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Jun 13 2006 - 11:26 AM
Universal language translator
The Economist’s Technology Quarterly (June 10th 2006) reports the advance of translation devices that can process languages in real time. If successful, these devices will become universal language translators. A woman wearing an inconspicuous earpiece (in any country) will be able to hear anyone who speaks to her in her own language. Alan Black at Carnegie Mellon is at the front of this technology...
One question that this technology brings to the fore is: If we have these devices, why spend years in high school learning a foreign language? Our answer to this question may be a good litmus test for our own opinion on technology and its influence on curriculum.
Finally, this technology works, because Black substituted a rule-based model of language processing for statistical models of language. This advance may serve teaching as well. Regardless of how postmodern we think we are, teacher educators still use rule-based models (even if they do not call them that) to educate future teachers. Wouldn’t it be interesting to create statistical models of how good teachers teach, and then use those as the grounds for teacher instruction?
Posted in: FYI|By: Jeff Frank|24069 Reads