Creating content: building literacy skills in year 1 students using open format apps

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Since its release in 2010, Apple’s iPad has received much attention by media and commentators who claim its portability, usability, connectivity and relative affordability make it an ideal solution for schools wishing to progress their use of digital technologies in their curriculum. Indeed, many schools have responded to this via initiatives ranging from provisioning a few devices in classrooms or amongst staff, through to bring your own device (BYOD) programmes, or insisting students purchase a device in much the same way as books on a stationery list. However, due to their recent advent on the education scene, research is only at the emerging stage of exploring how the devices and their vast array of apps can be effectively used to
support student learning.

The study which is the subject of this report focuses on findings from an initial investigation of year 1 students’ interaction with apps selected by their teacher to build basic oral and written literacy skills. It uses a unique “observeware” app to capture data which illustrates strategies students applied, and important factors that affected the learning value generated from use of the apps, as they created content linked to their literacy programme. Findings indicate that when carefully selected and purposely linked to learning goals, open-format apps can create flexible and engaging environments for students working together to exercise learnt knowledge and skills.

However, they also point to the importance of student knowledge and the very active teacher role in supporting and scaffolding this process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-95
Number of pages19
JournalComputers in New Zealand Schools: Learning, teaching and technology
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • iPad
  • literacy
  • content
  • create
  • collaboration
  • engagement
  • knowledge


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