Reviewing Digital Literature – YouVersion Bible Mobile Application


Resource 2 – YouVersion Bible Mobile Application 


The YouVersion Bible mobile application (Bible app) contains a range of Bible versions, which make it a suitable resource for aspects of the national curriculum and in all schools that teach Religious Education.   In the ACT, RE is taught at Catholic and independent schools, and is a BSSS certified senior course (ACT BSSS, 2020).   All these courses require a Bible, but many students refrain from reading traditional Bibles due to the associated stigma and peer pressure (Lipsett, 2008).  Therefore this digital option allows students to access the Catholic Good News bible and gain access to both the Old and New Testaments, highlight and take notes electronically, as well as participate in associated online communities such as sharing verses online via social media whilst maintaining their social capital.  

Curriculum Links: 

  1. Religious Education Yrs 7-12
  2. World Religions Yrs 11-12
  3. Study of Religion Yrs 11-12
  4. Year 7 Curriculum:
    1. Civics and Citizenship (HASS) – ACHCK051, ACHCK053, ACHASSK196
  5. Year 8 Curriculum:
    1. Civics and Citizenship (HASS) –  ACHCK065 
  6. Senior Ancient History curriculum 
  7. Unit 1 – ACHAH084, ACHAH085.
  8. General Capabilities – 
    1. Literacy –
    2. ICT – 


Learning, Literacy and Language:

The inclusion of a Bible mobile application (Bible app) into schooling engages disinterested students, promotes new literacies, social reading, online communities and assists students that desire text anonymity (Li & Wu, 2017, Dickenson, 2014; Singleton et al., 2018).  This app has immense capacity to promote literacy through text enhancement, narration and videos, which supports language disorders, as well as a lack of skeuomorphic features which reduces the cognitive load (James & DeKnock, 2013).  An important point to make is that this Bible app’s format is consistent to the traditional text, and this symmetry allows teachers to scaffold learning to improve both online and offline reading (Leu et. al, 2015).   The only unfortunate issue is that the narrator’s voice is more appropriate to Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy than a sacred text.  

There are other benefits of including this app, such as the promotion of social reading, online communities and development of digital literacy (Hashim & Vongkulluksn).  The  social strategies are underpinned by Vygotsky’s sociocultural development theory and work towards increasing motivation, shaping reading behaviour and improving text comprehension (Hashim & Vongkulluksn, 2018; Li & Wu, 2017, p.257).  Mobile apps require gestural manipulation for navigation and this physical operation is essential to digital literacy  (Hashim & Vongkulluksn, 2018; Heckman & Bouchardson, 2012).  Students that use this app for personal or educational purposes, are able to gain access to content, participate in collaborative reading, online communities as well as develop their language and literacy skills (Leu et al., 2011; Hashim & Vongkulluksn, 2018).   


The inclusion of mobile apps in schools is often fraught by disagreement (Selwyn, 2019).  James and DeKnock (2013) point out that smartphones and tablets have a greater capacity for the amplification and presentation of literary works, but many schools restrict the use of personal devices citing issues with discipline, distraction and cyberbullying (Selwyn, 2019).   Unfortunately, the refusal to include smartphones in schooling inhibits students from learning how to regulate their metacognitive processes, and further promotes the dichotomy between classroom instruction and the real world (Hashim & Vongkulluksn, 2018; Edwards, 2013).  


Literacy is dependent on language, technology and the cultural practices of society (Sargeant, 2015).  It is clearly apparent that mobile phones are an essential aspect of a teen’s social capital, and need to be a stronger presence in education (Leu et al., 2011; Vidales-Bolanos & Sadaba-Chalezquer, 2017; Yokota & Teale, 2014).   The implementation of this app as part of pedagogical practices means educators are meeting the needs of their students, the current reading paradigm, as well as providing access to learning in a social environment and extending literature to beyond the school perimeter (Combes, 2016; Edwards, 2013; Valenza & Stephens, 2012).  Educators who fail to integrate mobile technology into pedagogy limit the development of new literacies that are essential for citizenship in a digital world.  

Resource Integration: 

Mobile applications cannot be curated and catalogued in the same manner as other digital resources, and this impacts how a resource can be managed and utilised (ASLA & VCTL, 2018).   This Bible app is available from Google and Apple play stores and can be downloaded on most newer devices without any cost to the user which minimises any impact from the digital divide (DIIS, 2016).   Unfortunately there is a slight difference between the Apple and android versions of this text, and this may cause some difficulty for schools that have a BYOD program.  


This resource meets the curriculum, cognitive and behavioural needs of the students, however, the integration of mobile apps is contraindicatory to the school smartphone policy and it does not meet the school’s requirements of LMS integration.  The recommendation is to find an alternative resource. 



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