In this survey we analyse a
number of recently published multimedia
software titles designed to help children take early (or
even first) steps in learning the English language. Most of
these can be considered as generic language learning software
that propose a range of different activities but there are
also a few dictionaries
& vocabulary software for consultation (which usually
include some learning activities as well).
label "for children" is often applied to software
considered suitable for children in the 5 to 12 age range.
However, this target group is extremely heterogenious, not
only in relation to initial knowledge of English, but more
importantly in terms of basic literacy skills, cognitive and
meta-cognitive development, cultural knowledge, and computer
skills (including keyboarding and mouse handling).
For this reason,
we will examine not only the common
characteristics that these software titles share,
but more importantly the aspects that can make them more or
less suitable and effective in relation to different learner
profiles and teaching needs. The
aspects taken into consideration have been divided into three