Volume 21 Number 1

Mobile-assisted Narrative Writing Practice for Young English Language Learners from a Funds of Knowledge Approach
Yan Chen
Chris Liska Carger
Thomas J. Smith

As a nation of immigrants with diverse cultures and nationalities, one of the most striking occurrences in the United States educational system is the rapidly increasing enrollment of English Language Learners (ELLs). In view of their multicultural backgrounds, the multiliteracies education of ELLs is intertwined with their diverse socioeconomic, cultural, linguistic, and ethnic backgrounds, as well as their technological experiences. This 4-week research implemented an instrumental case study approach using funds of knowledge (FoK; see Gonz├ílez, Moll, & Amanti, 2005) to explore the learning effects of scaffolding young ELLs’ narrative writing skills through the use of tablet computers (iPads) and a digital handwriting app (Penultimate). Research findings showed that ELLs’ learning motivation and quality of narrative writing abilities were enhanced through the use of this mobile technology. The culture-based writing topics based on FoK mirrored the ELLs’ multicultural backgrounds and provided ELL teachers a creative way to incorporate students’ prior knowledge into their English as second language learning through a culture-based instructional model. Parents also played a potential role in young ELLs’ mobile-assisted language learning. Future studies should be directed toward extending multiliteracies curricula through FoK to actively engage ELLs in narrative writing activities through the use of emerging mobile technology.

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