Series Editor: Regine Hampel

The field of computer-assisted language learning (CALL) has evolved as a response to the development of new digital and online technologies and their introduction into formal as well as informal language learning and teaching settings, superseding devices such as the tape/video recorder or the language lab. Teachers as well as researchers have largely been focusing on the various CALL tools available and on how to use them – usually in the context of pedagogies and practices that had been developed in the face-to-face classroom. However, this emphasis on practice is not sufficient, and in the 2015 editorial of the CALICO Journal (entitled “In Theory – We Could Be Better”) Schulze & Smith “plead for a concerted effort by CALICO Journal authors and scholars to further improve the basis of research in CALL” (p. ii). They point to the non-linear nature of language learning processes and put forward the work of scholars such as James Lantolf, Diane Larsen-Freeman and Michael Tomasello who support sociocultural theory, dynamic systems theory and emergentism, querying approaches which are based on linear and static metaphors that underpin e.g. programmed instruction or studies with a pre-test/post-test research design. They advocate explanation and exploration over prediction, and favour methods that help with “detecting, localizing, describing, explaining, and interpreting change” (p. iii), influenced for example by frameworks such as activity theory or complex systems theory. Other useful theoretical approaches include multimodal discourse analysis, and ethnographic techniques.

These theories and methods have the potential to greatly enhance CALL, allowing researchers to focus on how new technologies are fundamentally changing language learning and what this means for learners and teachers as well as policy makers. They also help to query the ways in which in many language learning settings new technologies continue to be used “as a digital simulacrum of earlier analog practices” (Thorne, 2016, pp. 241–242), not exploiting the potential of new tools and their affordances for learning to best effect. However, when we examine publications in key CALL journals across the world, it becomes obvious that many researchers prefer to follow a quantitative, experimental research tradition used in the natural sciences and based on positivist paradigms (see Hampel, 2019, p. 120).

We thus welcome submissions to this book series which focus on the processes in the context of computer-assisted language learning and challenge the dominant focus on outcomes, explore the use of new technologies in language learning and teaching through theoretical lenses that go beyond those commonly used in the natural sciences, and shed light on how CALL is changing language learning and teaching. Possible focus areas include but are not limited to the following:

  • CALL and social justice
  • Multiliteracies and CALL
  • Language learner identities in online environments
  • Language learning in the wild
  • Intersubjectivity in online environments
  • The socioaffective experience of learning languages online
  • Multimodal communication in CALL
  • Activity Theory and CALL
  • Training teachers to teach languages online
  • Methodological challenges around data collection in CALL (e.g. in the context of mobile settings), data transcription (e.g. representing different modes), data analysis (e.g. of multimodal data) etc.

This series is forthcoming. Please forward any queries about proposals to this series to books@castledown-publishers.com.au.