Dr Brett Bligh
Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University, UK
Dr Philip Moffitt
Professional Engineering Wing, The Royal School of Military Engineering, Brompton Barracks, Chatham, UK
Activity Theory (sometimes known as Cultural Historical Activity Theory, or CHAT) is an established theory widely used in Technology Enhanced Learning research, just as it is in a range of other fields of enquiry. A theory considered very mature yet still under active development, Activity Theory is often valued for its ability to grasp the dynamics of complex social situations and place phenomena in context. Usefully for technology enhanced learning researchers, the theory also foregrounds the role of ‘technologies’ as being central to everything that humans do. Yet the theory is also often criticised, including for emphasising a dense terminology unforgiving on newcomers, leading to questions about whether the extra conceptual effort is worthwhile for researchers.
This Special Issue will consider the use of Activity Theory within Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) research. We invite papers describing research endeavours with Activity Theory, particularly those where the social and cultural contexts of technologies were important in enhancing learning. We are particularly keen to receive submissions that contribute to making the theory more accessible and applicable to research in the field, that examine how the theory has been (and might be) used in the field, or that emphasise the mediating role of technologies for purposeful human activity.
Studies in Technology Enhanced Learning aims to provide a lively forum for debate and reflection on a wide range of issues connected with TEL in disparate settings. This Special Issue will examine Activity Theory in TEL, with particular reference to the ‘critical’ and ‘contextualised’ aspects of the journal’s Aims and Scope.
Whether you have a long-established association with the Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning or have received this Call for Papers as it cascades through our extended networks, we encourage you to consider contributing!
We welcome contributions of papers from disparate educational contexts; across the disciplinary, political and geographical spectrum; and from established scholars and newer researchers, including PhD students. In the spirit of STEL’s aims and scope we do not wish to prescribe the content of any papers. We would, however, gently dissuade submissions which solely present activity systems in descriptive ways—we want that papers that reflect on the use of Activity Theory rather than merely use it!
Topics and areas of submissions might include:
Understanding culturally and historically embedded TEL practices.
Redesigning TEL activity with participants themselves.
Problematic social and cultural mediation in TEL.
Antagonisms in the individual, institutional and societal development of TEL practices.
Exposing contradictions in TEL activity as a precursor to change.
We envisage that papers might come in a range of lengths and formats. When submitting your proposal please indicate the kind of paper you wish to contribute. You may wish to specify one of the categories below.
Synthesis paper (6,000-12,000 words).
Standard paper (4,000-8,000 words).
Commentary (2,000-4,000 words).
Book review (1,000-3,000 words).
All articles will be double-blind peer-reviewed, apart from clearly labelled editorials and invited commentaries. Articles will be distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence (CC BY 4.0).
Please submit a provisional title and abstract (200-500 words), with authors and affiliations, by email to Philip Moffitt (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Key timings are:
24 May 2021: Proposals due
14 June 2021: Authors notified of acceptance with brief editorial comments
06 September 2021: First drafts of papers due
11 October 2021: Peer reviews returned
22 November 2021: Revised manuscripts due
10 December 2021: Authors receive typeset versions for checking
20 December 2021: Publication