Publishing in TLT Wired
Since the TLT Wired column began and grew under the editorship of Malcolm Swanson, Paul Daniels, and Ted O'Neill, dozens of practical articles relating to the use of CALL methodology have appeared in The Language Teacher. Topics range from trends in technology development to application of web-based tools in the classroom to reviews of hardware and supporting equipment. The goal of the column is to help language teachers get more out of their classroom technology.
Considerations when writing for TLT Wired
The most successful articles provide personal experiences with tech tools. The web is full of good review sites, software documentation, and tutorials. Readers should come away from a TLT Wired article with a new tool or program to implement in the classroom or a task to perform to improve their teaching. Before submitting a manuscript for consideration, check the list of recently published Wired columns at http://jalt-publications.org/tlt/departments/tlt-wired to make sure your topic has not been covered recently. Also, contact the column editor to discuss your topic’s fit for the column before starting to write; doing so will save you time and energy in the long run.
While it is tempting to try to write about the latest, greatest thing, it is important to consider how exactly it will be used in the classroom. Explaining how the new tool improves upon previous methods will make the article more engaging and helpful to readers. Also, authors should try to make their articles as generally focused as possible: choose tools or programs that are available across a variety of platforms for maximum applicability (e.g., do not report on an iPhone app that is not yet available for other platforms because it would not necessarily be of interest to the entire readership). Comparison articles with specific information about how you have used a tool will help teachers to choose whether to try out the new tool, and are the most useful to readers.
A description of the features and uses of a piece of hardware or software is just the starting point. It is far more important to give readers specific ways to apply technology to teaching languages effectively.
Web sites vs. web applications
Reviews of web sites rarely make good articles for TLT Wired. Remember, your article will be printed and mailed, and that copy of TLT may stay in an office for a long time. A website may go through an upgrade by the time readers see the review, so better articles focus on web-based or mobile applications and programs such as Quizlet, VoiceThread, or how to employ Web 2.0 tools in instruction.
TLT Wired articles do not have to solely address teaching tools and practices. Many teachers may not have the experience to apply technology in the classroom, so discussing options for self-improvement and professional development are also quite relevant to the column's goals.
Be brief enough to explain your topic without going too in-depth. While research supporting the assertions being made adds strength, the Wired column is not as academically focused as the Feature Articles or Readers Forum. Most columns are between 1,000 and 1,300 words, but slightly longer or shorter are acceptable because two shorter articles can be published together. The best advice is to remember that the readers are busy teachers—write to grab their attention and keep them engaged to the end. (Note: Lengthy lists or tables will be published as online-only appendices.)
Include images with your submission. Graphics make articles more engaging, communicate effectively, and improve the visual appeal of TLT. Screenshots of programs or apps greatly help the readers understand the content. Capture as high resolution an image as possible to ensure the best print image. Use .jpg files and send them as separate attachments with the manuscript submission as well as embedded in the manuscript where you want them to appear. Ensure that the captions adhere to APA style guidelines.
Consider the average tech-literacy level of your colleagues and write your article so that would be clearly understood by the least tech savvy among them. A single article cannot equally serve the needs of experts and novices, so make it accessible to all.
The Language Teacher follows APA style guidelines. Write your manuscript with strict adherence to APA; failure to do so will result in your manuscript being returned for rewriting. If you have questions about APA style, please do not hesitate to contact the TLT Wired column editors for assistance. The email address is <email@example.com>.
We look forward to reading your submissions and helping you share your CALL and educational technology experiences with the TLT readership. Start writing today, so we can all stay Wired!