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ICT in Primary Education: Transforming children's learning across the curriculum

Why and how are teachers integrating ICT (Information and Communication Technology) into primary education? In this course we analyse examples from schools in different parts of the world, and bring professional teachers, headteachers and policymakers together to share their best ideas and inspiring stories. The materials in the course are based on studies carried out for the UNESCO Institute of IT in Education, Moscow.


Course at a Glance

About the Course

Teachers and policymakers working in all sectors of education now recognise the importance and value of technology for learning and teaching. The UCL Institute of Education, University of London (IOE  and the UNESCO Institute for IT in Education (IITE ) are collaborating to run this professional development course for teachers, headteachers and policymakers working in the Primary Education sector.

The course is part of IITE’s role to support and promote an active community of practitioners and policymakers in the use of digital technologies for learning and teaching.

It is also linked to the UCL IOE’s mission to promote excellence in education and professional practice through advancing knowledge and understanding. 

The resources for the course are derived from teachers’ Primary practice in different countries. The UNESCO IITE funded an international project to collect practices, experiences, policies, cases and data from several countries in different parts of the world. The outcome is two volumes summarising the findings. The basis of the course is therefore not a particular theoretical approach, but a collection of good and interesting experiences and exemplars of ICT in primary education from across the world. What unites all the authors and teachers involved in the project is our conviction that ICT, used well, by good teachers, alongside other methods, can enable every child to achieve their learning potential.

Announcement for US based teachers:

Coursera and its partners are proud to offer eligible teachers free verified certificates for this course and other high-quality teacher professional development courses, through the ConnectED effort announced by President Obama.

To participate in this opportunity, district leaders simply need to approve Coursera teacher professional development by completing a brief form at:

Teachers interested in this opportunity are also encouraged to follow the link to learn more and complete the form.  

Once a district’s form has been verified, the district leader will be notified and teachers in the district will receive access to free verified certificates for Coursera professional development.

Coursera and its partners thank educators for the hard work they do every day and hope this opportunity will allow them to continue developing their craft in a meaningful and flexible way.

Course Syllabus

The 21st Century Primary School
  • Orientation
  • Why should we consider using ICT in primary schools?
  • The 21st Century school environment
  • Supporting teachers' needs
  • Reflecting on the lessons learned
How does ICT make a difference?
  • Orientation
  • Dimensions of change within the school
  • Beyond the school - national and international connections
  • Children's perspectives
  • Reflecting on the week
Pedagogical changes achievable through ICT
  • Orientation
  • Integreation of ICT into the teaching and learning process
  • Meeting curriculum objectives and skills development
  • Planning and preparing activities with ICT
  • Personalisation, scope, and assessment
  • Reflecting on the week
Technology opportunities
  • Orientation
  • Choosing the technology
  • Integrating the LMS
  • Digital content: using, choosing, getting, buying, sharing, and developing
  • Future plans
  • Reflecting on the week
How to overcome the challenges of ICT in primary education
  • Orientation
  • Practical aspects of using ICT activities well
  • How to overcome challenges and obstacles
  • Reflecting on the week
Making ICT work
  • Orientation
  • Reflecting on issues and challenges
  • Promising practices
  • Case studies from the front line of teaching with ICT
  • Reflecting on the course

Learning Outcomes

The intended learning outcomes are:

  1. The primary school teaching community to be able to contribute to the integration of a range of effective ICT-based practices and pedagogies.
  2. School leaders to be able to develop, improve, and share the strategies and mechanisms that optimise the development of ICT-based teaching and learning in their school.
  3. Policymakers and schools-related stakeholders, agencies and companies to be able to support head teachers and specialist staff in developing pedagogy-led and problem-led uses of ICT.
  4. To become familiar with a wider range of useful tools and resources for integrating ICT.


  • Professor Diana Laurillard (UCL Institute of Education, University of London, UK)
  • Professor Ivan Kalaš (Slovak Republic)
  • Dr Ernesto Laval (Chile)
  • Professor Cher Ping Lim (Hong Kong)
  • Professor Florian Meyer (Canada)
  • Professor Abtar Darshan Singh (UAE)
  • Professor Márta Turcsányi-Szabó (Hungary)
  • Natalia Tokareva (Russian Federation)
Please see Profile pages for contact


Lynn Roberts, Tim Neumann, Paul Thompson
(all UCL Institute of Education, University of London, UK)

Recommended Background

The course is intended as a professional development course for primary education leaders, teachers and policymakers in all countries.

Our aim is to engage teachers, school leaders, and policymakers, across the world, in continually improving the quality and reach of primary education by optimising the use of the digital technologies available to teachers, learners, and their families.

Course Format

The course resources will include video materials and photos from schools, interviews with key teachers and policymakers from different countries, pdfs of materials from relevant UNESCO IITE books, case studies of approaches to integrating ICT, examples of pupils’ work with ICT, pdfs of articles and reports.

A weekly discussion forum will be organised around 3 key questions, updated each week.  We will create topic issues for group discussions and exchanges.

Examples are:

  • Involving parents
  • Special needs
  • Engaging colleagues.

Participants in the course will be invited to maintain a reflective blog of their reactions to the content presented, and to illustrate their own practices with photos, videos or links to an online resource or site.

The course is designed so that the core materials and assessed activities can all be completed within 4 hours per week for participants with the equivalent of IELTS Level 6 for English. A further 6 hours of materials and optional activities will also be available, thus supporting a total of around 10 hours per week of study time. Naturally, these figures are approximate, given that participants may decide how much time and effort they spend on each activity. 


  • What can I earn for completing this course?

    You can earn a Verified Certificate by signing up to Signature Track and verifying your work. Learners will need to sign up and pay by the 9th June 2015 to be eligible for the certificate. 

    If you choose not to verify your work, you can still participate in the complete course. While your final score will be noted on your course records page, this course will not offer a Statement of Accomplishment.

    Note: Coursera offers financial aid to give learners who face significant economic hardship the chance to earn Verified Certificates. You can find details in the Help Centre under 'Signature Track & Verified Certificates'.
  •  verifying your work

  • Where can I find out about more information regarding this subject and the University of London programmes?
The University of London International Programmes is a collaboration between the University of London International Academy and 12 Colleges of the University of London.  Established in 1858, the University of London International Programmes is the world’s oldest provider of flexible learning. Today there are 54,000 students in 180 countries studying through the University of London International Programmes, for more than 100 qualifications at degree, higher education diploma and certificate level.  The University also works with a network of independent teaching centres worldwide, all of which provide teaching, tutoring and pastoral care. For more information please visit 

For more information on Education related programmes offered by the University of London International Programmes  please visit:

For more information about UCL IOE please visit: