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ICT Across the Curriculum Heads of School

Teaching and Learning with ICT

This document explains how ICT can enhance teaching & learning, and also covers strategies
for classroom use of ICT. The unit is suitable for all teachers, but especially for those who are
new to the profession.
Why ICT?
Benefits of ICT in Education
In the UK, all research into ICT in ducation is monitored by !CT" #!ritish ducational
Communications and Technology "gency$. %ere are some of the benefits which ICT brings to
education according to recent research findings.
General benefits
& 'reater efficiency throughout the school #'reene et al, ())($
& Communication channels are increased through email, discussion groups and chat rooms
& *egular use of ICT across different curriculum sub+ects can have a beneficial motivational
influence on students, learning #Cox -../$
Benefits for teachers
& ICT facilitates sharing of resources, expertise and advice
& 'reater flexibility in when and where tas0s are carried out
& 'ains in ICT literacy s0ills, confidence and enthusiasm #%arrison et al, -..1$
& asier planning and preparation of lessons and designing materials
& "ccess to up2to2date pupil and school data, any time and anywhere #3erry, ())4$
& nhancement of professional image pro+ected to colleagues
& 5tudents are generally more 6on tas0, and express more positive feelings when they use
computers than when they are given other tas0s to do #!ec0er ()))$
& Computer use during lessons motivated students to continue using learning outside school
hours #!ec0er ()))7 Chen and 8ooi -...7 %arris and Kington ())($
Benefits for students
& %igher 9uality lessons through greater collaboration between teachers in planning and
preparing resources #:fsted, ())($
& ;ore focused teaching, tailored to students, strengths and wea0nesses, through better
analysis of attainment data
& Improved pastoral care and behaviour management through better trac0ing of students
& 'ains in understanding and analytical s0ills, including improvements in reading
comprehension #8ewin et al, ()))$
& <evelopment of writing s0ills #including spelling, grammar, punctuation, editing and re2
drafting$, also fluency, originality and elaboration #8ewin et al, ()))$
& ncouragement of independent and active learning, and self2responsibility for learning
#3assey, -...$
& =lexibility of 6anytime, anywhere, access #>acobsen and Kremer, ()))$
& <evelopment of higher level learning styles #'ibbs, -...$
& 5tudents who used educational technology in school felt more successful in school, were
more motivated to learn and have increased self2confidence and self2esteem #5oftware and
Information Industry "ssociation ()))$
& 5tudents found learning in a technology2enhanced setting more stimulating and student2
centred than in a traditional classroom #3edretti and ;ayer25mith -..1$
& !roadband technology supports the reliable and uninterrupted downloading of web2hosted
educational multimedia resources
& :pportunities to address their wor0 to an external audience #"llen -..?$
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ICT Across the Curriculum Heads of School
& :pportunities to collaborate on assignments with people outside or inside school #Chiu
())(7 8ipponen ()))7 @illins0y ()))$
Benefits for parents
& asier communication with teachers #!ecta, ())-$
& %igher 9uality student reports A more legible, more detailed, better presented #"ccounts
Commission for 5cotland, -...$
& 'reater access to more accurate attendance and attainment information
& Increased involvement in education for parents and, in some cases, improved self2esteem
#%ennessy, -..17 Bational 8iteracy "ssociation, -..C$
& Increased 0nowledge of children,s learning and capabilities, owing to increase in learning
activity being situated in the home
& 3arents are more li0ely to be engaged in the school community
Dou will see that ICT can have a positive impact across a very wide range of aspects of
school life.
ICT and Raising Standards
*ecent research also points to ICT as a significant contributory factor in the raising of
standards of achievement in schools.
5chools +udged by the UK school inspectors :fsted to have very good ICT resources
achieved better results than schools with poor ICT.
5chools that made good use of ICT within a sub+ect tended to have better
achievement in that sub+ect than other schools.
5ocio2economic circumstances and prior performance of pupils were not found to be
fromE 3rimary 5chools of the =uture 2 "chieving TodayE " *eport to the <f by !ecta,
>anuary ())- #httpEFFwww.becta.org.u0FnewsFreportsFprimaryfutureFintroGconclusions.html$
H 5econdary schools with very good ICT resources achieved, on average, better results in
nglish, ;athematics and 5cience than those with poor ICT resources.
fromE The 5econdary 5chool of the =utureE a *eport to the <f by !ecta, =ebruary ())-
" range of research indicates the potential of ICT to support improvements in aspects of
literacy, numeracy and science.
Improved writing s0illsE grammar, presentation, spelling, word recognition and volume
of wor0 #8ewin, 5cimshaw and ;ercer, ()))7 8ewin, ()))7 ;oseley, %iggins et al,
-...7 3assey, -...$
"ge2gains in mental calculations and enhanced number s0ills, for example the use of
decimals #;oseley, %iggins et al, -...$
!etter data handling s0ills and increased ability to read, interpret and s0etch graphs
#;c=arlane et al., -..?$
Improvements in conceptual understanding of ;athematics #particularly problem
solving$ and 5cience #particularly through use of simulations$
fromE 5oftware and Information Industry "ssociation #5II"$ *eport, U5" ()))$
Where to start?
8et us begin with the assumption that all of the above evidence has convinced you that the
use of ICT in education is worthwhile. ven a 9uic0 glance at the research findings reported
here will ma0e the whole field of educational ICT seem somewhat imposing and perhaps
overwhelming to many teachers. "t the same time, a brief consideration of your daily wor0ing
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ICT Across the Curriculum Heads of School
life will bring to mind a series of limitations as to what you can personally do, such as a
shortage of e9uipment, time, or specific ICT 0nowledge. 5o how to startI
Dou will, of course, substantially increase your own ICT s0ills and 0nowledge by ta0ing part in
all the modules of this training pac0age. In addition, we offer two main strands of advice in
this particular documentE
=irstly, the greatest incentive to school managers and government departments to invest in
supporting ICT in education comes from teachers ma0ing best use of existing resources, and
maximising pupil achievement under current circumstances. Teachers cannot wait for more
computers to arrive at school before they begin the tas0 of building ICT into their wor0ing life.
It is essential that educators start this +ourney now with the resources available to them
already. This process, where it is successful, will serve to encourage education authorities to
provide further resources, support and training.
5econdly, the introduction of ICT into school life is a long and gradual process. =rom a
teacher,s perspective, a valuable insight comes from >im @ynn, ;icrosoft,s ducation
5trategy ;anager for urope, "frica and the ;iddle ast. >im cites 3rofessor ;argaret CoxJs
research on teachersJ use of ICT #KingJs College, 8ondon$ as a 0ey influence. K5he found that
teachers who try to use ICT often chose areas where they were completely comfortable with
their teaching, on the grounds that they could rescue it if it went wrong. Invariably what she
observed was a worse lesson than the one it replaced because the preparation was wrong
and they didnJt really 0now why they were doing it,K he explains.
>im tal0s about teachers needing to evaluate the success of their own teaching. 5ome
lessons will no doubt already be excellent without the need to introduce ICT. These are
lessons which would be evaluated with a score of . or -) out of -). In this case, the use of
ICT can bring little improvement, and in fact could threaten to have a negative impact on the
lesson. Conversely, a lesson rated as only 4 out of -) cannot be rescued by the use of ICT.
*ather, lessons of such low 9uality need a more basic re2evaluation.
KIf itJs a . out of -) lesson, leave it alone 2 the / out of -) lessons are the important ones to
rescue. 5o you ta0e the / out of -) lesson and try to wor0 out why itJs not better and then see
if ICT can help,K he explains. KIf the lesson is less than / out of -) you need to loo0 more
deeply at your teaching practice. ICT is a step too far.K
This view gives teachers a clear starting point. Thin0 about the lessons you teach, and
identify some which are neither the best nor the worst. 8oo0 for areas of your teaching which
are perhaps satisfactory, but which could maybe improve with the introduction of an ICT2
based component. The rest of this document will guide you through the process of including
the use of ICT into your lessons.
ractical considerations
!efore you begin to plan specific ICT activities for your classroom, you must of course
consider the practical realities of ICT in your school. In particular, you will need to consider the
number of computers available and the number of students in your class. "s a general rule, it
is best to have no more than three pupils wor0ing at one computer. This often means that a
whole class cannot wor0 on computers at the same time, a fact which has several
conse9uences in the teacher,s planning.
%ow many students can wor0 on computers at the same timeI
Is it important that all students get an opportunity to wor0 on computersI
If there are not enough computers for the whole class to wor0 together at the same
time, then some students will need an alternative learning activity while they wait their
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%ow will you manage the process of providing access to computers for everyoneI
This may need to be spread over a period of wee0s.
@ill the students all be wor0ing in the same classroomI
If not, how will you ensure ade9uate supervision of those who are out of sightI
@hat instructional needs will students have #both for the ICT2based activity and the
non2computer2based tas0$I %ow much teacher input will be re9uiredI @hat is the
teacher,s role nowI
It is clear that using ICT as0s many 9uestions of the teacher, not only in terms of designing
purposeful learning activities, but also with regard to classroom organiLation and the use of
different teaching styles. @hile the traditional teaching model #whereby the teacher stands in
front of a large group of students and issues them with instructions or passes on 0nowledge$
can also be adopted when using ICT #for example when telling a class what to do$, it is more
common to find with the use of ICT that the teacher wor0s more closely and personally with
individual small groups of students. The teacher becomes more mobile around the classroom,
and is able to engage in detailed discussions with students about the wor0 they are doing,
what they are learning, what they should do next etc.
" further consideration here is the 0ind of ICT e9uipment which is available. <o you have
Internet accessI @hat about emailI "re students able to save their wor0 so that it can be re2
used at a later dateI <oes your school have special software pac0ages for certain sub+ectsI
"re these installed onto computers so that they can be usedI It is very important that
teachers who are trying to develop the use of ICT also develop strong relationships with any
technical support staff who may be able to help with these issues. Dou may be able to
encourage them to buy additional e9uipment, such as a multimedia pro+ector, which will
enable teachers to demonstrate or run ICT2based activities with a whole class simultaneously.
E!a"ples of ICT#based acti$ities
@hat 0ind of classroom activities are suited to the use of ICTI The following is a brief guide to
some of the most common uses of ICT in teaching and learning.
%inding out
5tudents can use ICT to find out information and to gain new 0nowledge in several ways.
They may find information on the Internet or by using an ICT2based encyclopedia such as
;icrosoft ncarta. They may find information by extracting it from a document prepared by
the teacher and made available to them via ICT, such as document created using ;icrosoft
@ord or a ;icrosoft 3ower3oint slideshow. They may find out information by communicating
with people elsewhere using email, such as students in a different school or even in a
different country.
rocessing &nowledge
5tudents can use ICT as part of a creative process where they have to consider more
carefully the information which they have about a given sub+ect. They may need to carry out
calculations #eg. by using ;icrosoft xcel$, or to chec0 grammar and spelling in a piece of
writing #perhaps using ;icrosoft @ord$, or they may need to re2se9uence a series of events
#for example by re2ordering a series of ;icrosoft 3ower3oint slides$.
Sharing &nowledge
5tudents can use ICT to present their wor0 in a highly professional format. They can create
documents and slideshows to demonstrate what they have learned, and then share this with
other students, with their teacher, and even via email with people all around the world.
Top tips
Teachers need to decide how they want ICT to feature in a lesson. @ill the teacher use ICT to
create a document which they will then present to or share with the classI @ill the students
themselves use ICT either as part of the learning process or as a presentation toolI To ma0e
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this decision thin0 carefully how you would teach a given lesson without using ICT, and then
try to identify the wea0est part of the lesson.
3erhaps the opening presentation of information is poorE it may be too long, it may be
too text2heavy, or it may be unclear and difficult to follow.
;aybe the learning process at the heart of the lesson is not actually delivering the
learning desiredE you may need to provide additional or alternative activities to
enhance the learning process, which motivate students to wor0 for longer and with
greater depth of thought.
It could be that the problem lies in the final stages of the lessonE maybe the pupils
need to create an expression of their new 0nowledge to clarify and consolidate what
they have learned, or to help the teacher to evaluate the success of the lesson.
ICT can provide solutions to all these problems and wea0nesses, but it is important that the
teacher has a clear idea of how and where heFshe wants ICT to have an impact.
Thin0 carefully about how ICT will be used in the lesson #and by whom$, and consider what
support will be re9uired. =or example, if you want your students to create slideshows about
the history of "ncient gypt using ;icrosoft 3ower3oint, then you will have to teach them not
only about the history involved but also how to use the software being used.
It is a very common experience for teachers in the early stages of using ICT to find that their
lessons ta0e much more time when using ICT than they do without using ICT. This is natural.
=irstly, you must remember that your students are learning a set of new and valuable s0ills
alongside the traditional sub+ect content. In the example above, they are earning how to use
;icrosoft 3ower3oint as well as something about %istory. 5econdly, use of ICT can be slow
where many beginners are wor0ing together, but speeds up considerably within a short time,
as users become more familiar with the wor0ing environment and the s0ills involved. It is
worth noting that one very positive feature of ICT use in schools is that both teachers and
pupils are very 0een to share their 0nowledge to help and support one another. This has the
effect of accelerating the learning process, while it also provides a safety net for those who
are struggling most with difficult new s0ills. :ne additional benefit is that use of ICT often
creates situations where students must wor0 together. The discussions and debates which
arise bring a new dimension to the learning experience, where spontaneous lively
communication leads to initial ideas being challenged, and thus the need to re2assess
conclusions, ma0e compromises and reach agreements.
%inal thoughts
Teachers involved in this training course may find this document overwhelming at first, so
remember the followingE
The longest +ourney starts with a single step
Dou are not aloneM
Dou are at the start of an exciting +ourney, and it is perfectly :K to ta0e the first steps without
0nowing where it will all lead. Dou are now part of a worldwide community of teachers, all of
whom are trying to use ICT to enhance teaching and learning. ;any of them will have the
same difficulties and frustrations as you. "ll of them will be happy to share experiences via
email or website discussion forums, so +oin in and get involvedM =ind out more in the training
module called 50ill 5haring. =inally, amidst the careful planning of next wee0,s lessons, do not
forget to 0eep a vision of a brighter future for the schoolchildren of the worldM
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