September 2020
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Jennifer Francois, Edmondson Elementary School, Brentwood, Tennessee
Maria Tomeho-Palermino
, EFL/ESL consultant, Massachusetts, USA

Jennifer Francois

Maria Tomeho-Palermino

This past year, needless to say, was eventful from reviewing presentations and planning for the Denver conference to innovative initiatives for the Electronic Village (EV) to managing and preparing for the virtual conference during this pandemic. The presentation review took place as usual during the summer and early fall, and the leadership team discussed and chose some cutting-edge presentations for Denver. Subsequently, we sent out acceptance letters to those presenters selected, some of whose topics included teaching online, user-friendly apps for speaking, writing, and other skills. What’s more, some Hot Topics presentations focused on digital citizenship, TESOL’s The 6 Principles Through the Lens of Technology, gaming, and others.

We are proud of some important accomplishments this year including fine tuning leadership roles, examining the evolution of our communication within and outside of the interest section, and reconsidering the Electronic Village (EV), Tech Showcase and other sessions to engage our community better and entice newcomers more effectively. First, we needed to clarify definitions and responsibilities of the leadership within CALL so that we could be more efficient in resolving issues. Moreover, the ad hoc committee to streamline our media outlets was able to consolidate multiple sites for more direct communication within our community and outside of the interest section as well. Finally, probably, one of most significant feats was to brainstorm and analyze novel designs for the Electronic Village.

To appeal to a much broader audience to the Electronic Village and Tech Showcase, the CALL-IS was tasked with redefining our mission and concept. Therefore, the Electronic Village Planning team along with Jennifer, myself and the incoming chairs conducted meetings and discussed how to come up with potential transformations to put in place in the EV in 2020-2021 under the new leadership team. This team proposed a new exciting space with a “Tech Guru bar” to showcase apps and websites designed for 21st century technology use and learning. In addition, “Makerspaces” formerly known as workshops have evolved into shorter, hands-on interactive sessions in which participants can use and explore some widely used tools. We are looking forward to implementing these exciting changes this coming year.

Another very meaningful endeavor for us was determining how to participate in the virtual conference as soon as TESOL cancelled the Denver conference. Jennifer, myself, and the incoming-chairs had to turn on a dime to determine how our interest section could best contribute to the virtual conference. Our direction became focusing on online instruction presentations that we had already evaluated and accepted. As a result, we contacted numerous presenters whose topics aligned with this goal; we ended up with approximately ¼ of the presentations in the virtual conference. Therefore, CALL was well represented this year. We would also like to note that we have kept all acceptances originally slated for the Denver conference and that we will reach out to those presenters soon for TESOL Houston, 2021.

In 2020-2021, the leadership team is enthusiastic about our initiatives that we will implement in TESOL Houston including the new space design, the Tech Guru bar and Makerspaces in the Electronic Village. What’s more, with the streamlining of our media sites, we sincerely hope to reach out not only to our dedicated community but also newcomers who are curious about using technology in the 21st century classroom and how they can exploit some tools easily to facilitate interactive learning. For TESOL Houston, we encourage the community to watch for new initiatives for the CALL-IS and for next year’s conference.


Jennifer François, EdS

Literacy Studies PhD Student, MTSU

Mariat Tomeho-Palermino

Adjunct Professor
Northeastern University
Boston, MA. 02115

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Which of the following has been the biggest challenge with transitioning to virtual English language instruction in recent months?
Converting course materials to a digitally friendly format
Student access to hardware and reliable internet connections
Student engagement and participation
Assessment and monitoring student progress
Supporting students individualized needs

Are you a Guru on some aspect of tech use for the Guru Bar
If so, sign Guru Bar sign-up sheet for a 30-minute (or more) session at TESOL. You will work with a partner. Also the CALL-IS Tech Resource Help Sheet, a topic list, will be on a desktop Bar screen.
Dates of Interest
See the TESOL Calendar of Events for Worldwide Conferences.