Monash University
20161214-Tan-Thesis.pdf (12.45 MB)

Pairing Craft-making and Interactivity with Mandarin Learning - How Mobile Devices Can Be Better Used To Help Migrant Preschoolers Maintain Mandarin As Their Heritage Language

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posted on 2016-12-19, 05:13 authored by Wil-kie Tan
The use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has become a prevalent aspect in how we learn in schools and at work. For many migrant bilingual ethnic Chinese parents/carers who are concerned about their preschoolers’ learning of Mandarin, they are allowing their children access to Mandarin language applications on mobile devices, in hope that it would be useful to the maintenance of its use at home and within their cultural community. Hence with parents/carers readily cascading mobile technology to the children, they have grown familiar to gesture-based interaction and non-linear navigation on smartphones/tablets. However the effectiveness of solely using mobile devices as a learning tool for preschoolers remains debatable.
       This thesis’s objective is to investigate the potential of formulating a more holistic framework by bridging mobile technologies, relevant socio-cultural theories, appropriate language content and complementary adult-facilitated craft-making. It is hoped that through such a framework it would not only promotes interaction between the adults and their children, but also generates greater interest the reading and use of oral Mandarin. The findings from field activities, using different craft-based design probes adapted from the proposed framework, suggested that the pairing of tangible and onscreen activities has the potential for further development by designers, educators and developers in edutainment content and toy objects. The pairing of co-created craft/toy objects between parents/carers with their preschoolers provides interesting opportunities to integrate the maintenance and transmission of Mandarin with a materially relevant yet imaginative experience.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Stephen Wang

Additional supervisor 1

Jeff Janet

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture

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