Free Play or Tight Spaces? Mapping Participatory Literacies in Apps

Jennifer M K Rowsell, Karen Wohlwend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Building on existing research applying app maps (Israelson, 2015), the authors take an ideological orientation to broaden app evaluations and consider participatory literacies, social and communicational practices relevant to children's everyday digitally mediated lives. Drawing from their North American elementary classroom studies on children's technology play with iPads, the authors compare four typical literacy practices with apps: practicing a skill, reading an e‐book, animating a film, and designing an interactive world. A rubric and radar charts are introduced to help teachers assess and visualize educational apps’ potential to develop six dimensions of participatory literacies: multiplayer, productive, multimodal, multilinear, pleasurable, and connected. The authors conclude with a push for broadened definitions and looser frameworks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
JournalReading Teacher
Issue number2
Early online date21 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2016


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