Machine Translation and Generative AI in Language Education: Opening Dialogues

A Three Session Event

Featuring a Research Talk, Workshop, and Conversation with Graduate Students

While digital technologies are transforming how we teach and learn languages, their use also raises new questions. In the case of online machine translators (MT), and, more recently the arrival of generative AI, research has focused on four primary questions: are these technologies disruptive to language education?; is their use acceptable in the classroom?; is the technology accurate?; and is it effective in supporting language learning? Whereas these questions are commonly framed dichotomously, research has started to break the boundaries of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ or acceptable and not acceptable to consider how these technologies might be used to critically support learning, in what ways they can do so, and to what ends.

Contributing to the mission-critical goal of supporting academic innovation, the Language Center is pleased to invite graduate students and faculty (instructors and tenured/tenure stream) in the language programs to participate in three sessions that aim at increasing understanding and knowledge about MT and generative AI from the lens of language teaching and learning, and to engage in discussion and practice about their place and value within the language curricula.

The sessions will be facilitated by Dr. Kimberly Vinall, Executive Director of the UC Berkeley Language Center. Participants can choose to join all or any of the three sessions available and can indicate their participation in the registration form. All events will be held in person and will not be recorded. 

Session1: Research Talk and Discussion 
Breaking boundaries in machine learning research 
Thursday, March 21, 2024 
12:20 – 1:30 pm 
Jackson Hall 2-137 
Light lunch provided if register by March 15, 2024

Session 2: Workshop 
Developing AI-specific Digital Literacy Skills 
Thursday, March 21, 2024 
2:30 - 3:40 pm 
Bruininks Hall 312 
Coffee and light refreshments provided

Session 3: Conversation with Graduate Students 
AI in academia and beyond 
Friday, March 22, 2024 
 9:30 - 11:00 am.  
Folwell Hall 103 
Light breakfast provided if register by March 15, 2024 
This session is cosponsored by the department of French and Italian

Presenter: Dr. Kimberly Vinall (PhD, University of California, Berkeley) is the Executive Director of the UC Berkeley Language Center. With publications in the fields of applied linguistics, CALL, and SLA, her research explores the disruptive potentials of digital tools on understandings of language, culture, and learning. Her current project, with Dr. Emily Hellmich, specifically examines the use of machine translation tools in writing in order to explore how learners can critically use them to support language learning and the development of their digital literacies.

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