Whole class teaching: ICT and Literacy

09 Aug, 2016

Whole-class teaching provides many benefits for the learning of literacy for students. Today, the use of ICT such as data projectors can aide in this strategy as it provides support and enhances learning in literacy lessons. Evidence shows that when teachers implement practical methods of using ICT for literacy lessons 21st century skills can also be developed.

ICT Capability and Literacy

The use of ICT in the teaching of literacy allows teachers to capitalise on its use in order to help students develop their ICT capability. One of the best ways to teach literacy to primary students in particularly, is through the interaction with generic software such as MS Word, MS PowerPoint and even MS Publisher. Such software is commonplace in schools, however, schools do have different choices to choose from when it comes to word processors, DTP and presentation software.  In the end, as long as these generic types of software are available in the classroom then ICT capability and literacy and be developed alongside each other.

Teachers who wish to help students develop this 21st century skill can boost the extent that students learn by becoming more confident in their use of generic software such as those mentioned. Research (Kennewell et al., 2000) has shown that the ICT capabilities of a teacher can have a significant impact on a student’s learning in a literacy-technology environment. It indicated that those with the more advanced capabilities are willing to explore teaching approaches that integrate their use of ICT with the spirit of structured literacy teaching (Kennewell et al., 2000, 105).

Students don’t always need to sit at a computer in order to develop their ICT capability. Whole-class teaching can be an effective way to help students develop conceptual understanding and higher order skills. Teachers can implement this strategy to question students, have group discussions of processes that will be carried out, and model the planning, evaluating and hypothesising to students.

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Whole class teaching

There are a number of ways that ICT can be used for whole class teaching of literacy. These include the following:

  • Presentations;
  • Presenting text;
  • Demonstrations;
  • Explanations;
  • Giving instructions;
  • Linking ideas; and
  • Showing video clips.

In terms of developing student ICT capability, the top four points provide the best strategies for teachers. Along with MS Word, presentation software such as PowerPoint can be used in literacy teaching. Teachers can present information such as text and illustrations to the class. Its real power lies within the teacher’s ability to demonstrate throughout the teaching of literacy various skills that students can learn. For example, whilst presenting the information you could weave into the lesson a method in which you could introduce new skills to students.

Word processors such as MS Word can be used by you as a teacher to present text to the students. An idea could be that you discuss, text mark or manipulate text by using a computer linked to the projector. Examples of students’ own text work can be projected for the whole class to see and brainstorming with the class on ideas about literacy. What would be the effect if you demonstrated key skills along the way?

Of course, whole-class teaching using data projectors is an excellent method to demonstrate particular teaching points. For example, combine different chunks or morphemes to spell a word, how to use an electronic dictionary or thesaurus, how to use a writing frame which contains connectives that knit a text together or how to set out play scripts with stage directions and speech (Rudd, 2006).


Shared Writing

Shared writing is the process in literacy teaching when the teacher models writing skills and strategies as a form of scaffolding. Modelling through the use of ICT in whole-class teaching provides you with the opportunity to ensure that students learn important ICT skills. Once again, the use of a word processor allows you to change, improve and rework the writing in front of the class and it is said the provisional nature of the information can be emphasised.

Another idea is to use word processors to set up writing frames. Students can then improve on the original text with a minimal need to enter text. A exercise such as this cuts the time normally needed for word processing tasks and allows text to be quickly created. How does this apply to your situation?

Word banks is another way of teaching literacy using word processors.

Shared Reading

Reading a passage on the screen from a particular piece of literature can sometimes lead into shared writing when you begin to demonstrate how to take notes.  This can achieved by using a split screen and having the ICT text and the word processor open simultaneously. You can highlight and drag text into the word processor demonstrating the provisionality of the technology or as Rudd (2006) points out, you may want to use a similar type of text for research information on another topic the students are working on.


ICT capability is an important 21st century skill that students need in order to participate and be empowered in life today. By planning for the progression of student capabilities in literacy lesssons this can be achieved.


LEARN MORE HERE: Exploiting technology in the classroom, MS Office: How teachers are missing opportunities, Ideas for using ICT for literacy , Developing literacy with Word Processors


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 Michael Hilkemeijer

 Director/Professional development presenter

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