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English Language Teaching Apps: Positioning Parents and Young Learners

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Since the introduction of iPads in 2010, the sales of tablet computers and mobile applications (apps) have grown exponentially. iPads and other tablets are marketed as learning tools, and many apps target learners as young as six months old. This article reports on a research project examining the unique features of English learning apps based on an analysis of 90 app descriptions. Findings suggest that most English learning apps are not designed for English as a Foreign Language learners, and do not encourage user interaction around the texts. Positioning theory is adopted to show how app developers position themselves, parents and learners in the global discourse on technology and English teaching. The use of such apps as extensions or alternatives to classroom-based learning may have a strong impact for the future of English teaching, and caveats are offered.
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Keywords: 3–6 technology; ELT pedagogy; ESL young learners; iPad; parental engagement

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of English, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Publication date: July 3, 2014

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