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A systematic review of the impact of ICT on the learning of literacies associated with moving image texts in English, 5-16. Summary


The English Review Group completed an overarching systematic review of the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on literacy learning in English in 2002. In this review, a descriptive map described all the included research in the field. An in-depth sub-review reported on the impact of networked ICT on literacy learning. The present review is one of a further four in-depth sub-reviews that address aspects of the overarching question - what is the impact of ICT on literacy learning in English? The broad background to the descriptive map and the in-depth sub-reviews is that 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 learning, and specifically literacy learning. The question is a specific one and has to be seen within a wider political, social and technological context in which the symbiosis between new technologies and new literacies (and thus literacy learning) is acknowledged.

The present review is one of those four sub-reviews and addresses a question about a specific form of literacy - moving image literacy - and how the use of ICT impacts on the development of such a literacy.

The background to this question is the growth of engagement with, and production of moving image texts in schools using digital technologies . This has been conceived both as a form of expanded literacy and, in wider terms, as a set of cultural practices drawing on popular cultures and the use of digital media beyond school.


The overall aim of the two-year project is to determine the impact of ICT on literacy learning in English for 5 to 16 year-olds.

The main aim of the present review is to review and evaluate accounts of the relationship between ICTs related to the moving image, and the impact of their use on literacies associated with the moving image. Related aims were to discover theoretical models of moving image literacy and ICTs which could inform classroom practice and research; and to identify gaps which future research could address.

Review questions

The overall research question for the two-year project is

'What is the impact of ICT on literacy learning in English, 5 - 16?'

The review question for this review is:

What is the impact of ICT on the learning of literacies associated with moving image texts in English?

The four sub-questions are:

  • Which studies develop theoretical models which will be most useful for practitioners in improving teaching and learning in this field?
  • Which studies provide the most convincing qualitative data, taking into account the methodology of the study; theoretical models proposed in the study and the extent to which the data support them; and patterns in findings across studies?
  • What discernible patterns, if any, emerge across the findings of the studies which might be suggestive if not conclusive? (That is, patterns suggestive of the validity of certain theoretical models as against others; and of the effectiveness of particular practices).
  • What gaps are there which need to be addressed by further research?


Defining relevant studies for the descriptive map of the overarching review: inclusion and exclusion criteria

The earlier overarching systematic review mapped the research on the impact of ICT on literacy learning in English for 5 to 16 year-olds. The relevant research was searched for, located, sent for and mapped for the years 1990-2001. In addition to updating the searches for the period 2001-2002 and screening for inclusion of any potentially relevant studies for the period 2001-2002, all the included studies in the original map were re-keyworded using revised generic and review-specific keywording sheets. The English Review Group working document for the inclusion and exclusion of potentially relevant studies was updated to reflect changes made to the keywording sheets, both generic and review-specific. 

Characterising included studies for the descriptive map of the overarching review: EPPI Centre and review-specific keywording

All the studies included in the original database from the review of 2001 were re-keyworded by members of the Review Team using the new guidelines from the EPPI Centre. The studies retrieved for the updated database were keyworded by a member of the Review Team, with assistance from other members of the team and the EPPI Centre where there was any doubt about keywording. The database was fully annotated with the keywords by another member of the team. For pragmatic reasons, the database for 2002 was closed on 30 November 2002. Any studies received after that time will be included in the next update.

Identifying and describing studies for the descriptive map of the overarching review: quality assurance process

For the purposes of quality assurance two members of the Review Team and one member of the EPPI Centre screened a random sample (10%) of the studies in the updated database. Screening was undertaken independently, using the inclusion/exclusion criteria working document. After double-screening the inter-rater reliability scores were calculated using the Cohen's Kappa.

Defining, selecting, mapping and data-extracting studies for the moving image review

These processes involved the sub-selection of studies under the keyword 'moving image' from studies in the database created by the EPPI Centre English Review Group. Specific inclusion/exclusion criteria for this review were applied, leading to a further sub-selection. The identified studies were systematically mapped, data-extracted by two reviewers, and synthesised in a narrative responding to the review questions.


Thirteen studies were identified, of which nine were included. After mapping the characteristics of these nine studies, the in-depth review presented key features of their evidence and findings, showing that two theoretical paradigms were evident across several of the studies; that practices of digital video editing in England were documented as forms of literacy in small, qualitative case studies; and that this kind of study which explored relationship between ICT and media production was the only kind of study represented in this review, with one exception. Therefore, the benefits for moving image literacy of ICTs could only be suggested by the evidence, not conclusively demonstrated.


The strengths of the review were that it was able, on the basis of the evidence in these studies, to make some systematic judgements about emerging theoretical accounts of moving image literacy and about some of the practices which informed it.

Implications for policy mainly revolve around the possibility for national definitions and curricula of English to take expanded models of literacy and their link with digital production media into account. Implications for practice include the possibility of using the synthesised evidence and findings of the review to underpin moving image work in classrooms, as well as in initial teacher training in English. Implications for research include the need for more diverse types of study with larger samples and longitudinal designs.

This report should be cited as: Burn A, Leach J (2004) A systematic review of the impact of ICT on the learning of literacies associated with moving image texts in English, 5-16. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. 

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