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School of something FACULTY OF OTHER School of Computing FACULTY OF ENGINEERING Fostering language learner autonomy via adaptive conversation tutors by.

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Presentation on theme: "School of something FACULTY OF OTHER School of Computing FACULTY OF ENGINEERING Fostering language learner autonomy via adaptive conversation tutors by."— Presentation transcript:

1 School of something FACULTY OF OTHER School of Computing FACULTY OF ENGINEERING Fostering language learner autonomy via adaptive conversation tutors by Bayan Abu Shawar Information Technology Department, Arab Open University and Eric Atwell School of Computing, University of Leeds

2 Introduction Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) enables learner autonomy, in reading, writing, grammar, pronunciation Chatbots for conversation practice: Jabberwacky, Lucy, Jenny Problem: not adaptive to lessons on new topics Retraining an adaptive chatbot for new topics and languages: Sport, Computing, Quran, … Evaluation of chatbots for conversation practice Language learning exercise: build your own chatbot

3 CALL and learner autonomy Arab Open University relies on e-learning E-learning encourages learner autonomy Computer Assisted Language Learning offers independent exercises in reading, writing, pronunciation (eg ISLE)… Web-CALL for all to use autonomously BUT language is for communication, dialogue between 2 or more participants; conversation practice requires a partner?

4 Chatbots A chatbot is a program which can pretend to chat with a human user in natural language, to simulate conversation Many chatbot architectures: ELIZA, MegaHAL, CONVERSE, Elizabeth, HEXBOT, ALICE, … ALICE has 3 separate components: brain or language model, AIML markup formalism, Web-based engine … so it is easy to replace the brain or language model

5 Chatbots for practical applications Survey of chatbot applications: Abu Shawar and Atwell (2007) Chatbots: Sind Sie wirklich nutzlich? (are they really useful?). LDV-Forum Journal for Computational Linguistics and Language Technology, 22: Pandorabots.com maintains a list of most popular chatbots… 20cd88f3~/mostactive Mainly developed by hobbyists and researchers, But also some practical examples, eg advertising, online gaming or adult websites

6 Chatbots for conversation practice Chatbots can be used for conversation practice e.g. Lucy of speak2me.net ELT website Jenny of English2go.com ELT website BUT though Lucy and Jenny are nice to chat to initially, Teachers cannot adapt them to new topics and lessons

7 Adaptive chatbot for new topics ALICE can be retrained with new brain, but needs AIML We have program to convert a Corpus to AIML brain, e.g.: Quran-bot: replies with verses from Quran Computing FAQ-bot: replies with Computing answers Python-bot: replies about Python programming language … given a Corpus, can convert this to a chatbot!

8 Evaluation Better than nothing for a specialist language like Afrikaans (Abu Shawar and Atwell 2005) Many answers are nonsense; most students try once and dont come back; BUT a minority find it useful (Jia 2004) Students are more relaxed with chatbot than with teacher; Students can repeat material without boring the teacher; Novel technology can improve student motivation (Fryer and Carpenter 2006)

9 Novel student exercise? Student exercise: build your own chatbot! Pandorabots.com does not require programming skills Students must build a language model … Study a corpus, use this to find conversation patterns… To write as AIML rules for pandorabot chatbot. Evaluate each others chatbots: learn from each other (New technology can improve student motivation)

10 Conclusions Chatbot is a useful tool for autonomous conversation practice Current chatbots are restricted to pre-determined topic Corpus-to-AIML software can be used to build new chatbots Students can use a corpus to glean rules to build a chatbot


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