A study of the impact of Information Communication Technology on literacy skills and the motivation of a group of below average ability, Year 7 pupils from a socially disadvantaged background in a Rhymney Valley school.
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.
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This research project investigates the impact of ICT interventions, on standards of reading, writing and motivation. The sample group consisted of eleven year 7 pupils all of whom had reading ages below their chronological age. The interventions were partly funded by the Welsh Assembly Government's RAISE, initiative, which was granted to enable schools to target the link between disadvantage and underachievement. A range of recent literature from academic journals, government policies and books relating to the themes of 'Literacy and ICT', 'Reading and ICT', Writing and ICT', 'ILS and Literacy' and 'ICT and motivation' were reviewed. Pupil and staff questionnaires, lesson observations, pupil interviews, pupil self evaluation forms, school assessment and NFER tests were used to collect data. The aim was to discover what helped pupils to improve their reading and writing skills and what motivated them to read and write. Research revealed that a flexible learning environment which allowed pupils to use a combination of ICT and non ICT activities was most effective in developing literacy skills. Pupils made good progress in reading when ICT activities had a clear link to non ICT activities thus enabling them to practise their newly acquired skills. There was evidence to suggest that pupils find it diffrcult to transfer writing skills they have developed on screen to paper. Implications for educational establishments are far reaching, since it would appear that it is necessary for pupils who write best through the use of ICT to be assessed through this medium. Through my research I discovered that ICT was by no means a panacea for pupil motivation, many aspects of it engaged pupils but this was very much dependent on their preferred learning style. The key to pupil engagement was to create a learning environment which provided them with choice of how to complete a task. In conclusion ICT certainly has its role to play in improving standards of literacy and pupils' motivation to read and write, but the challenge of raising standards cannot be met solely through the use of ICT.
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