Mobile Phone Use and Children's Literacy Learning

Mobile Phone Use and Children's Literacy Learning

Jaime Puccioni, Lisa R. Michaels
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8239-9.ch043
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Mobile phones are relatively inexpensive computing devices commonly found in many low and high income households in the United States as well as communities in developing nations. Researchers have begun to explore the use of mobile phones as a means to improve literacy learning, particularly in underserved communities. This article synthesizes current research examining the ways in which mobile phone use influences children's literacy learning in home- and school-based environments. In particular, the article examines how children's levels of literacy proficiency and familiarity with mobile phones impacts their interactions with the technology. The article concludes by offering suggestions for future literacy research.
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Mobile technologies have revolutionized the ways in which children and adolescents access and participate in literacy-related activities. The creation of mobile device applications, for example, has contributed to children’s successful acquisition of critical early language and literacy skills (Chiong & Shuler, 2010; Revelle et al., 2007). Portable technologies, such as the iPad, iPod touch, E-readers, handheld gaming devices, and mobile or cellular phones provide learners, of all ages, with opportunities to engage in multimodal and traditional print texts (Auld, Snyder, & Henderson, 2012; Kam, Ramachandran, Devanathan, Tweari, & Canny, 2007; Wong & Looi, 2010). These twenty-first century technologies also connect individuals with web tools and internet spaces where they may independently design their own content and set a pace for their learning. Mobile technologies provide greater flexibility to differentiate literacy learning opportunities which enable parents and teachers to address children’s diverse range of abilities, needs, and interests (Horowitz et al., 2006; McClanahan & Stojke, 2013; Richardson, 2008). Additionally, these ubiquitous resources promote the formation of unique parent-child relationships, as well as, interactive learning communities within the traditional school setting (Auld et al., 2012; Bederson, Quinn, & Druin, 2009; Horowitz et al., 2006; Jenkins, 2006; Wong & Looi, 2010).

Educational technology and media have also become significant vehicles for preparing young children to engage in school-based literacies (Fisch, 2004; Linebarger, 2001; Linebarger, Kosanic, Greenwood, & Doku, 2004; Mitchell & Fox, 2001). Numerous educational games have been developed to support learning in other content areas such as mathematics, science, and global studies (Clarke & Besnoy, 2010; Kim, Buchner, Kim, Makany, & Taleja, 2012; Oakley, Pegrum, Faulkner, & Striepe, 2012). Myriads of websites and mobile device applications have been crafted to entertain and foster children’s development of essential literacy skills needed for reading, writing, and speaking (Druin, 2009; Oakley et al., 2012). Digital books, also known as E-books, are often accessed on mobile phones thereby providing a valuable resource for all children possessing a range of reading abilities and literacy needs (McClanahan & Stojke, 2013). These digital technologies provide multiple entry points for children to actively engage in a variety of literacy learning events (Bederson et al., 2009). Children with special needs and diverse backgrounds especially benefit from engaging in these multimodal texts where literacy skills are scaffolded and supported through oral, written, and visual processes (McClanahan & Stojke, 2013).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Applications: A computer program with an interface that enables individuals to use the smarthphone as a computing device.

Textese: A form of language associated with digital communication with mobile phones, cell phones, or smartphones.

Smartphone: Communication and computing device with application abilities.

Cell phone: Communication and computing device.

Text Messaging: Digital messages sent via mobile phone, cell phone, or smartphone.

Literacy: The act of reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

Mobile Phones: Communication and computing device.

Text Abbreviations: Universal abbreviations recognized by individuals using mobile phone technologies.

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