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The Hundred Languages of Children on the Move: Digital Technologies & Transnational Childhoods

Sumin Zhao will explore the use of social media apps (WeChat) for heritage language learning among children from Chinese-speaking families in London & Denmark.

  • 23 May 2024, 1.00pm to 23 May 2024, 2.00pm BST (GMT +01:00)
  • Room 3.09, 1 West North, University of Bath
  • This event is free

In this Centre for Research in Education in Asia (CREA) presentation, Sumin Zhao will discuss the phenomenon of young children whose lives traverse the boundaries between nations, languages, and cultures. This emerging phenomenon - childhood on the move - is shaped by the interplay of two forms of mobility: population and technologies (mobile devices and applications).

The literacy practices of these typically multilingual children often transcend traditional constraints of time and space, occurring in multiple transnational sites, including digital platforms.

In this presentation, Sumin will delve into the role that mobile technologies play in the literacy practices of young children from immigrant families, primarily drawing from two projects she has been involved in.

The first project explores the use of social media apps (WeChat) for heritage language learning among children from Chinese-speaking families in London. The second project investigates the use of apps by multilingual children in an international school in provincial Denmark.

The talk is loosely organized into two parts. Sumin will first illustrate the "semiotic resourcefulness" (Movers, 2009) of young children - the creative manner in which children explore various multimodal resources available in the technological interface for their learning and communication. She'll then focus on the impact of transnational flows of different types on the language and literacy practices of young immigrant children.

Throughout the presentation, Sumin will also discuss the methodological challenges associated with researching children on the move.

Speaker: Sumin Zhao

Sumin Zhao is a Lecturer in Discourse Analysis at the University of Edinburgh. Her research explores the digital literacies of young (multilingual) children and social media through the lens of multimodality.

Find more about Sumin’s research.

Attend this event

The event will take place in 1 West North 3.09 on the University of Bath campus.

It will also be available as a live stream, which you can watch via Zoom.


The event will take place in 8 West 3.13 on the University of Bath campus. You can also watch it live via Zoom (you can find out more about how to join the stream in the 'attend this event' section on this web page).

Room 3.09 1 West North University of Bath Claverton Down Bath BA2 7AY United Kingdom

Contact us

If you have any questions about this seminar, the series, or CREA in general, please contact us.