CFP: Digital games and language learning: A sociocultural perspective

Digital games and language learning: A sociocultural perspective  (Edited by Dr Mark Peterson and Dr Michael Thomas)


In recent years there has been a surge of interest in the use of digital games in many spheres of education. The field of language education has also witnessed an expansion of work in this area (Peterson 2010). Language researchers frequently assert that the use of contemporary digital games in language education is a highly significant development (Sykes & Reinhardt 2012). The current literature suggests that playing many types of digital game may be particularly beneficial for second and foreign language learners (Peterson 2013). In the view of a growing number of researchers, digital games have the potential to provide access to optimal conditions for learning as they provide exposure to and opportunities to use the target language in a highly engaging, authentic and motivating context (Reinders & Wattana 2012; Sykes 2013). The expansion of interest on the use of games has coincided with advances in SLA research that stress the social nature of language learning. As many network-based digital games provide for extensive social interaction between players they have attracted interest from researchers who emphasize the importance of contextual and social factors in SLA (Thorne, Black & Sykes 2009).

Although there has been much discussion of the potential of digital games in the literature, research that explores learner game play is limited and many areas remain unexplored (Reinhardt 2013). Research that investigates the use of digital games from a sociocultural perspective has been conducted (Peterson 2012; Piiranen-Marsh & Tainio 2009; Zheng et al., 2009). However, studies remain restricted for the most part, to small scale experimental research. To date, few studies have addressed learner attitudes, gaming in out-of-school contexts or participation in game-related online communities (Peterson 2013). At the present time there is no dedicated collection that brings together state-of-the-art research on the use of digital games that is informed by sociocultural accounts of SLA. Moreover, there remains a lack of publications that provide classroom practitioners with a resource on which to draw. Through the presentation of theory-based work and studies conducted in the field it is anticipated that this edited volume will inform language educators in the pursuit of best practice.

Call for chapters

The proposed book will be divided into two parts: the first section will include theory-based papers that will provide a comprehensive overview of rationales for game-based learning that are informed by sociocultural accounts of SLA. The second section will focus on applied research and will include papers that report on actual learner game play, in-game interaction, attitudes and participation in game related online communities.

Chapters will be between 5,000 to 7,000 words long and will appeal to language teachers, graduate students and researchers working in the fields of applied linguistics, second language acquisition and the learning sciences. Submissions are encouraged focusing on one or more of the following areas:

Theory of game-based learning
Learner in-game interaction
Learner attitudes
Use of modified games
Gaming in out-of-school contexts
Integration of game-based learning
Learner participation in online game-related communities

Abstract submission and deadlines

Abstracts should be between 300 and 500 words and should be sent to both Dr Mark Peterson ( and Dr Michael Thomas (

The deadline is July 30th 2014. All proposals should include the following information:

Full name and title of the author(s)
Professional status
Professional address (department, employer, city and country)
Email addresses (home/work)
A short bio of each author (no more than 100 words)

All abstracts will be reviewed and a decision regarding possible inclusion in the monograph will be made within three weeks of receipt. Authors should note that acceptance of an abstract does not guarantee inclusion in the book, as the final chapter draft will be subject to further review.

The first chapter drafts are due on or before January 10th 2014.

Acceptance or rejection of papers is expected to take place within two to three weeks of the above date. Authors of accepted proposals will be sent further guidelines for the development of their chapter in due course. Prospective authors may submit more than one proposal. However, only one chapter can be accepted per individual author.

About the editors

Dr Mark Peterson is associate professor in the graduate school of human and environmental studies Kyoto University, Japan. His research focuses on the use of digital games in language education. He is author of Computer Games and Language Learning  (2013). Among his recent publications include papers in the journals ReCALL, Simulation and Gaming and Digital Education and Culture. Together with Dr Michael Thomas he recently co-edited a special edition of the CALICO Journal (2014) focusing on Web 2.0 and language learning.

Dr Michael Thomas is Senior Lecturer in Language Learning Technologies at the University of Central Lancashire, UK, and an affiliated fellow at the Brenkman Center for Internet Studies, Harvard University, for 2013/14. He has taught at universities in the UK, Germany and Japan. His research interests are in task-based learning and CALL and distance and online learning. He is editor of two book series, ‘Digital Education and Learning’ (with James Paul Gee and John Palfrey) and ‘Advances in Digital Language Learning and Teaching’ (with Mark Peterson and Mark Warschauer). Among his recent publications are Handbook of Research on Web 2.0 and Second Language Learning (2009), Task-Based Language Learning & Teaching with Technology (with H. Reinders) (2010), Digital Education (2011) and Online Learning (2011).