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Transforming Teaching and Learning

Dr Christina Preston

Transforming Teaching and Learning


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ICT has fundamentally changed the way we live our everyday lives and conduct our business, yet it is easy for teachers to exist in a time-warp of outdated ideas of education. In this school the staff have been concentrating on using technology to transform learning. The teachers see independent learning and paying more attention to the childrens’ learning needs as a fundamental issue in democratic citizenship.

Author: John Cuthell

Publication Date: 2003

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The UnITy web resources

The Internet for source materials

Promethean Interactive whiteboards with a range of reading software

Jolly phonics software

Key players

Early years reading specialist


Early years readers


Action research supported by the MirandaNet team

Analysis of the key issues

The aim of this project was to enrich reading skills through the use of ICT with the youngest children in school. By the end of KS 1 the children should have the following skills, and should be able to:

Gather information from a variety of sources;

Enter and retrieve information in a variety of forms;

Retrieve information that has been stored;

Use text, tables, images and sound to develop ideas;

Select from and add to information that has been retrieved for particular purposes;

Try things out and explore what happens in real and imaginary situations.

Technology was employed to provide a contemporary context where children were exposed not only to conventional literacy challenges, but also to the demands of multimedia communication.


ICT enables children to access information from a number of different sources in a visual way that makes information clear to children whose knowledge, understanding or experience of the world is still developing. When trying to make sense of the world about you, one picture is worth a thousand words. The facility for cutting and pasting teaches the skills of ordering and organising information. It allows the child to take down information, delete what is not relevant and reorder and group information into categories.

These skills used to be boring to learn and difficult to teach in the artificial context of a comprehension passage. How much more essential, relevant and fun when ICT is used to organise information to pass onto a third party, to be published on the web and seen by others, perhaps even in other countries? No one else reads a pupil’s work in an exercise book, but they will see the relevance and the importance of producing their best work if there is the potential, if not the reality, of the work being seen by a world-wide audience. Being acknowledged by others has far more motivational power than being awarded a gold star.

The teachers in this project are now convinced that using ICT in the classroom is more than teaching a set of skills, it is teaching twenty-first century ways of thinking. Good and relevant use of ICT increases the engagement and motivation of our pupils and improves their behaviour because they are actively involved in learning. If it is taught correctly – not as a subject but as a vehicle for retrieving, analysing and sharing information with a real audience – it develops the children’s analytical skills in an exciting and relevant way and makes them active, critical and self-confident learners.

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References & Contacts

The participant schools in the UnITY project


Aveling Park School, London E17, 4NR: Kathryn Terrell

Blue Gate Fields Junior School, London E1 0EH: Emma Watts and David James

Blue Gates Infant Schools, London E1 0EH: ICT and Literacy, Key Stage One: Rachel Jowitt, Margaret Libreri

Cheam School, Reading: Marion Scott-Baker

Colverstone JMI School, London E8 2LG: Gillean Patterson

E-Learning Centre, Blackburn BB1 8HQ: Katie John, Mark Power

Heathcote School, London E4 6ES: Gill Elsden

Mayflower Primary School, London E14 6DU: Suzanne Bello

Old Ford Primary School, London E3 5LD: Heilandi Jansen

Olga Primary School, London E3 5DN: Gill Harvard

St Peter’s (London Docks) Primary School, London E1 9QT: John J Shannon and Kathy Tydeman

William Pattern Primary School, London N16 0NX: Beth Chrystie


Castle View School, Sunderland SR5 3DX: Gwyneth Evans, Tony Lindsay, Kirsten Lowe, Tony McNally

Connaught Girls School, London E11 4AB: Zane Blanchard, Patricia Barford, Ann Betts and Mary Williams

Cornwallis School, Maidstone, Kent ME17 4HX: Carol Webb

George Mitchell School, London E10 5DN: Keith Ball, Gill Hillman, Dr Keith Lichman and Colin Ravden

Haverstock School, Camden, London: Fiona Garrett

Pudsey Grangefield School, Leeds LS28 7ND: Liz Smith

South Leeds Learning Centre, Leeds LS11 5TT: Steve Burt, Pete Thurlow

Warwick School for Boys, London E17 3ND: Steve Baker, Roy Childs, David Willet and Ruth Woodward

Willowfield, London E17 6HL: Rachel Pickles, Mike Robinson, Evelyn Wilson, John Hemmingway and David Threadgold

The schools have also been exchanging information with the US, Bangladeshi and Chinese MirandaNet chapters.

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