Pairing Craft-Making with Mandarin eBooks: An Investigation into the Potential Use of Craft for Language Learning by Preschoolers

  • Wil-Kie TanEmail author
  • Stephen Jia Wang
  • Jeffrey Janet
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering book series (LNICST, volume 196)


Bilingual ethnic Chinese parents are concerned about their preschoolers’ learning of their mother tongue. Many allow their children to learn Mandarin by accessing Mandarin language applications on mobile devices. However the effectiveness of solely using mobile devices as a learning tool for preschoolers is debatable. This paper presents a field investigation on how adult-facilitated craft-making promotes interaction between the adults and their children, generates greater interest the reading of Mandarin eBooks and retention of the stories. The data suggests pairing of activities may be useful to children of across language abilities. This also highlights a need for designers and educators to formulate a holistic design approach in the development of preschool mobile learning content.


Craft Design eBooks Education Mandarin learning Mobile devices Preschool Reading Tangible interaction 



This investigation is part of the 1st author’s PhD study at Monash University, Australia. It was made possible with the collaboration of Commontown Singapore and participation from 15 adult volunteers and their children.


  1. 1.
    VoicesTODAY: VoicesTODAY asks: mother tongue - can the decline be stopped?
  2. 2.
    Bhabha, H.: The Location of Culture. Routledge, London (1994)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rutherford, J.: Identity: Community, Culture, Difference. Lawrence & Wishart, London (1990)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hutchison, A., et al.: Exploring the use of the iPad for literacy learning. Read Teach. 66(1), 15–23 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Robb, M., Lauricella, A.: Connecting child development and technology: what we know and what it means. In: Donohue, C. (ed.) Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years: Tools for Teaching and Learning, pp. 70–85. Taylor and Francis, Florence (2014)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    SirenFilms: Attachment in practice (2014)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Vygotskij, L., Rieber, R.: The Collected Works of L.S. Vygotsky. Plenum Press, New York (1993)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Vygotsky, L.: Interaction between learning and development. In: Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes, pp. 79–91. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1978)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Vygotsky, L.: Play and its role in the mental development of the child. J. Russ. East Eur. Psychol. 5, 6–18 (1967)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Stone, C.: Should we salvage the scaffolding metaphor? J. Learn. Disabil. 31, 409–413 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Scarborough, H., Dobrich, W.: On the efficacy of reading to preschoolers. Dev. Rev. 14(3), 245–302 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kim, J.E., Anderson, J.: Mother–child shared reading with print and digital texts. J. Early Child. Lit. 8(2), 213–245 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
  14. 14.
    Pöllänen, S.: Contextualising craft: pedagogical models for craft education. Int. J. Art Des. Educ. 28(3), 249–260 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Moyles, J.: A–Z of play in early childhood (2012)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Aerila, J., Rönkkö, M.: Integrating literature with craft in a learning process with creative elements. Early Child. Educ. J. 43(2), 89–98 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Barley, R., Bath, C.: The importance of familiarisation when doing research with young children. Ethnogr. Educ. 9(2), 182–195 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© ICST Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Design, Faculty of Art Design & ArchitectureMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations