore how time, place and the body are conceptualized differently in online learning environments and how this affects our understanding of what learner identity means in online spaces today and how it is constructed and communicated, using language but also other meaning-making resources. I will draw on a range of theoretical approaches to explore how time is flexed, how learning is shifting from place to space and from institutions to communities of practice, and how the notion of the body is being replaced by disembodiment and re-embodiment. I will end by outlining implications for language learners and teachers.


Hampel, R. (2019a). Disruptive technologies and the language classroom: A complex systems theory approach. Palgrave Macmillan.

Hampel, R. (2019b). The conceptualization of time, space, and the body in virtual sites and the impact on language learner identities. In S. Bagga-Gupta, G. Messina Dahlberg, & Y. Lindberg (Eds.), Virtual sites as learning spaces (pp. 269–294). Palgrave Macmillan.

Kasper, G., & Wagner, J. (2011) A conversation-analytic approach to second language acquisition. In D. Atkinson (Ed.), Alternative approaches to second language acquisition, (pp. 117-142). Routledge.

Säljö, R. (1999). Learning as the use of tools: A sociocultural perspective on the human–technology link. In K. Littleton & P. Light (Eds.), Learning with computers: Analysing productive interaction (pp. 144–161). Routledge.

Wertsch, J. V. (2002). Computer mediation, PBL, and dialogicality (Special issue). Distance Education, 23(10), 105–108.

Session 2: Thursday 15 October, 2020 

2pm London / 3pm Stockholm / 10pm Tokyo / 7am Edmonton

Demmans EppCarrie Demmans Epp is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computing Science at the University of Alberta and a Research Affiliate with the University of British Columbia’s Language Sciences Initiative. She joined the University of Alberta, where she teaches courses on human-computer interaction and the use of artificial intelligence in educational applications, after completing her postdoctoral research at the Learning Research and Development Center of the University of Pittsburgh. Before moving to Pittsburgh, Carrie held Weston and Walter C. Sumner Memorial Fellowships. She was also a visiting researcher with the Open Learner Models at Birmingham group (UK) and Kwansei Gakuin University. She earned her PhD from the University of Toronto, where she developed an adaptive mobile-assisted language-learning tool and explored its use.

Carrie’s work focuses on the development and study of adaptive educational technologies and the mechanisms that are used to provide feedback to learners within these environments. This feedback is meant to support learner decision making as part of the learning process.

Presentation title: Using analytics and artificial intelligence to support language learner decision making  [Video recording]

Technology use is deeply rooted within language learning. From the early use of language labs and more recent use of multi-media, we have seen the wide use of technology by language learners. These technologies provide detailed tracking of learner activities that can be harnessed in a way that adapts the learning environment to better meet learner needs. This adaptation can be made by computer programs or humans when analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are used to support the sensemaking and adaptation process. This talk will focus on approaches that enable language learner autonomy by using analytics to help language learners understand their abilities or by recommending potential learning materials and paths to language learners.