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Call for Proposals – Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives: Filling the Void

Posted by on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 in News.

Guest Post by Megan Myers, Co-President of the GSMLA

If you are not a Graduate Student in the French and Italian, German, or Spanish and Portuguese Departments here at Vanderbilt, you likely have not heard of the Graduate Student Modern Language Association (GSMLA). My fellow graduate student in the French Department, Raquelle Bostow, and I founded the student organization two years ago in the hope of fostering camaraderie among students studying languages at the graduate level here at Vanderbilt.

GSMLA, working closely with the Center for Second Language Studies, encourages academic collaboration through opportunities for peer-reviewed graduate student presentations, faculty presentations on current or past research, and TA workshops. These workshops focus specifically on teaching languages and have in the past included workshops on Twitterfiction (thanks to CFT Graduate Teaching Fellow Vivian Finch), wikis, and more.

We are excited to announce we will be hosting our first bi-annual GSMLA conference on Saturday April 11, 2015. Titled “Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives: Filling the Void,” the conference problematizes Scott Prensky’s commonly used terms “digital native” and “digital immigrant.” (See Prensky’s 2001 essay for an introduction to these terms.) Where do graduate students fall on this spectrum? When it comes to technology in the (language) classroom, are we (graduate students) teachers, learners, or both?

The conference is interested in Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) and its implementation in the classroom, as well as the changing landscape of the digital humanities (DH), particularly as it intersects with the graduate student experience. Although there is a keen interest in the innovative use of technology as it relates to scholarly research, we expect the majority of papers at the conference to focus on the use of technology in the foreign language classroom.

As an instructor of Spanish and Portuguese, I often struggle with the reality of implementing technology in language classrooms; I find the term CALL particularly troublesome. When do we move away from a specific focus on C(computer)ALL to simply language learning in all of its modalities? I like to think of this concept as “all,” a more comprehensive approach to language learning that avoids singling out the use of technology. Furthermore, what is the difference between CALL and “CAL” with just one “L” (removing “language”)? Or rather, how is technology used differently in a language classroom? My own paper at the conference focuses on these specific questions, approaching them via a reflection and evaluation of a Pinterest project I conducted with a beginning Spanish course last summer.

We hope you will join us this April for what is sure to be a thought-provoking, engaging conference. If you wish to submit a paper please send proposals to with an abstract of 250-350 words and a separate title page that includes name, email, phone and university affiliation. The proposal deadline is January 15, 2015.

Potential Areas of Inquiry include:

  • Digital Humanities and the arts
  • Digital Humanities in dissertations
  • Digital Humanities and pedagogy
  • Digital Humanities and race
  • Digital Humanities and disability
  • Digital Humanities and gender studies
  • Digital Humanities as multicultural and multilingual
  • Applying specific instructional models in CALL
  • MOOCS and other open online courses for language learning
  • Outcome based frameworks in CALL design
  • Gaming and virtual worlds
  • Online Intercultural Exchanges
  • CMC and OCMC in the language classroom
  • Specific CALL tools and their implementation in the classroom
  • CALL project designs (and evaluation)
  • The direction of Digital Humanities as a field
  • Crowdsourcing scholarly research


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