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Digital Literacy in Initial Teacher Education: Raising Standards in Writing Pippa Abbott and Sue Irving University of Worcester Aims of the Project Worcestershire LA Literacy Consultants and University of Worcester English tutors To raise standards in writing in LA targeted schools

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Digital Literacy in Initial Teacher Education: Raising Standards in Writing

Pippa Abbott and Sue Irving

University of Worcester


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Aims of the Project Standards in Writing Worcestershire LA Literacy Consultants and University of WorcesterEnglish tutors

  • To raise standards in writing in LA targeted schools

  • To support schools in raising writing standards (LA)

  • To further develop trainees’ knowledge, skills and understanding associated with digital media

  • To develop tutors’ skills in digital literacy in order to improve the trainees’ experience

  • To identify barriers to learning

  • To enhance the writing experience for children by making creative connections with the arts and 21st century technologies


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Previous research Standards in Writing

  • Teaching multi-modal texts involves a reconsideration of reading and composing abilities (More than words 2, UKLA 2005)

  • By the time they are three years old, most children have learned another language in addition to their spoken mother tongue: they have learned the codes and conventions through which moving images tell stories. (Look Again, BFI/DfES 2003)

  • The combination of an extended approach to teaching which required specific attention to drama and/or visual approaches has proved highly successful in raising boys’ achievement in writing. (Raising Boys’ Achievement in Writing, UKLA 2004)

  • Pupils involved in the scheme have shown significant improvements in motivation, engagement and attainment. (Moving Literacy On, Marsh and Bearne 2008)

  • Ultimately they had learned the craft of the meaning maker. (Harnessing the power of film in the primary classroom, Watts in Literacy 2007)

  • The combined effects on writing of the dominance of the mode of image and in the medium of the screen will produce deep changes in the forms and functions of writing. (Literacy in the New Media Age, Kress 2004)


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Action Plan Standards in Writing

Identify LA targeted schools with final year trainee – LA & UoW

Contact schools (LA) and trainees (UoW), arrange meeting and identify expectations from the project

Training for LA Consultants and English tutors with UoW ICT Team

Interview trainees on their return from school placement

Evaluate project to date


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Professional Development Standards in Writing

  • University of Worcester ICT tutors provided session on Stop Frame Animation for English tutors and LA Consultants.

  • English tutors attended UKLA Conference Reframing Literacy and took part in workshops on using film and stop frame animation.

  • English tutors attended UKLA Conference on Diversity and Communities of Readers and took part in workshops on digital literacy.

  • English tutors have taught new module which includes focusing on multi-modal texts in print and on screen.


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Learning in University Standards in Writing

The new second year module, devised following a re-validation of our 3 year degree, provided an opportunity to introduce sessions on multi-modal texts.

The module included a focus on using and creating texts on screen.

Trainees had the opportunity to work with short films from the BFI and Pixar and to make their own on screen texts, using a range of software, introduced to them in ICT sessions.


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Learning in School Standards in Writing

Having interviewed the trainees involved in the project, on their return from School Experience, some key issues emerged:

  • The Y3 trainees, not having been involved in the new module, were not clear as to how digital literacy might improve the children’s writing

  • School timetables and planning were fairly rigid and there was no ‘space’ to try something different

  • Some staff lacked confidence and subject knowledge in working with ICT (‘They were over 50!’)

  • The trainees were very enthusiastic about adopting new practices

  • Some teachers were not convinced as to the efficacy of using ICT to develop literacy skills

  • Film making was consigned to ICT club so was not valued in the same way as traditional approaches to teaching literacy


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Progress so far Standards in Writing and future work …

  • English tutors clearly feel that their skills, subject knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject have increased.

  • The new 2nd Year module will be evaluated in the light of trainees’ reviews and attainment.

  • Carry out a a focussed discussion with a representative group of 2nd Years, after their block placement to explore ways forward in school.

  • The process will be improved – perhaps by including aspects of digital literacy into school-based tasks for all trainees in Year 2.

  • Consider introduction of similar tasks for PGs.

  • Time constraints meant that schools did not move towards the objectives as quickly as the research team would have liked.

  • The English Team will consider how to embed the ‘Talk for Writing’ principles into the work on digital literacy in order that trainees learn about its impact on reading and writing.


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Local Authority perspective Standards in Writing

  • Whilst Literacy Consultants’ time meant that they had not had the input with schools, they felt that the data collected by trainees was valuable in targeting their CPD training

  • The Consultants were keen to continue with the project next year and re-visit the aims.


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Questions Standards in Writing

Please feel free to ask us any questions about the project.

‘Baboon on the Moon, BFI


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