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How do digital media support language and literacy learning? 

Over the course of the past year, the DigiFam project  has sought answers on the way multilingual, transnational families in Luxembourg use digital media to learn languages and  language skills, such as reading, writing, and speaking. Within this context, we have formed a three-step process to gain a deeper understanding on the use of digital media as a tool to promote  language learning. First, we conducted a focus group with four parents (From Cape Verde, Czechia and Poland) and had the opportunity to discuss the languages they learn and the digital media they use during their daily routines. Also, we had the opportunity to hear about differences between the choices parents and their children made and how these may support them in their learning endeavors. As a next step for this project, we used this information for the design of a detailed survey on the use of digital media for language and literacy learning. The survey, available in four languages (French, German, English, and Portuguese), was broadly circulated to schools and parent organizations in Luxembourg from September 2021 to February 2022. Parents were asked questions on their own and their children language learning and digital practices, such as which languages the families used during daily routines, the various activities they associated with the use of different languages, and the frequency at which parents and their children used digital media in their daily lives. Also, parents had the opportunity to share their own views and experiences on learning languages with digital media in a descriptive way. As a final step, we are currently conducting extensive interviews with selected families over a period of three months. During this time, we have the opportunity to explore further the use of digital media for parents and their children. Parents share examples of digital media use in their daily routines through pictures and videos of themselves and their children and we discuss how they are useful in the process of improving their language skills.

Preliminary Results

Our results so far indicate that digital media play an integral part in the families’ practices when it comes to language learning. Parents have indicated the affordability and playfulness of different apps, websites, and language platforms. We also explore the availability of appropriate resources and understand deeper their concerns on issues related to screen time and the age of their children. Overall, our study indicates that digital media may provide learning opportunities and thus they hold the potential to support both parents and their children when learning new languages. 

Supporting Multilingualism at home – event for families

On 6 May 2023, we met with multilingual families from Luxembourg and shared current research-based knowledge on family multilingualism in the form of a relaxed, family – friendly workshop. Prof. Claudine Kirsch, expert in multilingualism education, opened the discussion on myths about bilingualism and opened the floor for a lively discussion on children who grow up multilingual and how parents can help them develop skills in their different languages. Three simultaneous drop-in sessions encouraged further discussions and sharing on practices related to storytelling to promote language development, the use of digital media and the use of songs as tools for language learning within a child-centered, age-appropriate context. Thank you all for sharing your experiences with us!