Ballymena mantakes on global computer role

A Ballymena born academic is set to shape the future of computer assisted language learning throughout the world.

Dr David Barr, Head of School of Languages and Cultures, Arts and Humanities Research Institute

Dr David Barr, Head of the School of Modern Languages at the Univerity of Ulster, has been appointed as one of only seven international experts to sit on the WorldCALL Steering Committee.

WorldCALL is the global professional association for teachers of computer assisted language learning, and Dr Barr will have responsibility for informing and shaping policy in computer assisted language learning across the globe.

The prestigious appointment was announced at the WorldCALL conference, organised by Ulster’s School of Modern Languages and hosted at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow, earlier this month.

It was the first time that the worldwide organisation has held its conference in Europe, which takes place every five years and has previously been held in Tokyo, Banff and Melbourne.

Commenting on his appointment Dr Barr said: “It is a true honour to be asked to sit on this international steering committee. To be one of only seven people in the world to be nominated to this role is a great privilege and underlines the international reputation of Ulster in the area of Computer-Assisted Language Learning.”

He added: “The WorldCALL conference has been a major success for the School of Modern Languages at Ulster with over 300 delegates from 42 countries attending over the course of three days.

“As a result of sponsorship from the University, we were also able to provide scholarship bursaries for 13 language lecturers from Argentina, Belarus, Brasil, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Venezuela to attend the conference.

“The scholarship recipients will now be equipped to lead change in their own institutions and will be responsible for spearheading the use of CALL and multimedia technologies in their respective institutions and their countries.”