Literacy development is of prime importance in the primary classroom today. ICT (Information and Communications Technology) stands in interesting relation to literacy, as one of its most important contributions is that of helping teachers provide students with resources that allow them to focus on specific learning objectives. It has the potential to provide effective support to teaching and learning throughout the curriculum. However, without effective in-service training and leadership in ICT the talents of teachers will not be exploited enough and the quality of students’ work when using computers or other ICT will have a negative impact on literacy learning.
It is of interest for you to know that ICT does open up further dimensions of literacy and that research has proven that there are direct links between the extent of how effective ICT has been used in literacy lessons and the level of teacher’s personal capabilities in ICT. Research (Kennewell et al., 2000) has highlighted that where teachers have felt that their ICT capability was lacking, that in most cases, there was a haphazard development in student ICT skills.
The most important judgement about the worth of your school will be the changes it brings about in its students over time. Therefore, the levels of student attainment in both literacy learning and ICT capability will play a crucial role to your school’s educational offerings.
Primary ICT coordinators, for this reason, are one of the most influential professionals in schools. With the Australian Curriculum emphasising significant progression in student ICT capability occurring within the primary education realm, if their leadership is effective they have a significant opportunity to improve literacy learning in schools.
ICT is a powerful tool for literacy learning in the classroom and thus enables educational leaders in ICT with a tremendous opportunity to capitalise on the use of ICT by encouraging teachers to teach ICT capability alongside literacy development. They can work together with other curriculum leaders to ensure that ICT is implemented effectively to continue literacy development throughout the whole school. However, if curriculum leaders themselves are not trained sufficiently enough then they can’t give a positive lead in the use of ICT in their curriculum.
By providing whole-school in-service days in ICT, primary ICT coordinators can steer the school to ICT greatness whilst significantly enhancing the learning of literacy in the classroom. The continuous use of ICT to improve student literacy work by drafting and re-drafting provides excellent opportunities for the development of these 21st century skills.