On today's episode of the podcast, I got to chat with software engineer Jackson Bates who lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. Jackson used to be a high school English teacher, but gradually taught himself to code and landed a pretty sweet gig as a React dev, partly by chance. Today he works part time as a developer, part time as a stay at home dad, and volunteers his time with various open source projects. Jackson grew up in England, and studied English in school. Although going into education seemed a logical choice, he dabbled in other fields - like working at a prison cafeteria - for a while before landing a teaching job.
Deaf and hard of hearing students studying advanced topics in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) lack standard terminology to enable them to learn, discuss and contribute to their chosen fields. The ASL-STEM Forum enables the diverse, thinly-spread groups that are independently creating and using terminology to come together using a community-based, video-enabled web resource. A common vocabulary would provide interpreters with consistent terminology and enable deaf scientists to more easily converse from a common basis. This paper discusses the implementation of the ASL-STEM Forum, describes our approach to building a community using the site, and overviews the unique opportunities it offers for observing a language developing from the bottom-up.
Past research has shown that dictionaries and glosses can be beneficial in computer assisted language learning, particularly in vocabulary learning. We propose that L2 vocabulary learners can benefit from the use of a dictionary whose definitions are sensitive to the provided reading context, and that advances in the natural language processing task of word sense disambiguation can be used to automatically order the definitions of such a dictionary. An in-vivo study was conducted with ESL students to investigate the effect that the order of definitions has on vocabulary learning using REAP, a computer based vocabulary tutor. Our results showed that students benefited from having the algorithmically determined best definitions listed at the top of the definition list. Furthermore, our results suggest that word sense disambiguation may currently be good enough for use in intelligent language tutoring environments.
The goal of the Pedagogical Discourse project is to develop instructional tools that will help students and instructors use discussion boards more effectively, with an emphasis on automatically assessing discussion activities and building tools for promoting student discussion participation and learning. In this paper, we present a two related participation and learning scaffolding tools that exploit natural language processing and information retrieval techniques. The PedaBot tool is designed to aid student knowledge acquisition and promote reflection about course topics by connecting related discussions from a knowledge base of past discussions to the current discussion thread. The MentorMatch tool aims at promoting student participation using student mentors, i.e., course peers with a relatively good understanding of a particular topic. The system identifies students who often provide answers on a given topic and encourages classmates to invite mentors to participate in related discussions. Both tools have been integrated into a live discussion board that is used by an undergraduate computer science course. This paper describes our approaches to applying information retrieval and natural language processing techniques in the development of the tools and presents initial results from instrumentation and survey.
European river cruises offer a different way to see the continent. Now Emerald Waterways is adding another perk to floating on the river: learning something new. The educational focus includes wellness, photography and culinary classes. Included in the mix are smartphone photography workshops, yoga classes and dinners with a local celebrity chef. For instance, the company's Oct. 14 sailing, Sensations of Southern France, is scheduled to include classes by Jack Hollingsworth, travel photographer and author of the new book "The Joy of iPhotography."