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iPad-mediated talk in young children’s learning and exploration of interests

Emerging evidence highlights the potential of mobile and tablet technologies such as the Apple iPad in facilitating more productive learning processes and outcomes in formal contexts. Very little research has however been conducted in the New Zealand context, especially in early childhood settings. This study is aimed at understanding the nature of the talk young children (3 and a half to 5 year olds) engaged in while using the iPad for free exploration and play in small group settings with teacher guidance. Data was collected from eight observations (one hour to one and half hours long) of child-directed iPad use (video and audio recordings and photographs). Analysis of the data was based on an adaptation of Mercer's (1994) ‘talk types' framework which discriminates between cumulative, exploratory and disputational talk. Findings indicated that children used different kinds of talk to support one another's attempts to work through an app on the iPad. The iPad further afforded a unique potential as a shared, public learning device, and enabled young children's ease of sharing content and working together. Additionally, teacher-child talk was crucial in children realising the iPad's potential, reminding ground rules for working with the iPad, supporting developing literacy and numeracy ideas when working on iPad apps, and acknowledging children’s success. Teachers therefore play an important role in scaffolding young children's ability to develop talk strategies valuable to their learning and exploration with the iPad in the ECE contexts.
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Khoo, E. G. L., Falloon, G., & Nguyen, N. H. (2016). iPad-mediated talk in young children’s learning and exploration of interests. In N. Wright (Ed.), DEANZ2016: There and back again:Charting flexible pathways in open, mobile and distance education (pp. 163–167).
This article has been published in the proceedings of DEANZ Biennial Conference There and back again: Charting flexible pathways in open, mobile and distance education. Used with permission.