NSF-NRT Speaker Dr. Di Liu, Temple University
February 16, 2024
9:00 am
Foster Auditorium

NSF-NRT Speaker Dr. Di Liu, Temple University

“Beyond a Linguist’s Tool: The Transformative Power of AI in Language Research and Teaching ”

Di Liu, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor, Temple University
Department of Teaching and Learning

Bio: Dr. Di Liu received his doctoral degree in Developmental Studies from Boston University. He also holds an MS in Information Science & Technology. Dr. Liu is the coordinator of Temple University’s TESOL MSEd program, the English Language Teaching certificate program, and the instructional learning technology certificate program. He has an interdisciplinary research agenda that addresses the complex and dynamic nature of second language development with advanced technologies. Dr. Liu has published in the Journal of Second Language Pronunciation and Frontiers in Communication. He is also an author of Phonetics in Language Teaching (Cambridge University Press). Dr. Liu is the proud recipient of the 2022 Temple University College of Education and Human Development Owlie Award for Innovative Teaching. Supported by Temple University's Innovative Teaching Grant and CIBER program development grant, his current project explores the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in transforming language teaching and the use of Virtual Reality (VR) in preparing culturally responsive teachers. Dr. Liu is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences like PSLLT, TESOL and AAAL. He also serves as the Socio-political Concerns Chair of PennTESOL-East.

Abstract: Advancements in artificial intelligence, particularly large language models, have led to innovative and ground-breaking changes in language research and teaching. This talk will delve into the transformative power of AI, highlighting the revolutionary impacts of AI across various disciplines. I will begin by sharing an NSF-funded project investigating the constraints on downtrend as a function of Mandarin and Cantonese tonal inventories. The focus will be on how AI has been instrumental in processing and analyzing acoustic data, with special attention to techniques such as forced alignment, automatic segmentation, and annotation. I will then demonstrate a website I developed, which is a direct application of these AI technologies. This platform uniquely integrates adaptive instruction, automated assessment, and multimodality language teaching, showcasing the practical implementation of AI in language education. Next, I will talk about an ongoing research project in which this website is utilized to provide personalized and iterative pronunciation instruction to language learners. Finally, I will expand the conversation and discuss AI’s broader impact across different academic domains. This will include the use of natural language processing, machine translation, and speech synthesis in differentiated online teaching, as well as the integration of AI agents in teaching and teacher preparation.