PublicationsTopic index of systematic reviewsKnowledge pagesImpact of ICT on literacy
The impact of ICT on literacy
This page contains the findings of systematic reviews undertaken by review groups linked to the EPPI Centre

English as a second or additional language
Moving image texts


  • The studies included in the first review of this series mostly assumed that networked ICT had a positive impact, and explored how that impact was made. Increased motivation for literacy, empowerment and ownership were considered to be important factors. Most studies used a narrow, pre-digital conception of literacy.  These results must be considered suggestive rather than conclusive.[1]
  • A meta-analysis of 12 randomised controlled trials found little evidence to support the widespread use of ICT in literacy learning in English.  There was weak evidence of a positive effect on writing.[2]

English as a second or additional language [3]

  • There was some evidence that, under some 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 learning and motivation are assisted by: 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.  However, the evidence was not clear-cut or conclusive.

Literature [4]

  • A common theme emerging from the research studied is that teachers matter more than technology. 'Impact' is mediated by teachers, and specifically by the discourses that teachers and students use. The actual outcomes of the two-way relationship between ICT and literature-related literacy learning are determined by the ideology, values and practices of the teacher or teachers who set up the interaction.
  • There is a mismatch between commercially available multimedia literature software packages and response-based teaching.
  • The introduction of ICT into literature teaching improves motivation, but the duration of exposure to a technology can affect this.  There may be a connection between de-motivation and the cognitive aspects of readers' engagement with digital texts.

Moving image texts [5]

  • Several of the studies included in the review find a connection between media literacy and the cultural experience of young people, suggesting that curriculum content which recognises this factor is more likely to motivate high-quality work, to locate learners as determiners of their own meanings, and to be aware of ways in which the developing social identities of young people are implicated with their media cultures.
  • Several studies find that the incorporation of moving image media in curriculum programmes leads to gains in literacy, broadly defined.
  • Five of the studies report enhanced motivation in working with moving image media, while one finds a negative effect in the case of girls and computer games.
  • It was difficult to distinguish between the impact of digital and analogue media technologies.
  • There does appear to be some evidence that social semiotic theories of multimodal communication offer useful ways to understand learning processes related to the moving image.
  • Most of the studies were small, qualitative case studies exploring the relationship between ICT and media production.  Therefore, the benefits of ICTs for moving image literacy could not be conclusively demonstrated.


1.A systematic review of the impact of networked ICT on 5-16 year olds' literacy in English (2002)

2. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of ICT on literacy learning in English, 5-16 (2003)

3. 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  (2004)

4. A systematic review of the impact of ICT on literature-related literacies in English, 5-16 (2004)

5. A systematic review of the impact of ICT on the learning of literacies associated with moving image texts in English, 5-16  (2005)


Copyright 2019 Social Science Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education :: Privacy Statement :: Terms Of Use :: Site Map :: Login
Home::About::Projects::Training::Research Use::Resources::Databases::Blog::Publications