ICT in Primary Education MOOC

"The computer corner, with rocking chair" by Lars Plougmann. Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA
“The computer corner, with rocking chair” by Lars Plougmann. Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA

Here I go again, I have only just signed myself up for yet another MOOC with Coursera whilst still doing the EdD (Doctorate in Education), especially as I have hit a crucial stage in terms of putting the ethics application form together along with supporting documents and my research instruments – these being the questionnaire and interview schedule.

The MOOC in question is called “ICT in Primary Education: Transforming Children’s Learning across the Curriculum” and is being jointly run by the Institute of Education, University of London and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization‘s (UNESCO) Institute for Information Technology in Education (ITTE) with Professor Diana Laurillard acting as the lead instructor on the course.

This is the second iteration of this MOOC, which is running from 26 May to 7 July 2015, and is being touted as a “professional development course for teachers, headteachers and policymakers working in the Primary Education sector”. So, for over the 6 week period, the course participants will be given access to 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, and PDFs of articles and reports. According to the course website, participants are expected to put aside around 5 core hours of study each week, which could be supplemented with a further 5 optional hours. The course blurb makes the point that:

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 IOE’s mission to promote excellence in education and professional practice through advancing knowledge and understanding.

I am also told by the course blurb that:

It brings together teachers, leaders and education policymakers from all over the world – 174 countries during its first run last year. So you will be working with a wonderfully informative group of peers. We learned a lot from the discussion forums and the contributions from participants, and this has influenced our thinking about the re-run this year.

So why is a learning technologist based in higher education, affiliated to a Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences, who is also a doctoral candidate about to embark on research into the professional learning of academics doing a MOOC aimed towards Primary Education sector workers?

Well, just over two years ago, I put my name forward to be a school governor. Not only did I wanted to do something that allowed me to put something back into my local community; but that I am extremely passionate about the considerable role that education can play in the transformational development and growth of individuals, especially those at a younger age.

The calling came in April 2015 and I became a school governor at a very nice local village Primary School. The school currently supports around 90 pupils and have just recently acquired a new computing suite and the teachers are making use of tablet technologies. So, for me, the purpose of doing this MOOC is raise my own awareness and appreciation of how information and communication technology (ICT) can be used to support and enhance a Primary Education curriculum; to gain an insight into some of the challenges and opportunities facing Primary Schools as they try to adopt different technologies; to critically consider what value ICT has in pupil participation and engagement; and to understand what support and infrastructure is needed to support teachers in their use of such technologies.

This MOOC is quite timely, but unlike previous MOOCs, I will not be taking part in any of the assessed elements. My aim is really to gain insights and an appreciation of what is currently going on with ICT in Primary Education.


Kalaš, I., Bannayan, H.E., Conery, L., Laval, E., Laurillard, D., Lim, C.P., Musgrave, S., Semenov, A. & Turcsányi-Szabó, M. (2012). ICT in Primary Education: Analytical Survey. Volume 1, Exploring the Origins, Settings and Initiatives. Moscow, Russian Federation: UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education. Available at: http://iite.unesco.org/publications/3214707/ [Accessed 30.5.2015].

Kalaš, I., Laval, E., Laurillard, D., Lim, C.P., Meyer, F., Musgrave, S., Senteni, A., Tokareva, N. & Turcsányi-Szabó, M. (2014). ICT in Primary Education: Analytical Survey. Volume 2, Policy, Practices, and Recommendations. Moscow, Russian Federation: UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education. Available at: http://iite.unesco.org/publications/3214735/ [Accessed 30.5.2015].

Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a Design Science: Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology. London, England: Routledge.

Lim, C.P., Aubé, M., de Huergo, E.W., Kalaš, I., Laval, E., Meyer, F., Rjazanova, J., Tay, L.Y., & Tokareva, N. (2014). ICT in Primary Education: Analytical Survey. Volume 3, Collective Case Study of Promising Practices. Moscow, Russian Federation: UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education. Available at: http://iite.unesco.org/publications/3214736/ [Accessed 30.5.2015].