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Age Group: 3-6 years; 6-12 years
- Digital tools for fostering emergent literacy
- Use of digital tools (devices/apps) as a “playground” for creative digital-based skills
- Fostering basic reading skills
Children’s literacy competencies are a critical platform for their successful functioning as individuals in society. However, many children, in particular those with low socioeconomic status backgrounds who may not receive the home support needed to develop to their full potential, are at risk of not reaching sufficient competence levels. The overall aim of this project is to develop innovative computer tablet applications (‘apps’) and test whether the apps support parents in the provision of high-quality home learning environments (HLEs) and impact positively on the short- and long-term development of children’s literacy competencies.
Altogether, “App-based learning for kindergarten children at home” (Learning4Kids) is a 5-year longitudinal study funded by the EU and designed to assess the potential impact of a tablet-based family intervention on children’s learning and development. This study uses a multi-method intervention approach and draws on expertise from psychology, education, informatics, and didactics to evaluate the effectiveness of learning apps and the intervention approach. It also exploits new technological possibilities afforded by tablet computers that are very common nowadays in families. Data are gathered via standardized tests, observations, and parental and educator surveys and checklists. Data collection also includes the assessment of app usage times via mobile sensing. Children and their families in the literacy intervention group receive a tablet with pre-installed literacy learning applications that have been developed by the project team (psychologists) in collaboration with IT-experts. In addition, audio and e-books are provided on these tablets and parents receive monthly information and weekly tips on how to support the literacy competencies of their children with and without the tablet. Consequently, with this approach, children in the intervention group use the tablet and the apps to learn from the videos, audio instruction and feedback, images, and games to be better prepared for literacy learning in school.