How your phone can make ESL fun

Learning a second language is never easy, but what if technology could make it fun? Today in The Conversation Canada, Jennica Grimshaw and Walcir Cardoso of Concordia University explain how researchers are using mobile gaming to improve vocabulary and grammar for new English speakers.

When it comes to innovation in science, is it best to have a large group of researchers working on a project or are small teams better? Viviane Callier, a Munk Fellow in global journalism at the University of Toronto, reports on new research that provides a surprising result: small teams more often produce “disruptive research” that can introduce new ideas.

Elizabeth Schwartz tells us about a wide range of nuclear research that’s happening in Saskatchewan, but also how wider consultation is needed to make sure the public benefits the most from nuclear medical and energy policies.

Joel Lexchin, who writes often on important consumer issues regarding drugs, has studied the impact that donations from drug companies have on patient advocate groups and how potential conflicts of interest play out when it comes to deciding what drugs should be funded by public drug plans.

And finally…the term “binge watching” has entered the vernacular because of the way modern television shows use long-form story telling. Andrew Deman of the University of Waterloo does a deep dive into the history of why this new narrative style is so popular – and points to a renowned comic book author as the inspiration of much of what’s so good on TV these days.

Scott White


Today's Featured Articles

If game players focus on evading asteroids in a space game, they may not necessarily fixate on speaking-related anxiety. (Shutterstock)

Decrease anxiety about learning English with mobile gaming

Jennica Grimshaw, Concordia University; Walcir Cardoso, Concordia University

Educational mobile gaming can offer students a way to practice language while taking away the pressures of typical face-to-face communication.

Smaller research teams conduct more disruptive research; a new study could change research funding allocations. Shutterstock

Want disruptive research? Go small instead of big

Viviane Callier, University of Toronto

A new study in Nature finds that large research teams develop recent ideas, while small teams conduct more disruptive and innovative research.

Public policy and community engagement should inform nuclear research. Shutterstock

Good nuclear policy should combine research, innovation and public engagement

Elizabeth Schwartz, University of Saskatchewan

In Saskatchewan, nuclear research is being conducted with medical and energy applications. The public should be consulted when developing nuclear policy to apply and benefit from these discoveries.

A new review of 372 patient group submissions to the Canadian Agency for Drugs or Technology in Health – about whether new medicines should be covered by public plans – reveals a total of 1896 conflicts of interest. (Shutterstock)

How Big Pharma donations may influence public drug coverage

Joel Lexchin, University of Toronto

A new study reveals how many patient groups lobby for new drugs to be funded by public plans in Canada -- all while receiving funding from the companies manufacturing the drugs in question.

An early comics book writer inspired today’s TV writing. The Umbrella Academy (Netflix), based on the comic book by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, tops binge-worthy TV lists this month. Mary J. Blige plays Cha-Cha, an assassin that can travel through time. Christos Kalohoridis / Netflix

How an X-Men writer inspired binge-worthy, character-driven TV from Buffy to Game of Thrones

J. Andrew Deman,, University of Waterloo

Our current golden age of TV storytelling is influenced by comic books, in particular, one writer: Chris Claremont pushed boundaries and gave audiences strong female leads and deeply involved dramas.

La Conversation Canada

Dans une rue de Montréal. Au lieu de lutter contre l'utilisation du téléphone en classe, pourquoi ne pas en faire un outil d'apprentissage ? Shutterstock

Voici comment faire du téléphone intelligent son allié, en classe !

Ehsan Akbari, Concordia University

Au lieu de lutter contre l'utilisation du téléphone en classe, pourquoi ne pas en faire un allié? Chercheur, mais aussi artiste, ce professeur a vu toutes les possibilités d’apprentissage qu'il ouvre.

Science + Technology

  • Zebra’s stripes are a no fly zone for flies

    Tim Caro, University of California, Davis; Martin How, University of Bristol

    How the zebra got its stripes is not only a just-so story, but an object of scientific inquiry. New research suggests that stripes help zebras evade biting flies and the deadly diseases they carry.

Business + Economy