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A systematic review of the impact of ICT on literacy learning in English of learners between 5 and 16, for whom English is a second or additional language

What do we want to know?

There is a growing concern internationally that the investment in ICT in schools is not impacting on literacy development. This concern arises from a belief held by many - including governments as well as schools - that ICT is beneficial to literacy learning. Governments naturally tend to frame educational policy primarily in terms of learners who have reasonable mastery over the language(s) of instruction. It is therefore of considerable importance to examine the needs of groups who do not have such mastery. This review addresses the impact of literacy learning on learners for whom English is a second or additional language.

Who wants to know?

Policy-makers, teachers, parents, students.

What did we find?  

The main result was that it was impossible to find a clear impact pattern. There was some evidence that, under certain conditions, word processing could improve writing and editing quality. There was a general trend towards students finding computer-assisted sessions enjoyable and helpful, and teachers reported their role changing towards being facilitators. There were some suggestions that integration of ICT into regular class procedures and activities, a high-support user-friendly environment and the use of collaborative work with the goal of a concrete end-product aid learning and motivation, but the evidence was not clear-cut or conclusive.

What are the implications?

Not enough evidence was gained to support policy decisions, and more research is needed.

How did we get these results?

Eight studies were synthesised; four at primary school level, and four at secondary.  All were published since 1990.

This summary was prepared by the EPPI-Centre

This report should be cited as: Low G, Beverton S (2004) A systematic review of the impact of ICT on literacy learning in English of learners between 5 and 16, for whom English is a second or additional language. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education,  University of London. 

  
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