Call for Papers - Building capacity for 21st century digital ELT practices


Guest Editor: Geoff Lawrence, PhD

Over the past 20 years, communication has become increasingly digital. Texting, twitter, social networks, augmented/virtual reality and emerging information and communication technologies (ICTs) are transforming the way we use language, the way we collaborate and the way we can teach (and learn) English. ICTs offer teachers synchronous and asynchronous forms of communication to explore genre, register and new understandings of agency and community. ICTs are disrupting the boundaries between time and space, offering distance, blended, flipped and web-enhanced modalities that are transforming learning environments. As a result, technologies complexify the relationship between a teacher and her/his learners. Online teaching disrupts notions of teaching and social presence, often requiring the curation of a ‘human feel’ in online environments that can feel inherently unfamiliar.

A key challenge for teachers is not simply navigating new technologies but the methodological changes required to effectively use such tools. Technology-mediated language teaching requires a paradigm shift in thinking about language teaching and learning. Instead of simply digitizing what is practiced in face-to-face classrooms, teachers must think of new ways of doing new things with new tools. Effective technology-mediated pedagogy requires an understanding of how to critically assess the affordances and constraints of digital tools to gauge their suitability for specific contexts and learning outcomes.

This TESL Canada Journal (TCJ) special issue will examine research and practices that help build capacity for effectively developing 21st century digital English language teaching (ELT) practices.  The goal of this volume is to present an overview of the potential and limitations of today’s technology-mediated ELT practices and to examine the critical skills needed to assess the appropriate use of digital tools in ELT contexts. Contributions should support TCJ readers in understanding the current state of technology-mediated ELT practices along with strategies to build teacher and/or learner capacity to effectively work with such tools in a range of ELT contexts.

The volume invites contributions that address, but are not limited to, the following areas:

Full-Length Research Articles discussing empirical research that examine these (or complementary) topics and their relationship with teacher development:

  • Teacher and/or learner beliefs towards technology-mediated practices
  • The affordances/limitations of specific technologies/approaches such as mobile-assisted language learning, virtual/augmented reality, collaborative learning or gamification
  • The affordances/limitations of specific modalities in ELT (i.e., flipped, web-enhanced, blended, distance learning)
  • Research into teacher development/mentorship in digital ELT practices
  • The use of analytics, data, assessment in digital ELT practices

Perspective Articles discussing theory, research and experience that share insights into digital ELT practices and teacher development.  Sample topics could include:

  • A critical discussion of the current state and limitations of technology-mediated practices in ELT
  • Strategies to critically assess the affordances of technology use within specific ELT contexts
  • Strategies to build learner capacity/autonomy in digital ELT practices
  • Connections between theory and digital ELT program design/practice

Book reviews and practitioner-focused “In the classroom” (pedagogical/practice-based) articles are also welcome.

To review Author Guidelines, please refer to:

Interested authors should submit an initial 300-word (maximum) abstract to along with a 50-word (maximum) bio by Thursday January 31, 2019This initial abstract will be vetted to ensure applicability to the special issue’s focus and to offer feedback.  Please note authors of abstracts will still need to submit full manuscripts for peer review as outlined below.

Important dates related to this call for papers are outlined below.

  • January 31, 2019: Contributor abstracts due
  • February 15, 2019: Notification of abstract reviews sent to authors
  • May 31, 2019: Full manuscripts due
  • December, 2019: Special Issue released

As part of the submission process, authors must download the TESL Canada Journal Submission Form on the Author Guidelines Page and send it to: as an attachment, along with their manuscript.

Questions regarding this special issue should be directed to:

Deadline: Abstracts are due January 31, 2019.