ETR&D Special Issue 2019 - Call for Manuscripts

JUNE 14th Deadine for:
Educational Technology Research and Development
Special Issue 2019 - Call for Manuscripts

Embodied Cognition and Technology for Learning

Special Issue Editors 
Dr. Theodore J. (TJ) Kopcha, Associate Professor of Learning, Design, and Technology, Dept. of Career and Information Studies, University of Georgia. tjkopcha@uga.edu 

Dr. Keri D. Valentine, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education, Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction, West Virginia University. kevalentine@mail.wvu.edu

Ms. Ceren Ocak, Doctoral Student of Learning, Design, and Technology, Dept. of Career and Information Studies, University of Georgia. ceren.ocak@uga.edu 

Important Dates:

Date Description
Up to June 14, 2019*  Brief description / proposal outlines
July 1, 2019 Deadline for submission of full manuscripts; peer review begins
Oct 1, 2019 Decisions/reflections on initially submitted papers sent to authors
Dec 1, 2019 Revised manuscripts due; peer review of revised papers
March 1, 2020 Feedback on revised manuscripts
May 1, 2020 Final manuscripts due by authors
July 1, 2020 Final manuscripts
Anticipated publication in 2020 Special Issue

*Authors considering a submission are encouraged to send a brief description / proposal outline to the editorial team (tjkopcha@uga.edu) directly prior to submitting their full manuscript to ensure fit and focus with the special issue topic.

Submission Process
Please prepare submissions according to the ETR&D guidelines: https://www.springer.com/authors/manuscript+guidelines?SGWID=0-40162-6-795117-0 
Proposals should be submitted through the ETR&D online submission system. Select SI: Embodied Cognition and Technology for Learning as the article type: https://www.editorialmanager.com/etrd/ 

Topics of Interest
We seek studies of embodied cognition and technology for learning that focus on specific learning phenomena and/or the design of learning environments associated with those phenomena. While we encourage empirical studies on embodied cognition, we will also consider conceptual and/or methodological papers that propose innovative lines of research or advocate for methodological approaches that address current trends in technology for learning and account for embodied ways of learning or embodied interactions. All articles should, therefore, be strongly grounded in existing perspectives of embodied cognition (e.g., Chemero, 2011; Gibson, 1986; Lakoff & Nunez, 2000; Merleau-Ponty, 1945/2013; Thelen & Smith, 1994) and addresses phenomenon currently of interest to the field. Such phenomena include but are not limited to: 
  • Learning environment design from an embodied perspective 
  • Play as an embodied approach to learning
  • Simulations and other situated forms of learning
  • Embodiment of learning in augmented/virtual spaces
  • Immersive and/or experiential STEM learning
  • Design practice as an embodied phenomenon
  • Social and cultural considerations for embodied designs
Embodied cognition emerged as a response to traditional theories of cognition that focus on mental processes, either ignoring the role of the body or viewing the body as peripheral to theories of learning (Gomila & Calvo, 2008). From the embodied perspective, cognition is not limited to auditory and visual input. Embodied cognition instead suggests that cognition arises from the body and its’ specific interactions with the environment, where one’s senses, perception, and motor skills come together to create a mental activity (Thelen, 2008; Thelen & Smith, 1994). This activity is bi-directional; our reactions are informed by the environment and, at the same time, inform our perception of the environment in an active relationship with the world (Chemero, 2013).

Research on embodied cognition, however, is still maturing; there currently is no single or agreed-upon perspective in the literature. In the area of technology and learning, scholars have only begun to investigate the application and implications of embodied cognition in areas such as video games (e.g., Jensen, Valentine, & Case, in press; Xu & Ke, 2014) and virtual environments (e.g., Lan et al., 2018). While there have been several special issues focused on embodied cognition in the past decade, they have focused largely on mathematical (e.g., Lakoff & Nunez, 2000; Nemirovsky, Rasmussen, Sweeney, & Wawro, 2012) and spatial thinking (e.g., Weisberg & Newcombe, 2017) as well as language learning (e.g., Lan, Chen, Li, & Grant, 2015). There is a current need and opportunity to establish the ways embodied cognition relates to the design and development of learning both with and through current technology (Clifton et al., 2017; DeSutter & Stieff, 2017). 

Hall and Nemirovsky et al. (2012) called for research on embodied cognition in mathematics that asks: “what is the role of the body in a domain with such seemingly abstract or imaginary entities, and how is mathematics (or how could it be) taught and learned in ways that exploit phenomena of embodiment?” (p. 207 - 208). The purpose of this special issue is to explore similar questions in the context of technology for learning: What is the role of the body in learning environments where abstract concepts and principles are applied to real-world situations and/or facilitated through technology? How can we exploit the phenomenon of embodiment when designing immersive technology-supported experiences? Lastly, how does an embodied perspective open social and cultural considerations for research on and the development of technologies for learning? 

Recent advances in technology create a unique and timely opportunity to explore these questions in a scholarly way. Approaches to learning such as simulations, virtual/augmented reality, and immersive educational games each represent examples of learning environments in which mind, body, and environment are inextricably linked with and through technology. An embodied perspective, then, has tremendous potential to inform current research and practice in the field of educational technology. 


Alibali, M. W., Nathan, M. J., Wolfgram, M. S., Church, R. B., Jacobs, S. A., Johnson Martinez, C., & Knuth, E. J. (2014). How teachers link ideas in mathematics instruction using speech and gesture: A corpus analysis. Cognition and instruction, 32(1), 65-100.

Chemero, A. (2011). Radical embodied cognitive science. MIT press.

Clifton, P. G., Chang, J. S. K., Yeboah, G., Doucette, A., Chandrasekharan, S., Nitsche, M., ... & Mazalek, A. (2016). Design of embodied interfaces for engaging spatial cognition. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 1(1), 24.

DeSutter, D., & Stieff, M. (2017). Teaching students to think spatially through embodied actions: Design principles for learning environments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Cognitive research: principles and implications, 2(1), 22.

Gibson, J. J. (1986). The ecological approach to visual perception. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum

Gomila, T., & Calvo, P. (2008). Directions for an embodied cognitive science: toward an integrated approach. Handbook of cognitive science: An embodied approach, 1-25.

Hall, R., & Nemirovsky, R. (2012). Modalities of body engagement in mathematical activity and learning [Special issue]. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 21(2).

Jensen, L. J., Valentine, K. D., Case, J. P. (in press). Accessing the Pokélayer: Augmented reality and fantastical play in Pokémon Go. In R. M. Branch, V. J. McClendon, & D. R. Squires (Eds.), 2019 Educational media and technology yearbook. New York, NY: Springer.

Lakoff, G., & Núñez, R. E. (2000). Where mathematics comes from: How the embodied mind brings mathematics into being. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Lan, Y.-J., Chen, N.-S., Li, P., & Grant, S. (2015). Embodied cognition and language learning in virtual environments [Special issue].  Educational Technology Research and Development,63(5).doi:10.1007/s11423-015-9401-x

Merleau-Ponty, M. (1945/2013). Phenomenology of perception. Routledge.

Nemirovsky, R., Rasmussen, C., Sweeney, G., & Wawro, M. (2012). When the classroom floor becomes the complex plane: Addition and multiplication as ways of bodily navigation. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 21(2), 287-323.

Thelen, E. (2012). Grounded in the world: Developmental origins of the embodied mind. In Developmental Perspectives on Embodiment and Consciousness (pp. 115-146). Psychology Press.

Thelen, E., & Smith, L. B. (1994). A dynamic systems approach to the development of cognition and action. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Weisberg, S. M., & Newcombe, N. S. (2017). Embodied cognition and STEM learning [Special issue]. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 2(1). Springer. doi: 10.1186/s41235-017-0071-6

Xu, X., & Ke, F. (2014). From psychomotor to ‘motorpsycho’: Learning through gestures with body sensory technologies. Educational Technology Research and Development, 62(6), 711-741.

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