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Across the Curriculum

Man at computer workstationEffective use of ICTAC - ICT across the Curriculum - is a key aim for all schools. This section of the website provides links to government materials, together with a collection of basic suggestions for making effective use of ICT in different curriculum areas.

What's the point?

Use of ICT in the classroom is not an optional extra, it is a National Curriculum requirement - “ICT”. ICT - Information Communication Technology - is the technical term given to the use of computers in education.  The ‘Communication’ part is a fairly recent addition to take account of the connected nature of the Internet.

As teachers, ICT can bring enormous benefits to the class.  From an educational aspect, the use of computers brings a dynamism to lessons, putting pupils more in control of their learning, permitting independent progress and development.  If used effectively, ICT can be an incredible tool for every single subject.  From the pupils’ aspect, the response can be seen immediately with a typical year 8 remark:

Mad running child
"Cool !!!! - we're using the computers today!"

Whilst such keenness is a welcome benefit, if pupils are entering a lesson with such a positive attitude the learning potential is already increased.  The interactive nature of computers allows pupils to become more involved, permitting effective and active learning.

Yet it is vital to see ICT as another tool available for the teacher - it is not the answer for everything.  ICT should be used in combination with more traditional teaching techniques.  Similarly the chosen ICT activity is also vital - just sitting a child in front of a PC and expecting them to teach themselves is useless.

Suitable activities - what can be done?

Flashy graphics and amazing animation will spellbound a class for a few moments, but are not of lasting educational benefit.  The main applications available at most schools, with a little thought, can all be used for fantastic lessons.  These key ‘applications’ are:

(Microsoft Word)


(Access / Works)



In terms of teaching and learning, each of these applications can be used in most subjects taught at secondary school.  For example, wordprocessors allow pupils to formulate, edit and finalise text, order and prioritise information.  For English this could involve manipulating the text of a poem, changing vocabulary or putting the text in the correct order.  For history this could involve editing a primary source to identify bias.
Computer user
For CDT this could involved correctly sorting a set of instructions.  Teachers are only really limited by their imagination.The other applications are similarly useful - spreadsheets have immediate obvious uses for mathematics.  Yet each application can be used by most subjects - a spreadsheet could be used in geography or science to calculate results of experiments then plot resultant graphs.  Databases can be used to sort, order, group and analyse data - perfect for use in humanities to identify trends, ideal for use in science to evaluate results.  Presentational software such as PowerPoint is tremendous - here pupils can display their research, ideas or conclusions using fun and attention grabbing animation.  Such work is totally cross-curricular - from food technology to modern foreign languages.  Desktop Publishing applications (such as MS Publisher) similarly empower pupils to develop, draft, edit and display work.

There are many such effective uses of ICT within the classroom.  As you progress through the PGCE year, there will be a focus on the use of ICT.  Just by experimenting and trying out ideas, seeing ICT as a inherent tool within the classroom environment, there are amazing possibilities.

The Internet is also a fantastic resource - aside from pupils’ ability to download and print off homework answers for unsuspecting teachers (“I’ll just change to fonts a bit, the old fool will never notice!”).  There are some incredible resources online - see the attached suggested subject link pages.  Some teachers have created subject based materials online.  Whilst the quality of these can vary, many examples are tried and tested in the classroom and can result in ready-prepared and effective lessons.

The interactive nature of the internet is the key - pupils can take a quiz online that provides instant, specific feedback.  They can get involved in a decision making exercise that allows them to see the results of their actions.  Educational ‘games’ provide learning opportunities - although pupil definitions of what is ‘educational’ do vary.  There are many innovative uses of ICT available on the internet.  Of course, the internet is also an extremely useful source of information for us as teachers.  Many sites offer freely downloadable resources than can be adapted for your own use.

The Key Points

Interactivity - effective use of ICT in the classroom makes pupils feel they are in control.  Not of classroom management, but  in terms of independent learning.  They can see the results of their actions immediately in front of them.

Suitability - see ICT as another additional tool available to you - yet an interactive and dynamic tool.   With sensible use, the educational benefits are immense.

Backup plan
- always have something just in case things go wrong.  A paper based activity that can be given out.  Problems are bound to occur if you don’t!

View resources and websites for ICT across the curriculum

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