Designing technology for emergent literacy: the PictoPal initiative

Susan McKenney, Joke Voogt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

44 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


PictoPal is the name of a technology-supported intervention designed to foster the development of emergent reading and writing skills in four and five year old children. Following the theoretical underpinnings and a brief description of PictoPal, this article describes how children worked with the technology; how the intervention elicited their engagement with literacy concepts both on the computer and off; and effects on early literacy learning. Observation results indicate that children are able to work independently with the program after a few instruction sessions. Observation data yield insight in the nature of adult guidance and the way the results of computer activities were implemented in off-computer classroom activities, as well as areas where this could be improved. Comparison of the four pre–post test experiments used to assess learning effects, suggest that the on-computer activities in PictoPal can yield a statistically significant learning effect, but only when integration with off-computer activities is present.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-729
JournalComputers & education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Technology integration
  • Early literacy
  • Kindergarten
  • Emergent literacy
  • IR-67983


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