Mobile Technologies in Children’s Language and Literacy

Cover of Mobile Technologies in Children’s Language and Literacy

Innovative Pedagogy in Preschool and Primary Education

Synopsis

Table of contents

(12 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-vii
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Abstract

This chapter discusses children’s imaginative play and literacy practices as mediated by mobile digital technologies and media. In this chapter, drawing on sociocultural theory and the notion of dynamic literacies, we consider how digital technologies including mobile technologies interact and potentially expand children’s imaginative play, leading to dynamic literacy practices and learning opportunities. Based on this understanding, we will propose some pedagogical principles that can be applied to play-based early childhood education in support of young children’s creative thinking, storytelling and dynamic literacy practices, both indoors and outdoors.

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While visual arts, drama, dance and music have been used to enhance literacy learning for many decades in preschool and primary classrooms, engaging with mobile learning can also provide many opportunities for young learners to explore and develop language and literacy. The use of mobile devices is of particular interest as technology has an impact on pedagogy and the mobility of digital devices provides many opportunities for engaged and meaningful literacy learning when teamed with the arts. In this chapter, we define the arts and their relationship with literacy learning before exploring a number of resources and practices for integrating their use in early learning settings.

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This chapter explores how to introduce young children to coding as a literacy using mobile devices. Learning how to code is changing what it means to be literate in the twenty-first century and, increasingly, early years educators are expected to teach young children how to code. The idea that coding is a literacy practice is relatively new, and this chapter first presents strategies for introducing coding without technology. It then explores how to scaffold young children’s coding literacy proficiencies through programming and coding robotic toys. When young children have become familiar with coding and solving challenges using concrete materials and robotic toys, it is possible to introduce mobile devices, apps and humanoid robots in playful ways. This chapter explores how this can be done.

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This chapter reports on an ethnographic case study of how a group of elementary school teachers designed technology enhanced learning with mobile technology (e.g. notebooks, tablet computers and mobile phones) to facilitate students’ development of literacy and twenty-first century competencies. These teachers designed the school’s literacy pedagogical approach, leveraging the use of technology, namely digital storytelling. The school in this case study is one of the eight Future Schools in Singapore under the FutureSchools@Singapore program. The school has been providing one-to-one mobile computing learning devices and wireless Internet access for its students. The introduction of technology in the classroom makes it possible for twenty-first century competencies to be integrated into literacy development. The conversational framework is used as a framework to examine how the design of the digital storytelling pedagogical approach brings about the various teaching–learning activities – acquisition, inquiry, practice, production, discussion and collaboration. The use of digital storytelling as an approach to integrate information communication technology (ICT) into the classroom has not only modified how ICT is being used in the school, it has redefined how ICT could be used to engage young learners. It has fundamentally transformed conventional storytelling with the use of current state-of-the-shelf (i.e. easily and widely available) technologies. This case study also outlines the processes involved in improving the design of digital storytelling over the years by the teachers. The ecosystem of the school is also taken into consideration and described in detail. Findings suggest the importance of the collaborative efforts of the teachers in the continuous improvements made to this design. The adoption of a learning design framework, such as the one used in this study, can be beneficial to ensure a systematic approach to the design of learning. In addition, the availability of technological infrastructure and computing devices are necessary for the seamless use of technology in the classroom. The just-in-time learning approach is adopted for students to learn technology as they are developing their digital stories.

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Children’s emerging conceptions about literacy and its functions are influenced by their experiences with a wide range of written and oral literacies, including the use of digital technology, in their homes and communities. Now that mobile technologies have become intuitive to use, relatively inexpensive, small and easy to move around and networked, they have provided an entry point for transformations in the creation and sharing of texts – they are changing the way young children ‘do’ literacy. In this chapter, the authors discuss the ways that children learn about multimodal texts; how mobile technology can facilitate the reading, creation and sharing of multimodal texts in preschool and primary classrooms; the literacy skills necessary for reading multimodal texts, and; strategies for planning instruction into which multimodal texts and mobile devices are integrated. Examples of how children may engage in multimodal reading and writing in and out of the classroom are also provided.

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This chapter presents the perspective of an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) integration specialist on how mobile devices and apps are being used in several Western Australian primary schools to improve students’ literacy across a range of contexts and curriculum areas. In her role, the author is responsible for assisting teachers in Independent sector schools with Technologies, ICT Literacy and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and has worked extensively in helping teachers design rich cross-curricular tasks and programmes that harness a range of digital technologies, including mobile devices. The chapter presents several examples of how teachers in Western Australian Independent schools have used mobile tools across the curriculum in rich tasks, and how this has supported students’ literacy learning. Although this chapter makes specific references to Australian curricular requirements and contexts, it is envisaged that the practical examples and insights presented will be more broadly applicable in helping practitioners use mobile technologies to enhance literacy learning across the curriculum.

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The structures, procedures and relationships within schools both constrain and enable the ways that children and teachers can engage with the everyday ‘business’ of literacy learning. In schools and classrooms, the resources available to children, the spaces in which they work and how adults interact with them are often decided upon by others, including their teachers. In this chapter, we focus specifically on access to mobile digital resources and important spaces in the school, arguing that opportunities for children to be critical consumers and producers of text can be provided when children are afforded some control of decisions about how, where and when people, materials, tools and texts are used. Drawing from data collected as part of a larger study of learning to write in the early years of schooling, at two different schools in different Australian states, we examine two cases of ‘disruption’ negotiated by children and their teachers. We explore the potential of mobile technologies in children’s hands as key elements in changing the socio-spatial power relations around text production that usually hold in schools. These instances are explicit opportunities to study what is possible when young children and teachers work to change children’s relationships to materials, spaces and people in productive and provocative ways. We analyse the digital texts produced and the work of teachers and children to foreground digital literacies as a way to influence what goes on in their schools.

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This chapter explores children’s agency in using mobile technologies at home and in school. Supporting children’s agency has been offered as a rationale for adopting personalised education worldwide. Children’s agency is also drawn upon as a justification for children’s use of personal mobile devices. This chapter considers children’s agency in light of the personalised education in one UK primary school and the children’s use of mobile technologies at school and at home. The findings are based on eight days of observations of classroom practice and interviews with six case study children in the Year 6 classroom. In sessions that were supported with mobile technologies, children’s learning was personalised to each child, but constrained by the amount of time that the activity lasted and that the technology was available for. Based on children’s accounts, their use of mobile technologies at home was constrained by their parents’ restrictions and monitoring practices. The chapter discusses the reality of children’s agency in light of adults’ mediation and children’s actual experiences of personalised learning.

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In this chapter, we discuss initiatives that aim to improve children’s literacy in low- and middle-income (LMI) countries through m-learning. These projects, predominantly introduced by governments and international aid organisations, often involve the provision of e-books and apps including game-based apps, to be used either inside or outside school. In some cases, lesson plans and content for teachers in poorly resourced schools are also delivered via mobile devices. After a general overview, we briefly describe a selection of projects with reference to m-learning and literacy theory and research. It is indicated in this chapter that the use of mobile devices to improve literacy opportunities for children in LMI countries has a great deal of potential but that, in many cases, there are limitations in pedagogical design and implementation practices, not to mention restricted views of what literacy is and might be for children in these locations.

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Index

Pages 177-184
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Cover of Mobile Technologies in Children’s Language and Literacy
DOI
10.1108/9781787148796
Publication date
2018-11-21
Editor
ISBN
978-1-78714-879-6