Planning for progression in ICT capability (primary)

18 Apr, 2016

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Planning for Progression in Student ICT Capability

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When it comes to planning ICT use in the classroom there are a number of similar approaches you can take. Whilst they might be different in various ways they all emphasise a key point to remember when doing so. That is, that teachers need to be clear about their reasons for using ICT and the role in which it will play. No matter what subject you teach this is a pertinent factor that must always form the foundation for the use of ICT in the classroom.


As a teacher, you need to decide:

  • Whether you are going to use ICT to further the development of student ICT capability;
  • If ICT will be used to support the learning of the subject context, or;
  • A combination of the first two points and that is that the use of ICT in the classroom will be to develop student ICT capability and support the learning of the subject context.


These decisions must be made by the teacher before any planning is undertaken.


If your decision is to develop student ICT capabilities, meaningful activities need to be embedded in purposeful subject-related contexts (Bennet et al., 2007).  Take for example rather than just teaching students how to use a database, it is more effective in helping develop ICT capabilities if the “knowledge of database principles and processes and the skills required to enter and manipulate data, can be taught using a database to help the children learn something useful about a subject” (Bennet et al., 2007, pp. 48-49).


ICT is commonly used in many projects in the primary curriculum and the following guidelines by Bennet et al. (2007, p. 49) is recommended:


  • ICT capability is best developed in the context of purposeful subject-related contexts;
  • The level of ICT challenge can be adjusted to most activities to suit the needs of the learner without affecting the subject outcomes;
  • Although there is a hierarchical structure to ICT capability, projects can be organised to provide opportunities for basic skills and knowledge to be acquired on a need to know basis.

 Teach ICT Capability Across the Primary Curriculum

In addition, the following questions should also be considered by teachers wishing to incorporate ICT activities into the curriculum:


  • What is the educational purpose of the activity – to develop ICT capability, to support learning in another area of the curriculum, or both?
  • Will the children need to be monitored to identify opportune moments for teacher intervention to enhance their skills?
  • Does it provide children with experience of using ICT as a tool?
  • Are there opportunities to assess children’s ICT competence?
  • Will the children work cooperatively or collaboratively? How will this be introduced and supported?

Bennett (1997, 65 as cited in Kennewell et al., 2000, 90).


For effective planning and being able to analyse the current situation at your school, Allen et al., (2012, p. 32) suggests using these questions to help you prepare to use ICT in your teaching:


  • What do we know about the children’s existing knowledge, skills and understanding in the subject?
  • What has been their previous experience with ICT?
  • What does the National Curriculum set out for the children in this class?
  • What does the relevant strategy, scheme or framework suggest?
  • What am I therefore expecting the children to achieve?
  • How will I differentiate the activity to reflect the different needs and abilities in the class?
  • What relevant pieces of theoretical writing and/or case studies are there to support my planning?
  • What will be the demands on me in terms of my knowledge, skills and understanding of ICT?
  • What is the resource setting for the school and how does this impact on what I can plan for the class?
  • What are the additional time costs and constraints on me when planning ICT?
  • What kind of grouping or organisation am I planning for?
  • How do I go about the physical management of the activity?
  • Are there any further cross-curricular links?
  • How will I go about including the whole class in the activity?


Learn more here: Planning on using ICT in ECE, Planning for Motivation and Progress, Planning on Progression in Student ICT capability, Differentiation with ICT.