Digital mobile devices as a teaching tool for phonological awareness.




Phonological awareness is the foundation and an important element of emergent literacy. Phonics uses the skill of hearing sounds and applying them to letters and words. This of course leads to reading and writing which is key to a student's future success in learning, aquiring knowledge, education, individual development and even self esteem. A key part of becoming literate is phonological awareness. To help students with this great task, I am offereng this mini-course to help teachers add mobile devices to their bag of tools. Today's handheld devices are powerful enough to manage all the various medias required to assist students in a complex task such as literacy. These devices allow for a variety of settings, uses and the ability to also socially interact. New interactive technologies make it is easier to create envi- ronments in which students can learn by doing.(2001, Van Scoter, p.7) Most importantly, it offers students a link to what they see as real in the world which makes for a great motivator. A paper documenting how handheld devices benefited young student's and their teachers suggests that interaction with the devices be student driven.(2005, Young) Here is a news clip on what is happening very recently. CNN -iPad Initiative in Auburn, Maine Kindergartens

Performance Objectives

At the end of this mini-course, students will be able to:

  • State what digital media is.
  • Identify the parts of mobile devices.
  • Describe the key components of phonological awareness.
  • Evaluate software and how it can be applied to a lesson.
  • Develop supplemental activities to accompany the software.
  • Facilitate the use of mobile devices with their students.


You will need to be familiar with the concept of emergent literacy and specifically phonemic awareness. Here are some resources to get you warmed up.

For inspiration about the technology piece, I would like to share a quote from a study on creativity. "The children provided the following tips; start simple, work on things that you like, if you have no clue what to do fiddle around, don't be afraid to experiment, find a friend to work with, share ideas, it’s OK to copy stuff (to give you an idea), keep your ideas in a sketch book, build, take apart, rebuild, lots of things can go wrong, stick with it." (2007, Resnick, M., p.5) These tips are both relevant and true. We should learn from children in this respect. They are the experts in creativity and exploration.

Rhyming Case/Example

Before we begin instruction, I would like to take a look at an example case of using a mobile device as a teaching tool in a rhyming lesson. Here is a lesson on rhyming words, titled Generating Rhymes. Following one or both lessons, one could use the materials and experiences from this lesson to support further understanding, motivation and collaboration. Read the Rhyming Case/Example before starting the instruction.


Unit One - Digital Media

At the conclusion of this unit, you will be able to state:

  • what digital media is.
  • what the advantages are.
  • how it fits in.

Unit Two - Hardware

At the conclusion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • identify the parts of a modern mobile device.
  • understand the practical uses of the parts.

Unit Three - Software

At the conclusion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • evaluate software.
  • state how it can be applied to a lesson.

Unit Four - Phonological Integration

At the conclusion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • relate software strengths to phonological tasks.
  • demonstrate the use of an app in a phonological awareness lesson.

Unit Five - Supplements & Supports

At the conclusion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • develop supplemental activities to accompany the software.
  • Integrate the activities with the software.


I have setup my evaluation such that each unit can be evaluated individually. I feel this will help the evaluator and myself target the issue right away. I have put a link at the bottom of each unit or you can use the discussion button on the top of each page.


Mitchel Resnick. (2007). All I really need to know (about creative thinking) I learned (by studying how children learn) in kindergarten. In Proceedings of the 6th ACM SIGCHI conference on Creativity \& cognition (C\&C '07). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1-6.

Van Scoter, J., Ellis, D., & Railsback, J. (2001). Technology in early childhood education: Finding the balance. Portland: Northwest Educational Regional Laboratory.

Young Mi, C., Mullen, L., & Stuve, M. (2005). Are PDAs Pedagogically Feasible for Young Children?. T H E Journal, 32(8), 40-42. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.