Potential Affordances of Generative AI in Language Education: Demonstrations and an Evaluative Framework

Pack, A. & Maloney, J. (2023). Potential Affordance of Generative AI in Language Education: Demonstrations and an Evaluative Framework. Teaching English with Technology 23(2),4-24.

This timely article provides a comprehensive overview of the potential affordances of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in language teaching, particularly the AI chatbot ChatGPT. As the authors note, much of the current discourse on AI in the education sector is concerned with how AI can or could be misused by students. Although serious issues such as plagiarism need attention, the article focuses on the potential of tools such as ChatGPT to support teaching and learning and to save valuable time in developing learning materials, assessment tasks and rubrics for evaluating student writing.

AI chatbots such as ChatGPT work through prompts provided by the users, and the authors offer examples of prompts designed to elicit quality, appropriate responses which can aid instructors in developing materials for instruction and learning and for assessment purposes. The examples provided are based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) but could be drawn from other frameworks such as the CLB framework and/ or the LINC curriculum guidelines. The article also includes a discussion of how two existing frameworks, Hubbard‘s (1988, 2021) framework for evaluation and Bronfenbrenner‘s(1979), can be used in combination to assist language instructors in making informed decisions about when, how and why to use generative AI to support materials development and the creation of assessment tasks to be used in their own context.

The authors suggest that by combining elements of each framework, instructors can evaluate the use of AI tools for themselves and their students and consider how their use will align with the values and policies of the institutions and programs in which they work.

Retrievable from: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1397173.pdf

Evaluation of Language Training Services

Research and Evaluation Branch. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. December 2020.

This article cited below from the Toronto Star about learners’ and instructors’ perceptions of Portfolio based language assessment (PBLA) used in LINC classes led us to the latest evaluation of the Federal government’s Evaluation of Language Training Services (December 2020) . The evaluation report provides a number of recommendations and responses from IRCC. PBLA is examined in detail in Theme 2, Program Improvements for Fostering Success.

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Developing a Badge System for a Community ESL Class Based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks

McCollum, R.M., Tornar Reed, E. (2020). Developing a Badge System for a Community ESL class based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks. Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics, Special Issue: 23, 2(2020):228-236.

This interesting article describes how instructors in a community-based ESL program in Utah developed a badge and checklist system, using the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) to enable students and instructors to measure and track language proficiency development for individual students.  The system was implemented to address some of the challenges of providing ESL instruction in a multi-level classroom, particularly in relation to motivation and regular attendance.

The authors provide an overview of a badge system, in which badges can be digital or physical, and its potential to support learner motivation and self-assessment, as well as providing a practical assessment tool for instructors. They also provide a clear description of the methodology used to implement the badge and checklist system and an account of learner and instructor feedback following implementation. Finally, they offer recommendations for the implementation of a badge and checklist system, based on their own experiences and suggestions for further research in the area.

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NorthStar Digital Literacy Assessment

The NorthStar Digital Literacy Assessment was developed by the St. Paul Public Library and the St. Paul Community Literacy Consortium. Through a set of online and interactive assessments users can identify skill gaps in Basic Computer Use, Internet, Windows Operating System, Email, Word Processing/ Microsoft Word, Spreadsheets/ Excel, and Social Media.

The NorthStar Digital Literacy Assessment is widely used in the U.S.  and by some organizations in Canada and South Africa. As of March 2016, over 150,000 assessments had been completed.  Although the NorthStar Digital Literacy Assessment was developed for the adult basic education community it is appropriate for ESL learners – the developers note that, “A mid-level English-speaking ability is needed to complete the assessments.”

Retrievable from:  https://www.digitalliteracyassessment.org/