Integrating digital mobile technology: iPads supporting oral language development

2017-02-16T05:37:14Z (GMT) by Carabott, Kelly
Twenty-first-century learning demands increased recognition of the importance of children's oral language skills (Trilling & Fadel, 2009). To date, debate has centred around the use of digital technology and its effects on the sociocultural environment that develops children's oral language skills (Cordes & Miller, 2000; Kirkland & Patterson, 2005; Oakley, Pegrum, Faulkner, & Striepe, 2012). In many Australian communities, children are presenting at school with low oral language skills (Harrison, McLeod, Berthelsen, & Walker, 2009; Hill, 201 0), which will ultimately affect their literacy development throughout their lives (Hill & Launder, 201 0). Traditional interventions for oral language development have focused on parent-child interactions around books, games and conversations (Konza, 2011 ), but recent forms of digital technology have opened up a new pedagogical teaching and learning area, which remains relatively unexplored in the literature (Pegrum, Oakley, & Faulkner, 2013). This research study is situated in the qualitative paradigm, using case-study methodology to explore classroom and pre-service teachers' perceived views of using iPads to scaffold oral language development in the early years. The case study involved a partnership created between Northbridge Primary School and Monash University to facilitate the oral language development of children in Prep to Year 2. The iPad was one of the tools employed to scaffold and guide the development and learning. Four classroom teachers and seven pre-service teachers were interviewed to examine how, when, where and why iPads were being used in the classroom and, ultimately, what effect this technology was having on children's oral language skills. Factors affecting integration, pedagogical teaching and learning, teaching implications and engagement were a focus. Second-generation activity theory allowed for an analysis and discussion of the tensions and complexities that resulted from using iPads for oral language development. Findings suggest that the use of iPads for oral language development is mediated by teachers' personal and pedagogical beliefs. It is only by examining and acknowledging these beliefs that the complexities of using these devices for oral language development can be examined. Overall, it was discovered that when used as a collaborative pedagogical tool in the classroom, the iPad effectively scaffolds and develops the oral language skills of primary-school children.