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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Conference Information



Full Title: 9th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications

      
Short Title: BEA9
Location: Baltimore, MD, USA
Start Date: 26-Jun-2014 - 26-Jun-2014
Contact: Joel Tetreault
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL: http://www.cs.rochester.edu/~tetreaul/acl-bea9.html
Meeting Description: The field of NLP and education has dramatically matured since the first BEA workshop in 1997, where the primary focus was on grammatical error detection. As a community, we have continued to improve existing capabilities and to identify and develop innovative and creative NLP approaches for use in educational settings. In the writing domain, automated writing evaluation systems are now commercially viable, and are used to score millions of test-taker essays on high-stakes assessments. In speech, major advances in speech technology, have made it possible to include speech in both assessment and Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS). Spoken constructed responses are now being used in low-stakes and practice applications.

Consistent with this, there is also a renewed interest in spoken dialogue for instruction and assessment. Relative to continued innovation, the explosive growth of mobile applications has increased interest in game-based applications for instruction and assessment. The current educational and assessment landscape, especially in the United States, continues to foster a strong interest and high demand that pushes the state-of-the-art in automated writing evaluation capabilities to expand the analysis of written responses to writing genres other than those presently found in standardized assessments. Much of the current demand for creative, new educational applications stems from the development of the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI). CCSSI describes what K-12 students should be learning with regard to reading, writing, speaking, listening, language, and media and technology. The goal of CCSSI is to ensure college- and workplace-readiness across those domains.

In the past few years, the use of NLP in educational applications has gained visibility outside of the computational linguistics (CL) community. First, the Hewlett Foundation reached out to public and private sectors and sponsored two competitions (both inspired by the CCSSI): one for automated essay scoring, and the other for scoring of short response items. The motivation driving these competitions was to engage the larger scientific community in this enterprise. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are now also beginning to incorporate automated writing evaluation systems to manage the thousands of assignments that may be received during a single MOOC course (New York Times). Another breakthrough for educational applications within the CL community is the presence of a number of shared-task competitions over the last three years. There have been three shared tasks on grammatical error correction with the most recent edition hosted at CoNLL 2013. Also in 2013 there was a SemEval Shared Task on Student Response Analysis and one on Native Language Identification
(hosted at the 2013 edition of this workshop).

All of these competitions increased the visibility of the research space for NLP for building educational applications. While attendance has continued to be strong for several years, 2013 was a banner year for the BEA workshop as it was the largest ever and had the largest attendance count of any one-day workshop at NAACL.
Linguistic Subfield: Applied Linguistics; Computational Linguistics; Text/Corpus Linguistics
LL Issue: 24.4550


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