Transformation of Participation and Learning: Three Case Studies of Young Learners Harnessing Mobile Technologies for Seamless Science Learning

Yancy Toh, Hyo Jeong So, Peter Seow, Wenli Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The main goal of this research is to understand how young children use mobile technology such as smartphones to traverse different learning contexts and harness a constellation of resources to make sense of their science learning in daily lives. We adopted Rogoff’s sociocultural lens of transformation of participation that helps us understand how students’ science learning experiences can interact with their wide array of cognitive, social and cultural resources and be mediated through personal, interpersonal and cultural–institutional forces in formal and informal learning spaces. We present an analysis of three contrasting case illustrations of Primary 3 (aged 9–10) students in a Singapore ICT-enriched primary school, and discuss findings in relation to the virtuous and vicious cycles of learning trajectories. In conclusion, we contend that mobile technology, which is considered as a cultural tool and learning hub, has the potential to elevate learning, but this potential can only be realized under two conditions: (a) when learners have created the habit of mind for utilizing and harnessing cultural, epistemic and social resources to foster connections between formal and informal knowledge; and (b) when the use of mobile technology is situated within the broader knowledge bases that our current formal curriculum recognizes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-316
Number of pages12
JournalAsia-Pacific Education Researcher
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This material is based on the work supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore under Grant NRF2007-IDM005-MOE008. This research was conducted when the corresponding author was with the National Institute of Education, Singapore. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NRF Singapore. We are grateful to the participating primary school for collaborating with us on this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, De La Salle University.


  • Informal learning
  • Mobile learning
  • Science learning
  • Seamless learning
  • Transformation of participation


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