Designs for Heritage Language Learning: A Photography project in the UK Supplementary Education

Charitonos, Koula and Charalampidi, Marina (2015). Designs for Heritage Language Learning: A Photography project in the UK Supplementary Education. In: Brown, Tom H. and van der Merwe, Herman J. eds. The Mobile Learning Voyage - From Small Ripples to Massive Open Waters: 14th World Conference, mLearn 2015, Venice, Italy, October 17-24, 2015, Proceedings. Communications in Computer and Information Science (560). Cham: Springer, pp. 198–216.



Supplementary Schools in the UK offer educational opportunities for children and young people outside mainstream school provision. The paper reports an enquiry undertaken by practitioners in Greek Supplementary Schools in the UK to explore how features of mobile technologies may be leveraged to foster heritage language learning. It draws on the view that mobile learning can be a way for learners to explore the language informally and direct their own development (Kukulska-Hulme, 2015) and may also shape the learners’ ‘habits of mind’ (Wong, 2012, p.22) in learning—and consequently their language competencies.

The project #ItsAllGreekToUS set to investigate how to create learning designs to incorporate effective use of mobile technologies within language learning and teaching. It draws on action research orientation and uses the idea of ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) (JISC, 2013) in educational settings. The study involved several sessions around the concept of ‘loanwords’ and representations of this vocabulary in artefacts created with the use of mobile phones and a popular photography application (e.g. Pinterest).

The participants were fourteen students (12-13s) attending a pre-GCSE class in a Greek School in London and nine students (12-14s) attending a GCSE class in a Greek School in Leicester.

Evidence from user-generated content, the pupils’ views around the project and the practitioners’ observations are considered. The paper will discuss how students’ practices associated with mobile technologies are integrated into teachers’ practice. Particular attention will be drawn to designing language learning by blending traditional language classroom practices along incorporating the practices of sharing and curating content, as well as allowing ‘visibility’ through artefacts created by the learners.

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