- For Schools
- For Individuals
- Online Courses
- EAL Assessment Framework
- Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
- Partner with Us
- Annual Report
- Our Policy Work
- EAL Programme
- Effective Teaching of EAL Learners
- Great Ideas
Explore our policy recommendations for breaking down language barriers in schools, adult education, and the criminal justice system.
Great Idea: Using ICT
What is ICT?
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can be a very supportive tool for EAL learners, both for developing skills that are important, and as a complementary resource for classroom activities. There is a range of different types of ICT that can help EAL learners of varying levels of proficiency in English , for example:
- Word processing software such as Word
- Presentation and desktop publishing software, e.g. PowerPoint, Publisher
- Tablets and Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)
- The internet
- Recording technology: audio and video
- Communication: email, video conferencing, social media
- Immersive games
- Translation software
- A range of other software and apps, for example focused on grammar and vocabulary, literacy or curriculum based and creative or story-making based software and apps
Examples of activities
ICT can be used with EAL learners at all stages of English language proficiency , at any age and across the curriculum. Here are a few examples:
1. IWB for sharing ideas :
Using the IWB with a group or whole class is suggested in many resources on this website. One example is I see I think I wonder - Little Red Riding Hood , where learners work in groups to discuss a picture and annotate it in either English or their first language or both. The teacher then collates ideas from the different groups around the same picture on the IWB. Where the notes are in first language EAL learners can come and write on the IWB if the teacher does not share that language.
2. Translation software :
Give EAL learners a text in English and ask them to highlight or underline unfamiliar words in it. Ask them to first try and guess the meaning of the new words from the context. Then they look them up and check whether they managed to guess their meanings correctly. This is a useful approach with chapter or scene summaries of set texts in English, for example The Tempest Act 1 , or GCSE poetry such as The Charge of the Light Brigade .
3. Online research :
Using the internet to research topics online, accessing text (including in first language), images, sound, film / video / DVD, graphs, maps, charts etc. which will allow learners to make links between concepts and knowledge they already have and the English they need to explore them.
4. Group presentation :
Group or paired presentations on a topic can encourage organisational discussion during the task and also supports those who are less confident in speaking in English through the use of presentation software like PowerPoint or Prezi. Some of the resources on this website, for example Life and works of Charles Dickens , suggest that as an extension activity, groups of learners carry out their own research on the topic and then present their findings to the class.
5. Immersive games :
These are great for uniting learning across the curriculum. Games such as ‘The Room 2’ and ‘Amerzone’ feature a rich mystery-based storyline, with a variety of textual sources such as letters, codes and journals. Players are encouraged to interact with the texts as they reveal clues to solving puzzles and provide a backstory to events and characters that enhance the overall narrative.
6. Book or film making :
Digital cameras and video recorders are excellent for EAL learners at an early stage of developing literacy to make their own books, based for example on a practical activity they have carried out in class. They are also wonderful for collaborative projects such as making a welcome video for new arrivals at the school.
How using ICT works
- To provide a rich context
- To build on prior knowledge
- To scaffold language and learning
- To provide opportunities for collaborative learning
- Word processing or publishing work (individually or pairs or groups) can be particularly motivating for EAL learners at an early stage of learning to write in English, as they can produce work to a higher standard of presentation than they may be able to by hand
- The internet can also be used to provide a rich context to increase access to the curriculum, through searching for images, maps (e.g. Google Earth), charts, diagrams, music, film / video / DVD etc.
- Suggest a maximum of three or four websites to search, and check first if the information they need is there or not
- Use the same criteria to choose websites as for a text book: layout and overall look, quantity and quality of visuals, readability, target age of audience, content, scope and level, navigability
- Sites designed for EAL, EFL or ESOL learners are often useful as many of these are aimed at improving the grammar or vocabulary of learners whose first language is not English.
- Scan read the text you have found and see if it has the information you need
- Copy and paste the section that has the information you need into a draft document, print it out and read it carefully
- Highlight the important words or phrases making sure you focus on what the question asks or exactly what you are trying to find out
- Using a bilingual dictionary or translation software look up any words that you do not know and that are making it difficult for you to understand the text (e.g. any words that are used a lot) and write the meaning in your first language on the paper
- Use the highlighted words to put together your own sentences
- Look back at the original text for help but do not copy too much more
Top tip : When you get access to a new piece of technology, think about how it can be used to scaffold language and learning, give an opportunity for EAL learners to build on their prior knowledge or provide opportunities for learners to work collaboratively .
Why is using ICT a Great Idea for EAL learners?
ICT can be used to employ all the Great Ideas suggested in these pages. The key to making it effective for EAL learners is to remember that the principles of good practice in terms of EAL teaching and learning apply equally to the use of ICT. In other words, ICT should be used in ways that are consistent with EAL good practice, for example to provide a rich context, to build on prior knowledge, to scaffold language and learning and to provide opportunities for collaborative learning (see NALDIC 1999).
It has been argued that some language learning computer games are essentially language drills (Dalton 2005) or ‘no more than thinly disguised tests’ (Mawer and Stanley 2011), and one key way to avoid this is to encourage pair or group work when using ICT. This works particularly well with immersive games or other software that gives opportunities for learners to work collaboratively to solve problems, as suggested by Pim (2013, 2015). Wegerif (2004) advocates using ICT collaboratively so as to provide a catalyst for exploratory talk as recommended by socio-cultural researchers such as Mercer, Wells and Alexander.
Dalton, E., 2005, Language learning games: Why, When and How? [ Electronic version ] Southern New Hampshire University.
NALDIC, 1999, The distinctiveness of English as an Additional Language: a cross-curricular discipline, National Association of Language Development in the Curriculum, Working Paper 5.
Mawer, K. and Stanley, G., 2011, Digital play: computer games and language aims, Surrey: Delta Publishing.
Pim, C., 2013, Emerging technologies, emerging minds: digital innovations within the primary sector, in G. Motteram (Ed.), Innovations in learning technologies for English language learning, pp17-42, London: The British Council.
Pim, C., 2015, Developing the writing of advanced EAL learners through the use of 3D immersive adventure games, The British Council
Wegerif, R., 2004, The role of ICT as catalyst and support for dialogue, NALDIC Quarterly 1(4), electronic version .
- Back to Great Ideas
- Explore our Free Resources
More Great Ideas for Teaching EAL Learners
- Barrier Games
- Bilingual Dictionaries
- Early literacy word work
- From talk to writing
- Focusing on grammar patterns
- Enhancing classroom talk
- Questioning strategies
- Collaborative Activities
- Drama and Role Play
- Graphic Organisers
- Information gap activities
- Great Idea: Visuals
- Substitution Tables
- Speaking and Writing Frames
- Great Idea: Scaffolding
- Reading for Meaning
- Great Idea: Modelling
- Language Drills
- Jigsaw Activities
- Building Vocabulary
Upcoming courses and webinars
The linguistic challenges of the transition to secondary school (webinar), leading a whole-school strategy for eal (online course), introduction to eal assessment (online course), supporting new arrivals who are new to english (online course).
9 Unique Ways to Use Technology in the Classroom
Finding creative ways to use technology in the classroom can both make your life easier as a teacher and boost student excitement levels and engagement with lessons. From helping with communication among teachers and students (as well as peer-to-peer), to organizing curriculum calendars and enhancing presentations and lessons with media and visuals, there is no limit to the ways to use technology in the classroom to create an enriched learning environment. Here are just a few examples:
1. Gamified learning
To this day, I give all credit for my skill in typing to time spent playing typing games in the computer lab of my elementary school. Not only were the games incredible, and incredibly engaging programs for teaching students typing skills, they made using a computer fun and exciting for me and set the foundation for all other computer knowledge I’ve gained since. Learning can and should be fun and using technology for gamified learning in your classroom can be advantageous to achieving that goal. One example of a gamified learning experience is Giant Steps , a digital learning experience designed to help K-12 teachers boost student collaboration and independent practice, from the makers of GoGuardian Teacher and Pear Deck, two of the world’s most popular learning platforms.
While learning software can be a great teaching tool, gamified learning can also be as simple as creating a virtual scavenger hunt by coming up with a list of questions for students to search and find the correct answers for and adding students to pairs or groups to encourage collaboration and teamwork.
2. Digital field trips
An increasingly popular, useful, and cost-effective tool for teachers searching for new ways to use technology in the classroom is taking digital field trips. Google Streetview and other similar apps allow you to virtually explore parks, forests, and even national and international landmarks from the comfort of your classroom. Virtually experience the view from the Statue of Liberty or hike through the Grand Canyon to get students excited to learn about a location or subject and extend learning beyond the page.
3. Integrate social media
Because students already spend so much of their time on social media, integrating its use into your classroom is among the most innovative ways to use technology in the classroom by connecting students to curriculum, classroom resources, and one another. Create a Facebook group specifically for your class where you post discussion topics or develop unique classroom Twitter hashtags students can use to discuss lessons or ask questions.
4. Gather student feedback
The true test of any classroom structure and/or curriculum is how well it helps students learn, and getting feedback from students is vital to assessing this, determining what is and isn’t working, and addressing problems and confusion as they arise. Use online surveys and polls to perform daily or weekly check-ins with students to get their opinions on lessons and address lingering questions or concerns. Expand on the usage of Twitter hashtags by having students tweet their feedback and questions with a classroom hashtag.
#QTNA (questions that need answers!)
5. Creating digital content
Creating digital content related to the things they are learning is a great way for students to display their individual creative talents as well as showcase learning. As with any other project, the process of creating content is most effective when students are able to express themselves in ways that highlight and accommodate their personal strengths and learning/communication styles. Provide options for students to express themselves through blogs, videos, podcasts, eBooks, flyers, other digital art, or any other means they feel most comfortable. Respecting each student’s individuality and needs for creative expression helps them flourish as learners.
6. Using a classroom calendar
Develop a shared online calendar for your classroom through Google Calendar or a similar program for posting important updates. Post assignment due dates and classroom events (such as field trips and guest speakers) in one easily-accessible location for both teachers and students. Go a step further and share the calendar with caregivers to keep them connected and engaged with their child’s learning.
7. Review and critique webpages
While we know you can find almost anything on the internet, we also know much of what you may find is not reliable information from reliable sources. I remember being told frequently by teachers and professors, “Wikipedia is not a reliable source” when doing research papers, but can’t recall a single instructor who explained why . Empower your students with digital literacy to analyze and discern reliable web pages and sources from unreliable ones by reviewing them together and developing and communicating standards for what makes a good source.
8. Video/multimedia lessons and presentations
Bring presentations to life for students by incorporating visual effects, photos, videos, and music into them. Developing slideshows and digital presentations, playing music or a video for background and context while presenting, or inviting virtual guest speakers to engage with your class via programs designed for conference calls (such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and Facetime) are all fun and creative ways to boost engagement with lessons while teaching the benefits of technology and multimedia use.
9. Online activities for students who finish work early
Set up learning stations to encourage and support students working at their own pace. If a student finishes an assignment early, rather than being stuck waiting for other students to catch up or class to end, students can extend and enhance their learning by visiting a learning station and watching videos, playing learning-based games, or exploring other online activities related to their studies.
Why students benefit from using technology in the classroom
Integrating technology into classrooms allows for more (and more effective) communication between students and teachers, as well as students, peers, and caregivers, all of which are vital to students’ academic success. Using technology in your classrooms also creates space for students to have a voice in their learning. Students are empowered to take responsibility of their learning through giving feedback on lessons, participating in projects and learning activities that respect their individuality, and having opportunities and support to learn and understand how to use technology creatively, effectively, and safely.
Note: This article was originally posted March 11, 2019 and has been updated as of July 10, 2023.
Nina is a writer and children's rights advocate with a passion for education and creative expression. She believes that respectful nurture of children as whole people from early on is the key to building healthy relationships with learning.
Designing Effective Edtech for K-5 Learners
Guided by research, we explore nine pivotal design principles that elevate K-5 edtech tools, fostering engagement and comprehension in our digitally distracted age.
AI’s Potential to Personalize K-12 Learning Starts with Trust
Explore the past and future of AI in schools, envisioning responsible AI tools that empower teachers and students to deliver personalized education.
Customize Beacon Alerts With Separate Escalation Lists
Beacon's new separate escalation lists feature offers schools the ability to create unique escalation lists for both during and after school hours.
Six Facts Counselors Wish Caregivers Knew About Student Mental Health
A director of school counseling shares key insights every caregiver should know.
Determining the Inclusivity of Edtech: Four Questions to Ask
Learn how to select inclusive educational technology by asking four critical questions to enhance learning environments for all students.
How GoGuardian Teacher Helps Educators Communicate Clear Expectations
Ever wonder how edtech works for students? This infographic breaks down features that help build stronger student-teacher relationships and increase positive academic outcomes.
How Teachers Can Advance Educational Equity Through Clear, High Expectations
Fostering high expectations for all students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, while providing clear guidance and support is essential for promoting educational equity.
End Edtech Whiplash: Edtech Implementations That Stick
Read about 10 best practices to match products with strategic goals, drive edtech usage and awareness, ensure stakeholder buy-in, and create a system of support for end users.
GoGuardian Reveals Responsible AI Principles
GoGuardian is committed to leading the way in responsible AI for education, with principles rooted in purpose, privacy, transparency, equity, reliability, and accountability.
- Free Resources
- Project Ideas
- Login/Register Remember Me Register
Let your students create their very own personalized stories using a variety of colorful and vibrant Illustrations that ignite creativity. Story Bird and Story Jumper are two great websites that allow students to bring creative writing into the 21st century with technology.
In these websites (which are especially great for students who are not good at drawing), students write and illustrate a story using the wide assortment of backgrounds by simply dragging and dropping a series of images onto the page.
With a classroom account, teachers can create assignments, and review and comment on submitted stories. They’ll also be able to arrange for printing and purchase of any student created work. Talk about becoming young authors!
2. Create their Own Quiz
Challenge your students to create their own quiz using Kahoot !
Kahoot is a student-response gamifying tool that lets teachers create multiple-choice quizzes and polls and is a great way to incorporate fun and games in the classroom! It provides quick, real-time results and gives students instant feedback on their devices without anyone being called out individually.
I use this platform mainly to review concepts and vocabulary. My students always ask to play Kahoot again and again so I decided to establish a Kahoot day for quick revision and informal assessments. I also have them write their own test questions and allow them to create their own Kahoot quiz and take lead during the game.
3. Produce Book Trailers
Book Trailer Project is a digital storytelling activity for middle school or high school students after they finish reading a book. Students need to take the key idea from the book to create a short video that persuades people to check out a book they have read.
Doing the book trailer project requires students to summarize, synthesize and analyze the book and put that analysis in their trailer. Furthermore, having students create book trailers is a great way to incorporate technology in the classroom and encourage reading. Thus, book trailer project is a great alternative to boring book report assignments, and can easily be done individually or in groups.
Check out this post to read the step-by-step guide in doing the Book Trailer Project.
4. Photo Scavenger Hunt
Students are handed a list of things that can be found within school grounds ranging from very easy (ex: a world map) to moderate (ex: a student reading a book) to difficult (ex: a lizard). Vary the amount of points for each level of difficulty.
Then, students are instructed to take photos on their smartphones or tablets and cross off the items they have found. They can form teams or work individually. Each team should decide who’s phone or camera will be used to take scavenger hunt photos. It should be the same phone for all of the team photos.
The winner is the player or team that find the most items on the list.
Optional: I try to combine this activity with the elements of the Treasure Hunt game. For example, I give clues or unlock new challenges when a team has successfully emailed their photo to me.
If you want to take photo scavenger hunt to the next level, you might want to check out Goose Chase !
5. Web Quest
Webquest is an inquiry-based approach to learning and a perfect way for teachers to begin integrating Internet searches into their curriculum. It provides an authentic, technology-rich environment for problem solving and information processing.
A web quest guides students to search the Internet for specific information. For example, in a webquest called What Is the Most Serious Problem Facing Earth? , student teams vie for funding from the fictional Help Our World (HOW) Foundation. Each team builds a case for a critical environmental concern. Which threat is the most critical? Which team should be awarded the foundation’s $1 million grant? (see more here ).
There are tons of already-constructed webquests out there like these ones from Zunal.com or you can create your own based on your lessons. A well-designed webquest lets you turn your students loose on the web for a specific project and get results that both you and your students will love.
ALSO READ: CLASSROOM DEVICE MANAGEMENT
6. Hunt for QR Codes
This game is similar to the classic treasure hunt game except that students have to search the school for QR codes which contain questions or clues to the game.
Playing this fun activity is easy. First, I prepare a list of questions from the topics that I want my students to learn or revise. Then I create and print the QR code for each question and place them across the school.
Students are put into small teams or pairs with one person owning a mobile device. They need to download a QR code reader first which is free on App Store or Google Play. Internet connection is not required once they have the app since the QR codes decode as text files.
Now, students need to search the school for these clues and scan each QR Code to get each question. They must then work together to find the answer to this question. The team that brings the most number of answers wins the game
Try this Pokemon Go-inspired QR Hunting activity that I made!
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: No-prep ESL Vocabulary Games for Young Learners
7. Generate Word Cloud
A word cloud is a list of words arranged randomly and forms into a shape. It is a great way for students to summarize information, increase vocabulary and make connections between concepts. I love creating word cloud with my students because they are fun and easy to make!
There many word cloud generators online but the ones that I like the most are ABCYa and Word It Out .
8. Sing with Lyrics Training
Lyrics Training is an awesome website to learn a language with music! Students will watch and listen to a music video and fill in the missing lyrics of the song. The website has a huge collection of songs in all genres and caters to different proficiency levels such as beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert.
9. Present Using Infographics
Incorporating infographics in the classrooms is one of the best ways to engage students in the lesson while having fun at the same time.
Allow your students to digest complex information they have learned by creating eye-catching infographics. It can help students learn to interpret data, organize ideas, and make important connections. There are different free web-based applications that students can use to create infographics such as Piktochart and Venngage , but my students find Easel.ly very user-friendly.
10. Celebrate Diversity via e-Pals
Help students develop real-life writing and learning experiences, learn the format of a friendly letter and the proper etiquette of online communication. By integrating a letter-exchange program in the classroom, they can also learn about other cultures, languages, and geographic areas that align with the curriculum in your school.
There is a website called ePals connects K-12 classrooms in more than 99 countries to share content and ideas and collaborate on projects (including pen pal exchanges). Teachers create a profile with a brief description about who they’re hoping to connect with and why; and can search for partner classrooms by language, age, and keyword, and can also factor in region/country and class size. Once connected, classes can communicate through a private workspace on the site.
Setting up classes is time consuming but once they are in you are good to go. Finding classes to work with can also be time consuming and frustrating due to the lack of responses from my requests but once you are connected it is so worth how excited your classes become.
Or, in the spirit of letter exchanges, you may want to join our yearly Holiday Card Exchange Project .
11. Scene it with Storyboard!
12. Be Creative with Social Media
Using the concept of social media is one awesome way to engage students in the lesson, topic or theme. With a little creativity, teachers can bring the visual power of photos into the classroom! I developed Instagram and Facebook templates so that students can have real social media learning experience without actually having the need to log in to their accounts!
Using the Instagram template , students can create their Instagram post directly in a word processing document or hand out the blank templates to have them draw their photos.
With the Facebook template , students will be able to construct a Facebook profile for a person of study – whether a fictional character or a famous historical figure. This is a fun and highly motivating activity that will encourage your students to think deeply about characters, encourage cooperative work and great discussion, and keep students on task.
13. Publish an e-Newsletter or e-Magazine
Creating a classroom newsletter can be an excellent way for students to develop their language skills and to learn how to work cooperatively. They build vocabulary through writing and through interacting with others in the class.
Let students create a list of topics that they wish to write about in their newsletter. Allow them to work in collaborative groups and assign students roles such as “writer,” “editor,” “researcher,” or “graphic artist.”
There are many apps and websites that students can use to create their newsletter. Microsoft Publisher is the oldest one I know that is easy to use and free. It has the emphasis on page layout and design rather than text composition and proofing. Other web-based apps that are worth looking are Adobe Sparks and Canva .
They can print out the newsletter or convert it to PDF and attached to an email to share their newsletter with the school and with family members.
Are you on Pinterest? Pin this post!
Make Learning ESL Vocabulary Fun with these 10 Interactive Websites
Top 10 ways to use Canva in your Classroom
What is FlipGrid and what activities can you do with it?
Quizalize: Differentiate and track student achievement!
5 Free Video Maker Online for Students
Great activities! I am excited to do the Qr code hunting with my middle school students. Thank you for sharing!
Kahoot is always a class favourite! I also let my students use online dictionary that doesn’t need an internet connection (to avoid cheating when writing essays, etc). Have you tried Wordle? It’s also a good app for making word cloud.
The digital age challenges us to use technology in ways that facilitate language learning. When teachers use technology responsibly, both teachers and students will benefit from technology in its supporting role not only in the ESL/EFL classroom but in other subjects as well.
You’re absolutely welcome! Let us know how your activity goes 🙂
Hi Greg! I love the offline dictionary idea! And yes, Wordle is also great on laptops. I don’t know why but it’s quite spotty (technical issues) on iPads or tablets.
to that I agree! cheers!
Thanks for this post because for some strange reason I had not been able to locate a working site that did not ask me for a lot of information about myself just to use the “word cloud” app.
You’re welcome @ghoskins I know the struggle! Sometimes its hard for students to get into or save the word cloud because some apps require too much info from the user. Word It Out is one of best and easiest app to use!
lots and lots of web 2.0 tools…truly amazing
Thank you, Fozia!
Hi Amazing, and full of inspiring activities I’ll try the web quest, qr code hunt and infogrphics which are more suitable to my class. Just suggestion..Why dont’t you give a try to video projects, and prezi presentation, and let’s see the students anthusiasm.
Thanks for the suggestion! Actually I have some videos but putting them together for a presentation takes a lot of time. I will definitely do that in the future!
And I’m glad you love the activities! Let us know how it worked for you 🙂
La caza de codigos QR me parecen interesante los empezare usar. Pero necesito mas sugerencias
I may be teaching ESL in middle school and I appreciate the information, ideas, and resources you provide on the website.
Wow enjoy! Teaching in middle school super fun! 🙂
I will try Piktochart with my students
Wonderful suggestions! I’d love to try Lyrics Training with my music class. Thanks for your ideas ? ❤️
i think it will be very useful!!!
Syeda umme Humera
I teach history and geography to grade 8th students. The class strength is 39. Help me in different activities .specially project based. Thank you .
Thanks for the suggestion! Actually I will definitely do that in the future!
And I’m glad you love the activities! Let us know how it worked for you ?
Thank you 🙂
Great to hear that!
Great! Good luck with the activity!
You’re welcome! Have fun!
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Short in Time? Here are 10 easy ICT activities to apply today
By Michael Hilkemeijer
As a former teacher, I know about time constraints for preparation especially when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom. Below, I have put together a number of ICT activities for preschoolers and primary students that will save you time. You can either use these as your own or adapt them to suit your needs. Check them out and subscribe to join my Free online professional development for early childhood educators and get your copy of these ICT activities for preschoolers now.
ICT Activities for Early Childhood Education
Language and communication activities for preschoolers.
Click images to download the language development activities now!
There are a number of digital cameras that you can use that are freely available which include stand-alone, cameras on smartphones and tablet computers such as iPads.
Here are some ideas that you can apply in your early learning environment today.
- Use the cameras to take photographs of the children’s creative play.
- Support children in their own of digital photography and encourage reflection on their ICT learning experiences and the photos taken.
- Take still digital images of the children’s favourite toys and the practice stop motion by moving them around and taking more photos. Put them all together in PowerPoint to create an animation.
- Use cameras on smartphones or tablet computers to look more closely at natural objects and use the photographs once uploaded as a stimulus for art and creative work.
You can show young children how to use a video camera either as a stand-alone or using the ones featured on smartphones or tablet computers.
They will enjoy exploring their own playful uses of the camera and you need to give them time for this and not attempt to structure their uses too soon or too often.
When they are given plenty of opportunities to explore and play with them they should be able to be at the point that they are ready for a planned use of the camera.
Here are some ICT activities that you can use.
- Observe children’s playful use and build on these. Make use of the children’s recording of each other.
- Video children’s play as characters from story books or act well-loved tales.
Another form of digital camera is the webcam!
Add on a USB extension and you can move it around anywhere. They usually have a button on them for taking still images or the children can use the webcam software to take photos or video.
Here are some ways that you can use the webcam.
- Encourage children to record the process of an activity as they progress.
- What would happen if you just let the webcam on and let the children be stimulated by seeing themselves in camera.
- Young children love to sing. Record them singing in a group.
- Work with a colleague in your learning setting to share favourite rhymes.
Images, patterns, shapes and colours are key features of children’s early learning. Drawing and painting programs often have tools such as rainbow colours and children can mix media, combining digital and traditional media.
Such programs give children’s mark making a certain kind of equality and so they can be particularly useful for children with individual needs or with lack of confidence in their own mark making.
It will be important for you to have strategies to support the children in their discovery of how software works, as well to assist with problem-solving. So being confident and competent users of graphics software is important in order to facilitate children’s learning.
Here are some ideas to use graphics programs creatively in your early learning environment today.
- Model uses of the software yourselves.
- Model the use of the graphics program, teaching children how to use each of the tools according to their own levels of competence and interest.
- Stimulate children’s interest by starting a blank page. Paint and save an outline of a spaceship, shop or night sky. The children can then paint over the top of these using the tools available and clip art to fill with objects.
- You can also take a photo with a digital camera or even copy a photo from Google Image search and get the children to paint over this.
- Another idea is to crop half an image to remove it and then ask the children to fill in the blank half.
- Clown faces are a good idea for children to use and you can find ones that can be coloured in in the software.
- What about printing of a painting and then adding it to the creative area for the children to continue with themselves by using traditional tools.
Here are some great ideas to use programmable toys such as bee bots and blue bots in your learning environment today.
You could tape white chalk to the back of a pixie and draw on a black piece of paper using the toy.
Or what about taping pens or using a pixie scribble pack to draw with the pixie.
In my with Dr Kate Highfield she highlighted many other ways for you to use robotics in early childhood education.
Smartboards are appropriate for young children because they operate through finger touch. What this does is make drawing, rubbing out and moving objects on the board a very sensory experience. The large screen also allows for collaboration in early childhood education when children can collaborate with each other.
Here are some ideas that you can apply in your learning environment today.
- Earlier I discussed the use of graphic software and with smartboards this can be enhanced. As children make marks, show them what the range of tools can do. You can model using the tools and then stand back and monitor their capabilities in ICT.
- You can also model using the board to make designs. Designs for a playground model or a pattern for wrapping paper might be an idea.
- Scaffold children’s uses of the Gallery clip art to retell traditional stories or you could even piece together a nursery rhyme.
Role play toys
Digital role play is about learning without failure and there are many ways in which you can support the children’s use digital technology in your early learning environment.
Here are some ways in which you can support digital role play today.
- You can be creative in your provision of everyday digital technology. What about adding defunct mobile phone to pockets in children’s dressing up clothes.
- Another idea would be to add a computer with some sort of role-play software. For example, add ‘At the Doctor’s’.
- How about using a computer to print out prescriptions, or stock taking charts for the children to fill in? You can even print out signs and notices.
When integrating ICT in early childhood education you must always ensure that the children view technology such as computers as tools for their learning. Use content-free and generic software that will support the development of ICT capability and challenge children intellectually.
Only use subject-specific software if your focus is to support literacy or numeracy for example.
Maintain a balance between these two types of software.
Here are some ways in which you can integrate computers into your learning environment today.
- You can demonstrate using a computer how to make signs, lists, labels, envelopes etc.
- Develop children’s creative thinking by responding to their technology interests with them through Internet searches.
- Use peripherals such as a webcam, microphone etc to make the most of the computer’s creative opportunities.
- Model your own creative uses of a computer, and children will quickly join in.
- Add photos of the children at to the screensaver.
- Use all of the above ideas for ICT activities for preschool.
- Add speech bubbles to photographs of children at play and support them in putting in what they want to say.
12 Awesome ICT Tools that Will Empower Young Children
There are many ICT tools in early childhood that can be implemented successfully in a learning environment. Learning environments in early childhood can now be indoor and outdoor, so these tools can have quite an extensive range. The use of ICT tools in education can benefit young children in many ways.
However, it is important to remember that there are many meaningful ICT resources out there.
With ICT being developed at such a fast rate these days it is imperative that you choose the right tools for the job at hand. That is, that each one is developmentally appropriate.
So what does a developmentally appropriate digital classroom look like?
Developmentally appropriate classrooms are intentional and well-planned learning environments where technology is integrated into child-initiated play. Despite concerns that ICT may displace other activities or opportunities, it should never achieve this and it is your responsibility to ensure that it doesn’t. A balance is required as Simon and Nemeth (2012, p. 32) point out below.
- Be intentional with your technology practices.
- Infuse technology and digital devices into many interest areas in the classroom and offer them as choices with clear objectives.
- Use digital tools as options when they make experiences more meaningful or efficient or add value to learning.
- Use software or apps that help meet curriculum learning objectives, meet program and state standards, and lead to deeper learning experiences.
- Select an array of devices, software, and apps that encourage creativity and offer multiple divergent learning paths.
- Within developmental abilities, balance teacher-facilitated technology activities with child-initiated technology activities.
- Balance within developmentally abilities child-initiated activities with those that involve small and large groups and collaborative.
- Extend the learning children initiate during choice time by offering the technology as an option to enhance their experiences.
- Develop systems in your classroom to track children’s use of technology to ensure they are spending appropriate amounts of time engaging in a range of choices.
- Develop systems to assess children’s learning when they engage with technology. Are they meeting appropriate and expected outcomes?
Creativity with ICT
Creativity in early childhood education has its own little cool area for several reasons. These are:
- Creativity is about discovering new or making new connections.
- It is about critical thinking.
- We need to provide ICT in ways to support our pedagogy and improve our understanding of the nature of young children’s developing creativity.
The only way to achieve this……is with open-ended, content-free, and meaningful ICT experiences with heaps of opportunities to explore and interact with others.
Other than that, we as teachers need to model using ICT creatively to cultivate an environment where creativity is empowered by vital 21 st century skills.
ICT Tools for Creativity
Creative thinking is a very important part of a young child’s life. Children can use ICT as a creative medium beyond just using the obvious painting and drawing programs.
To help children develop their creativity, you should encourage them to:
- Look playfully for alternative ways of doing things.
- See there is always a choice.
- Make connections between things.
- Make unusual comparisons.
- See things from the points of others.
(Siraj-Blatchford & Siraj-Blatchford, 2006, p. 36)
It is important that you are proactive in your interactions with young children by asking them “what if…?” questions. However, you are here to learn about these educational tools for early childhood education, so I have provided you with a list and some teacher-tested ideas that I have found. So what are ICT tools used in classroom teaching in preschool, kindergarten, or early year primary education?
The ICT tools that follow enable you to develop ICT capability as they are content-free and generic. The use of ICT in preschool can build on a child's home experiences of ICT by preschool teachers making instructional decisions that promote the development of ICT capability in preschool.
Creative ICT Work for Early Childhood Teachers
Modelling your own creativity with ICT in front of children is important as it not only demonstrates to them what do with ICT but significantly helps them to copy your higher order thinking skills. This, of course, forms the foundation for their own ICT capability.
As an expert in observation, it is vital that you document children’s learning with ICT using your observation templates to record the ongoing achievements in the early childhood learning environment. These records are the basis for planned work.
The sharing and documenting of children’s learning with parents and other teacher has many benefits that include:
- Making learning visible for everyone;
- Encouragement of shared meanings and experiences and;
- Building on children’s sense of identity and their relationships.
Many ICT tools that you can use to model use is the same as what children use to. To see a list of this, keep reading to learn what they are.
Supporting Child Learning and Development with ICT
For children to develop creativity with ICT they need the following:
- Time to be creative, to express themselves and to develop their creative skills.
- Freedom to be creative when they want to be.
- Support in developing their creativity and skills.
- Choices of a range of creative media.
- Inspiration, a starting point to get them going.
(Price, 2009, p. 43)
By programming a toy to behave a certain way, children are able to view various problems from a toy’s perspective. However, a key benefit of using technology such as this is that it has functional transparency and this supports children to quickly learn how to program them.
Examples include Beebots, Roamer and Pixies.
Digital Images collected by Digital Cameras
Digital cameras can provide more focus on activities as children can take pictures of themselves and their environments. This can encourage them to take more photos of things. You may also find that each time they do take a photo of something, that they can actually provide an explanation of why they were choosing to take a particular shot. In these situations, the camera helps to clarify and consolidate the children’s learning.
Are there ICT tools for sharing digital photos?
Sharing digital images is a great way to communicate to everyone what is happening in the early childhood learning environment.
Good examples of such tools include Blurb, Snapfish, Walgreens, and Shutterfly. It is always best to see which one is right for you.
Continuing on with the theme of the digital image this program and others similar to it can provide children with a multimedia experience they will enjoy and be able to develop their creativity skills. These programs have colour, movement, and sound so it is no surprise that it is quite appealing.
It is just as appealing though for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties. PowerPoint can make learning meaningful and relevant. With the use of transition effects, it can reveal a favourite character with a single touch by using it with the Interactive Whiteboard.
These are especially appropriate for young children because they operate through finger touch. Children can make drawings, rub them out and move objects together as I mentioned earlier, resize them. It is a large screen that allows for greater collaboration. For this reason, it is important that you become familiar with all its tools.
IWBs have great potential for adults working with groups on focused tasks or in exploring adventure games and simulations. Open-ended questioning is found to be most effective in soliciting responses from children that stimulate higher order thinking in both preschool and Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 teachers in primary education.
There are key issues in its use that relate to the installation of IWBs. It is important that they are installed at the developmentally appropriate height for children to operate them independently. That is at a level that can be touched and seen easily.
There are also safety concerns to do with data projectors in use with IWBs. Remember these simple guidelines:
- Make clear to all users that no one should stare directly into the beam of the projector.
- When entering the beam, users should not look towards the audience for more than a few seconds.
- Encourage users to keep their backs to the projectors beam.
- Children should be supervised at all times when a projector is being used.
(Siraj-Blatchford & Siraj-Blatchford, 2006)
I already mentioned the potential with the use of IWBs. These programs allow children to do things they would not be able to do outside of the software. With the tools they provide they deliver ‘clean’ art that children can instantly rub out, undo or start all over again! Additionally, they can mix media combining both digital and traditional media. Importantly, they provide equal opportunities for all children being particularly useful for children with individual needs or who lack confidence in their own mark making.
Your children will enjoy exploring their own playful uses of the video camera so it is important to give them time to achieve this. Try not to structure their uses too soon or too often.
Learning with ICT in preschool can be the foundation for further development of capabilities in ICT throughout school. I encourage you to integrate ICT in early childhood using these ICT tools for teaching meaningful context-driven activities such as literacy, numeracy, and language. Download this ebook now to learn more about learning with ICT tools in early childhood education and care today.
The Role of ICT in ECE
How you can integrate ICT in preschool can be achieved in many ways and each helps to build responsive relationships in early childhood education. Furthermore, every time you plan for the integration of ICT in preschool you actively help to develop ICT capability provided that you employ the right teaching strategies and embed effective methods of observation and assessment appropriate for ICT capability monitoring.
The roles that you will see below come from a study by the New Zealand government (Bolstad, 2004) and highlight the use of ICT in preschool in a very positive manner. They suggest ideas for how you can plan to optimise ICT in preschool learning activities.
(Bolstad, 2004 for the NZ Gov't)
Developing ICT Capability in ECE
By using developmentally appropriate ICT tools in early childhood learning activities it is possible to develop ICT capability and technological literacy. This is a key role of using ICT tools in education not just in early childhood but in Primary education as well.
Developmentally appropriate ICT tools for teaching in early childhood should follow the guidelines set. Earlier, you learned of some great ICT tools in early childhood. Each of these needs to planned for effectively and include instructional decisions that will develop ICT capability. By doing so, you can help young children develop the notion of ICT being used as a tool for a particular purpose. Additionally, you can learn how to optimise ICT tools in early childhood education in our ICT early childhood education online PD for early childhood educators.
How to Connect Children to the World with ICT Activities?
The use of ICT in Early Childhood Education can enhance many learning and development areas. For example, through collaborative work children can further develop their language skills whether it will be home language or the English language. Having a full appreciation of using ICT with and by children is important.
I am going to discuss:
- How to structure the ICT learning activities.
- How to organise the ICT tools and resources.
- What some ideas for ICT learning activities have been in the past.
Being Connected and Contributing to the World
It is essential that when children use ICT in activities, they understand its uses in the world. In Australia, this part is directly linked to Outcome 5 of the Early Years Learning Framework which focuses on the use of ICT. Part of how this is demonstrated is when children identify the uses of ICT in everyday life along with using it in role plays .
The Early Years Foundation Stage in the UK, has similar links in Knowledge and Understanding of the world. In both curriculums, children need to find out and identify the uses of everyday ICTs.
Therefore, it is vital that you acknowledge and recognise that the teaching of ICT capability is important to enable them to have a mastery and control over the equipment, in order to facilitate their learning in ICT capability throughout the curriculum area. In each activity that uses ICT, therefore, you will need to plan for the structured development of ICT capability . Remember that this can differentiated and progressive.
You can achieve this by employing a ‘rolling program’ half way through each term.
3 Questions to ask yourself when using ICT learning activities.
When selecting learning activities that encompass the use of ICT, you need to determine the answers to these three questions:
- What has the child gained in terms of knowledge, skills or understanding?
- Have the learning activities helped the child achieve something they might not have done in any other way through the use of ICT?
- Will the equipment motivate the child to learn and have fun while learning?
Organising the Classroom
Did you know that way you organise ICT in a learning environment can have impact on a child’s ICT capability? In an integrated approach, if ICT is located directly in the class, it is easier to integrate it directly into various activities across the curriculum.
What kinds of ICT activities for early childhood can you do?
When it comes to ICT in early childhood, creative work by children take on a whole new level. ICT is a creative medium, but you can go beyond just using paint or draw software. So while for some drawing may be the most creative use of ICT, there are other things that you can do.
For example, you can help children make fantastic multimedia presentations using programs such as PowerPoint. This is a great idea for projects!
What about Lego robotics to teach them about the basics of educational robotics? ICT devices can also improve the sound quality of many recordings not just music, but also children’s own voices. Boost your own competence in Information Literacy skills to help children use the Internet to search for pictures and other information for a project or story they may be doing.
Mobile learning is fast becoming popular in many centres. Why not use tablet computers such as iPads to take photos? Children can do this for themselves. While we are on the topic of using iPads, don’t forget that they can also record videos too!
Don’t have iPads? There are other alternatives such as mobile phones. Source unused ones from the community and make sure they are all able to take photos and also video still.
You can organise activities where the children create animations using software even like PowerPoint or StopMotion programs.
Learn more about optimising ICT tools in early childhood here.
ICT Activities and eBooks for Early Years (Preschoolers, Kindergarten, Early Primary teaching)
- Foundation Literacy with ICT activities and lesson plan templates aligned with the Australian Curriculum
- Literacy and Numeracy ICT activities for Preschool and Kindergarten
- Over 10 early childhood teacher ebooks
- And lots more!
5 Ways to Integrate Technology in Preschool
The use of technology in early childhood education is very important for several reasons today. The top of these includes helping young children view ICT as tools designed for specific purposes and to enhance learning. Attached such attributes are the benefits of many, however, for these to all be unlocked you must use evidence-based teaching strategies to ensure that children benefit from their digital experiences. Here are five ways on how to use technology in preschool classrooms today.
Integrating ICT in preschool can be achieved in the following ways:
Develop Technological Literacy and ICT Capability
I have listed this one first as I believe it is the most important. ICT capability can be developed in the most meaningful context-driven activities in the early year curriculum. Seek and plan to develop each component of it and ensure that the correct software is used such as those that are content-free and that challenge children intellectually.
In early childhood education, creative development is in its own area of learning within the EYLF. Using technology in preschool education provides an opportunity for young children to be creative. So you need to encourage them to use drawing and painting programs and apps and model the use of software yourself.
Promote digital play
Good quality role play gives young children the opportunity to make sense of their digital world in which we live in. Allow them to help you set up the role-play area of your learning environment and place quality and appropriate ICT resources there for them to use such as real tech that works, the real tech that doesn’t work, the tech that they made themselves, and toy technology that simulate the working of real technologies.
Use ICT to search for things of interest
Preschool technology in early childhood education can be used by both teachers and children to search the World Wide Web for interesting things on the Internet. You can guide them through the right practices to use keywords to search for what they are looking for so as to develop their technological literacy along the way.
Teach Literacy and Numeracy
Using technology appropriate in the preschool classroom also involves software such as word processors and spreadsheets to teach literacy and numeracy. This type of technology in preschool also develops a child’s ICT capability. Of course, you can use subject-specific software, however, this will entirely depend on your own learning goals. You may just wish to teach literacy, but remember the value of ICT in enhancing literacy learning and the opportunities that can be missed in a digital world.
Learn to apply high impact teaching strategies to effectively integrate technology in preschool today.
7 Ways to Use Technology in Preschool
If the top 5 ways weren't enough, here are another 7 ways for you to integrate technology in preschool today.
- You can allow young children to freely explore touch screens that have developmentally appropriate interactive media.
- Provide opportunities for young children to explore and feel comfortable using the mouse and keyboard.
- Another option for you to use technology in preschool is to use capture photos of block buildings or artwork that the young children have created.
- Always make sure that you celebrate their accomplishments using digital technology in early childhood education.
- Don't forget about using assistive technology in preschool classrooms.
- Use your smartphone or tablet computer to record children's stories about their drawings or play.
- Finally, when planning to use technology in preschool learning activities you can explore digital storytelling with children. Imagine the potential of technology in early childhood to co-create digital books with them.
Learn more about integrating technology in the preschool classroom today.
7 Ideas for Integrating Technology in Preschool Appropriately
Integrating preschool technology activities is more than just exposing young children to the technology available. Technology activity for pre-schoolers should involve adult helpers and early childhood teachers facilitating the development of ICT capability and more broadly, technological literacy.
However, with so many technology activities for kids that it is hard at times to determine what is developmentally appropriate technology. You should consider:
- If the technology allows for the child to be in control – if the computer or technology is in control, then the children will be restricted to a restricted response. Minimal capability in ICT on the behalf of the child will be achieved. Only when the child has full control will they develop ICT capability.
- Integration and play through ICT – can you fully integrate the technology?
- Encourage collaboration – how is the technology provided?
These are just some of the things to consider when planning preschool technology activities.
Here are some fun ideas for preschool technology activities.
Making a stop motion – I have developed many stop motion animation project work for my students and there is ample room to enhance technological literacy and to develop a child’s ICT capability. Older kids will enjoy planning, taking photos and making a movie. They can either draw their characters or create them using models they bring in like toys or plasticine.
Taking photos – tablet computers such as iPads are awesome ICT tools for this type preschool technology activity. They can learn how to transfer it onto a computer into a folder which you have helped to create. More essential skills and knowledge gained!
Manipulate images – continuing on from using digital images from those taken from iPads or even smartphone cameras, after they have been transferred into a folder you open up a new file in an image manipulation program. There are many of these to choose from and the best part is that they mostly generic and cost-effective. Take them through key ICT techniques that they need to learn by carefully planning your demonstrations and pointing out the conceptual understanding behind each one.
Practice mathematics – Have you ever thought of setting up a spreadsheet to help children understand calculations using simple formulas? Subject specific will not develop their capabilities in ICT so it is important that you understand the key ICT techniques they need to know in order for you to anticipate any issues or problems that may arise.
Creating technology – wipe your worries away about the lack of technology available. The best technology is sometimes the ones that the children make themselves. You can take them on a excursion to see different types of technology down the street and walk them back to discuss what they have seen, listing on the board and then setting them a task to create the one technology they liked the most. They will fun with it for a while.
Make a movie – technology experiences for children can be a fun way to learn how make a movie using programs such as MovieMaker. They can use webcams or the digital recorders from iPads or smartphones provided.
Programming toys – there is a lot to be said for using programmable toys as part of your technology in preschool activities. Beebots can be used to teach literacy, numeracy and most parts of the EYLF depending on your imagination.
All of these technology experiences for children enable you to develop ICT capability essentially building on what a child might already know from home experiences of Information and Communication Technology.
It is important that along with this technology in preschool activities you accompany them with high impact ICT teaching strategies to help young children understand the notion of ICT as a tool designed for a specific purpose.
Integrating technology activities for preschoolers should always be about building on a child’s technology experiences and facilitating the development of ICT capability and technological literacy..
5 Ways that ICT can help children in Preschool Today
In an ever changing world, where technology is the catalyst for many changes and when technology is rapidly changing itself, it is important that parents send their children to early learning centres where they can begin to reap the benefits of technology in early childhood education .
As an early childhood educator, it is important that you model creative, responsible and appropriate use of technology in preschool activities.
How Children can learn with Technology in Preschool Activities today
Below are 5 ways young children can use technology in kindergarten and preschool today.
Connect with other children
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) when applied to early learning environments can provide the ability for young children to close great distances and communicate through chat, sharing videos or even sharing classes with other children around the world. What a great way to build relationships?!
It also helps them learn about their world including their technological one!
Through researching and exploring young children gradually begin to understand the role of technology in their lives whether it may be tablet computers, mobile phones, laptops or desktop computers. In the process, they learn key information literacy skills to help them access, evaluate, and search for particular things of interest to them such as maybe animals or video clips about a topic.
One way that you can use iPads as a type of ICT in preschool is to take it outside with you when the young children are playing. If they are hanging upside down on the monkey bars you could say: “ You look like a monkey….I wonder what other animals can swing? Shall we investigate on the iPad and see?”
However, iPads is just one example of ICT in preschool so you could also use laptops or your smartphone to model this sort of use of ICT in life.
A key purpose to use ICT in preschool is to develop or build a child’s ICT capability and by encouraging the use of creative apps that are open-ended you can respond more to their learning needs. Nurturing creativity in early childhood education and in addition to the main drawing and painting apps, you can also use apps that duplicate the familiar Etch a Sketch activity.
There are also apps that enable you to work with a child to design and create objects, machines, and clothes. You need to focus on apps where children are prompted to solve problems, build, or create and that gives them full control of the software and allows you to achieve your goals of integrating Information and Communication Technology in preschool activities.
Promoting robotics in early childhood education can be a great way to learn and play. Simple robotics such as bee-bots or ‘dot to dot’ programmable robots can be used with navigation maps and integrated well into your early years curriculum. The use of robotics also allows for the learning of early code and problem-solving.
Role playing is about learning without failure and is it well-known that young children lest best when playing. So a great way for you to integrate ICT in preschool and to help them learn about the use and role of technology in early childhood education is to provide them with opportunities. These can include both working and non-working technologies. It can also be toy technologies that resemble the real, authentic technologies that people use today.
So let them tinkle with technology in preschool activities this way and help them understand their technological surroundings better.
How to Choose the Best Numeracy ICT Activities
Computers and other forms of ICT also have the capacity to support young children to develop mathematical thinking. The use of technology in early childhood education can transform numeracy learning very well.
Two guiding principles which you should adhere to from the DATEC project criteria include:
- ICT tool should be educational and;
- ICT tool should support play.
In this article, you will learn the best practices to choose the most developmentally appropriate ICT maths activities for children.
Choosing Numeracy Activities with Technology
Desktops and Laptops – You don’t have to buy software to put your computer to work as a tool for maths learning. Use programs that already come with the computer such as Excel spreadsheets, calculator or timer to practice and explore maths concepts. You can also show children pictures of things such as spiders, centipedes or ants and count the legs.
Software, Apps and Activities – It is best if you look for added features that engage children and provide variety and also have the ability to increase the level of challenge as children progress. You need to interact with children as they learn to count the things in their environment, and then support that learning with appropriate computer programs. Don’t forget that there are several websites which contain maths activities for children to play and practice maths skills.
Tablets and Smartphones – It is best to ignore counting and sorting activities and to look for math activities with different levels of difficulty. Games that relate to how maths is used in real life is also ideal. It is better to do an activity where they drag a triangle shape onto a photo of a slice of pizza to help them to connect it to the real world and to understand better. You could even find complex shapes and anticipate how they might fit together to make a pizza, a glass of milk, or an apple would be even more practical. Another idea would be counting the virtual slices of pepperoni.
Pictures and Videos – One good idea for an activity is to create a class-made book that has counting examples taken from photos of the local community. The photos could be of buildings which the children recognise and that shows buildings with windows in it. You could print out copies to give to the children to take on their neighbourhood walks. They could use the photos to help them identify and talk about the buildings. Consider photos in a sequencing activity and create and record patterns, comparisons, and quantities. Finally, as Simon and Nemeth (2016) state, photographic representations on your various charting and graphing projects can go a long way towards helping children focus on the key items being counted or charted.
Excitement exists in mathematics lessons through the imaginative use of ICT. However, your role as a teacher is of critical importance in supporting a constructivist approach to learning. You must provide scaffold to support their knowledge building and this can be achieved through the provision of appropriate activities and carefully considered questioning and explanation.
5 Easy Steps to Creating Purposeful ICT Activities for Primary Students
As primary teachers, we continue to equip our students for a world and a society that is dominated by Information and Communication Technology (ICT). You are, therefore, most likely already aware for the need to integrate ICT into teaching and learning. The role of ICT in the primary classroom is a complex but potentially powerful tool.
However, if you are to develop an ICT integrated approach then the ICT activities for students that you will embed within the curriculum key learning areas must be supported by your understanding of the ICT concepts.
It is also significant that you focus on setting clear objectives for each classroom ICT activity for students. For example, you need to plan to develop each students’ ICT capability prior to using ICT in subject learning so that students can focus on specific subject learning.
This should be your ultimate aim as a teacher to ensure that ICT use in meaningful and purposeful ICT activities for primary school students.
ICT Activities that Enhance Literacy
Any ICT activity has context and it would be hard to introduce spreadsheets, for example, without involving a number activity. That is why when you teach literacy with ICT you understand this principle. We all know by now that ICT can enhance student literacy learning so why not make these primary school activities with the opportunity to develop student ICT capability alongside literacy learning?
It seems the best way to achieve it.
Begin first by understanding the meaning of ICT capability. It is not about just teaching ICT techniques, yet this has been the common misconception and norm among many of us. Yes, it does involve ICT techniques but ICT capability is more than this. It is to do with focusing on the concepts behind the ICT techniques and seeking to develop all the components of it such as the routines, processes, higher order thinking skills. Conceptual understanding is important if you are to facilitate the development of an ICT capable classroom.
You will learn more about this in the following ICT lessons for primary students.
What makes these literacy with ICT teaching activities difference is that they will enable you to foster learning strategies that emphasise higher order thinking skills.
STEP 1. ENHANCE LITERACY IN THE FOUNDATION
Click to Review Foundation Activities in ISSUU Now - Foundation ICT activities for students
As you can see, these are Australian Curriculum activities yet the strategies for literacy with ICT can not only be employed in other key learning areas but also in national curriculums wherever you may teach.
STEP 2. ENHANCE LITERACY IN YEAR 1
Click to review Year 1 ICT activities for students in ISSUU now -
STEP 3. ENHANCE LITERACY IN YEAR 2
Click to review Year 2 ICT Activities for students in ISSUU now
In each Australian Curriculum booklet, you will find ICT tasks for students that will engage learning and enhance literacy.
STEP 4. ENHANCE LITERACY IN YEAR 3
Click to review Year 3 ICT Activities for students in ISSUU now
STEP 5. ENHANCE LITERACY IN YEAR 4
Click to review Year 4 ICT Activities for students in ISSUU now
Click to review Year 5 Literacy with ICT activities for students at ISSUU
Download these ICT activities for Preschoolers as a member of our ICT in Education Teacher Academy now for just $20 AUD ($12.72 USD) per month (cancel anytime).
Teaching ICT | Ideas | Resources | Worksheets
Section 3: Integrating ICT into teaching and learning
In this section, you will think about how to support teachers in making effective use of ICT and how to use ICT in your own teaching.
Many governments and schools are investing in ICT. To make effective use of ICT in the classroom, teachers need to adopt active approaches to teaching.
The UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (p. 21) states that:
The successful integration of ICT into the learning environment will depend on the ability of teachers to structure learning in new ways, to merge technology appropriately with a pedagogy, develop socially active classrooms, and encourage co-operative interaction and collaborative learning and group work. For many, this requires a different set of skills from those they currently possess.
In this section you will have the chance to consider some practical examples of how to integrate ICT into classroom teaching.
Using ICT in the classroom
Students and student teachers often have more knowledge and experience of ICT than teachers and teacher educators. Effectively embedding ICT requires learner-centred attitudes and values. The downloadable document ‘Is your teaching learner-centred?’ from section 2 will be helpful to you in this section.
If you are working through this course with colleagues, you may wish to do this next activity as a ‘Think, Pair, Share’ . If you are working on your own, compare your response with our ideas.
Activity 3.1: An example of using ICT
Read the two case studies below in which ICT is used as part of a lesson. As you read each one, make notes on the positives and negatives of the teacher’s approach to technology. You may want to use these two case studies and the following questions with your own student teachers to encourage them to think about the use of technology in their own teaching.
Case Study 1
Mr Shabukali’s school has just installed digital projectors and all staff are being encouraged to use them in their classes. Mr Shabukali is not very happy about this as he is not very experienced with using technology, but decides that he will make a PowerPoint for his next English lesson. He is teaching the past simple irregular verbs, so he makes a table with two columns – one for the infinitive and one for the past tense – and copies it onto some PowerPoint slides.
In the classroom he puts on the PowerPoint and then tells his students to copy the table into their notebooks in silence. It’s quite difficult for the students at the back to see the slide, but Mr Shabukali is a very strict teacher and they are nervous about telling him so they say nothing.
While the students are copying the slides, the teacher sits at his desk looking at his laptop. He realises that he has made two mistakes on the first slide: blow/blowed and hurt/hurted. He quickly moves onto the next slide, although most of the students have not finished copying the first slide. But there’s another mistake on the second slide (ring/runged). He quickly switches off the laptop and tells the students to open their books and do the exercise on page 21.
Case Study 2
Mrs Bwalya works in the same school. She has a different approach to technology to her colleague and wants to use it to get her students talking to each other. She chooses pictures that she has found online showing the life cycle of a frog. She shows her students the pictures by connecting her phone to the projector. Mrs Bwalya puts her students in groups of four and explains that the pictures have been mixed up so that they’re in the wrong order. In their groups they have to reorganise the pictures and then write down the life cycle.
As the students are working, Mrs Bwalya moves around the classroom, helping different groups of students with any problems she can see that they are having. She is surprised to see that one of the quickest students is a very quiet boy who doesn’t often take part in class activities. When all the groups have finished, she asks his group to put the pictures into the right sequence. When the class has agreed that this is correct, she brings different students to the board to check that all the students understand and can spell the key vocabulary.
Next, note your responses to the following questions:
- How could Mr Shabukali use PowerPoint in a more learner focused way to encourage active learning?
- How does Mrs Bwalya’s approach to technology compare to the approach taken by Mr Shabukali? What are the strengths of her activity? Can you think of ways to improve it?
- Now listen to the audio file. In this you will hear a member of the course team explaining what they understood from these examples.
Mr Shabukali uses the PowerPoint in a very restrictive way. He could ask the students to spot the errors and correct them, even turning it into a speed reading game between groups. Another way to make learning more student-centred is to leave gaps and ask students either individually, in pairs or in small groups, to complete the table. That way the PowerPoint can be used as formative assessment, checking that students understand the content being copied. It’s also important to make sure that everybody can read the screen. You can do this by moving around the room – it’s easy to enlarge text size if you find it’s too small for some of the students.
In the second example, Mrs Bwalya takes a more creative approach to using technology, involving group work and active learning. Her role is to monitor the learning and see which students have difficulties. Did you notice how her lesson moved forward from the stimulus of the technology, and she made sure the students were all aware of the key vocabulary? She could extend this by asking the learners to write a short paragraph on the lifecycle of the frog.
You can also download a copy of the transcript .
Using ICT effectively
Tablet computers are increasingly popular in classrooms. They can be loaded with interactive software and using headphones, children can use them in pairs or individually.
An example of this can be found in a project in Kenya called Elimu, where children have access to tablet computers. You will watch a video about this in the following activity.
Activity 3.2: An example of using ICT in Kenya
As you watch the following video from 0:50 to 8.20 minutes (or read a summary of it, or the explanation below), think about the following questions and note your responses in your notebook:
- What opportunities do the tablets offer for children? How can using ICT help make teaching and learning more interactive?
- What opportunities do they bring for teachers? What are the key pedagogical and classroom management skills that teachers working in this way would have to learn?
- What do you think is the most important skill for teachers?
- What could you do with the resources available to you in your institution? (Do you have a laptop? A projector? Access to a computer lab?)
The school in the Elimu video that you just watched was part of a pilot study that provided them with tablets, but activities such as group research, sharing resources for project work, collecting class data, accessing websites and taking and sharing photographs can be done with minimal digital resources. Children may move at different rates through digital learning materials such as those on the Elimu tablets, but this also creates opportunities for peer-teaching, peer support and peer-review.
Adapting TESSA OER by embedding ICT
Here you can see two examples of how TESSA OER have been adapted to include relevant technology.
In both these examples, the ICT enhances the learning opportunities. Recordings can be replayed and used to support the analysis of a story, promoting thinking skills; looking at photographs promotes discussion; and looking at examples of masks from across the world promotes cultural awareness.
What do you think of these examples? How could you use a mobile phone, a camera and a projector to enhance your teaching?
Activity 3.3: Adapting TESSA OER by embedding ICT
Bearing in mind the resources that you have available to you, choose another TESSA OER from the materials and think about how you could improve the lesson by embedding some use of ICT that is meaningful and adds value to the students’ learning.
The table ‘Integrating ICT into classroom activities’ sets out some ideas for integrating ICT into classroom activities in primary science. You could ask your student teachers to create similar tables for other subject areas.
Adapting the curriculum
In the section ‘Adapting TESSA OER by embedding ICT’ you saw how to adapt an existing resource from the TESSA materials. Embedding ICT involves looking at the curriculum and thinking about how you can use the ICT available to you in your teaching, so that it becomes an integral part of teaching and learning.
In Activity 1.3 you considered how to use the technology available to you and started to fill in a table . You will re-visit this in the next activity and make a plan to use ICT in your own teaching.
Activity 3.4: Integrating ICT in the curriculum
Go back to the table that you started to complete in Activity 1.3. Using the ideas from this section, fill in as much as you can. You can keep adding to the table as you practise using ICT and gather more experience and ideas.
Now, working with a colleague (if possible), select a topic from the curriculum that you teach and reconstruct it by adding elements of ICT to enhance the activities and make them as learner-centred as possible. Make notes in your notebook to record what you changed and why. If you can, share your ideas with other colleagues and get their feedback.
A vision for the future?
Some schools in Africa, such as the Protea Glen School in South Africa, have some very sophisticated ICT equipment – probably better than yours. It shows what the possibilities are when government and non-government organisations (NGOs) invest in more ICT. The video that you will watch in the next activity will help you to consider the potential impact that technology has on teaching and learning.
Activity 3.5: Developing an action plan
Watch the video of a teacher from Protea Glen School talking about the impact of technology on her teaching.
As you watch, think about the things you need to consider when integrating ICT into lessons. Looking at the various types of technologies available, and the vision for the future presented in the video, where do you feel that you need more support?
Think about where you could get this support from – maybe your students, or colleagues, or support staff.
Develop a personal action plan for your own development as an ICT user and share this plan with your colleagues. Encourage them to think about what support they need in integrating ICT and consider how you might help each other. You can use the template, which is available as either a Word file or PDF .
You might also find some extra resources helpful. One is the TESSA Key Resource on using new technologies and the other is ‘Leading the use of technology in your school’ , a guide for School Leaders on using technology in their school. Both can be adapted and re-used.
Activity 3.6: Sharing your ideas
There is no quiz in this section, but we would like you to share your ideas about using ICT to support learning and teaching with a colleague or colleagues.
Using the box below, either:
Write a short description (up to 250 words) of an activity you have tried (or plan to try) that uses ICT to enhance learning,
Reflect on what you have learned in this section by writing a few sentences in response to the following questions:
- What has surprised you in this section? Why did it surprise you?
- What has inspired you?
- How could you use the ideas in this section to enhance your practice as a teacher educator?
- What would you like to know more about?
If possible, share your response with a colleague.
When you’ve done this, visit this page to confirm completing this part of the activity.
In this section you have:
- considered how ICT can contribute to active learning and teaching;
- interpreted how ICT can support national policy aspirations;
- examined the potential of ICT to enhance learning.
In the final section of this course you will focus on the potential of OER to support teachers and teacher educators in integrating ICT into their active teaching and learning.
3 ICT lesson plans to engage your class and learn the fun way
Looking for time-saving ICT lesson plans to engage your students?
Discover CyberStart ’s accessible cyber security learning platform that does the work for you.
Do you struggle to plan ICT lessons that will engage and excite your students?
Many educators are facing the same problem, especially for topics such as cyber security that aren’t covered in much depth in the core curriculum
CyberStart’s gamified cyber security learning platform allows students to jump into the thrilling world of a cyber agent as they solve realistic cyber crimes using real cyber security techniques.
See how to engage your students and save time by using CyberStart for your ICT lesson plans!
Try for free to instantly access 12 CyberStart challenges.
ICT lesson plan 1: Excite your students with real ethical hacking challenges
Want a fun and accessible activity to introduce your students to cyber security?
Try CyberStart’s FREE Intern base to let your class learn real ethical hacking techniques in a safe environment.
In Intern base, students can try real ethical hacking techniques by :
- Learning how to use developer tools to access a webpage.
- Practising penetration testing on a bank’s digital lock.
- Breaking into a warehouse security system to look for criminal clues.
- Having a go at cracking online user passwords.
Intern base contains 12 cyber security challenges that vary in difficulty, meaning all students can have a go at using different cyber security methods.
Bonus tip : Learn more about Intern base’s ethical hacking challenges and give your students bonus hints to solve the challenges in this blog post .
ICT lesson plan 2: Motivate your students with point-scoring competitions
Level up the fun in your classroom by holding a capture the flag style competition using CyberStart Groups .
Your students can use Groups to race for points as they solve the CyberStart challenges.
Host an exciting capture the flag competition with this ICT lesson plan:
- Add all your students to a Group.
- Set a timer, then challenge your class to score as many points in the CyberStart challenges as they can.
- You can play too and get your students to try and beat your score.
Plus, you can use Groups to track student progress and identify who is engaged or who may need further help.
Learn how to quickly set up a Group in this blog .
“My cyber security teacher dedicated a whole week of class to playing CyberStart, and every day that week I was excited to go to class. Every day she would encourage me to get more points, I was determined to get to the top of the leaderboard. Even when I was at home, I found myself logging onto the website to try and earn more points.” - Ariel, CyberStart player.
ICT lesson plan 3: Explore the captivating world of cryptography
From solving ciphers to cracking passwords, students can delve into the fascinating topic of cryptography. Then have a go at cracking or creating their own codes.
CyberStart’s in-game Field Manual has a whole chapter on cryptography, with many sections unlocked for free users.
Whether your students enjoy reading the theory or prefer to watch insightful video tutorials, the Field Manual provides comprehensive information in an accessible and engaging format.
Bonus tip : Set a CyberStart challenge or a section from the Field Manual as a fun mid-week homework task.
Let your students explore cryptography hands-on with this ICT lesson plan:
- Prompt your class to try a password cracking challenge in Intern base, such as L01, C02 “ Mixed Up Messages ” or L01, C03 “ Social Engineering ” - (these challenges are free to play).
- Let your students consolidate their learning by exploring the cryptography chapter in the Field Manual.
- Ask your students to create secret codes using the Field Manual for help.
- Students can then challenge each other to crack their codes.
Unlock 200+ challenges, the entire Field Manual, and create many more ICT lesson plans with a full CyberStart licence. Contact [email protected] for significant educational discounts for your whole class!
All of these programmes are entirely free, and feature CyberStart!
A fun programme developed to help you discover your talent, advance your skills and win scholarships in cyber security.
13-18 year old high school students in the US only.
The fastest and most cost-effective route to a career in cyber security via free training and exclusive scholarship opportunities.
College students in the US only.
A free programme teaching cyber security to high school students in Canada through CyberStart's immersive learning platform.
Students between the ages of 13-18 nationwide.