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  "My vision is one where schools are confidently, successfully and routinely exploiting ICT alongside other transformational measures. By doing so they will be delivering an education that equips learners for life in the Information Age of the 21st century". ‘Fulfilling the potential' - Charles Clarke, Secretary of State for Education

The DfES publication 'Fulfilling the potential' affirms that information and communications technology (ICT) and e-learning have a major contribution to make to all aspects of this reform agenda. It states that:

ICT can make a significant contribution to teaching and learning across all subjects and ages, inside and outside the curriculum;
ICT can provide opportunities to engage and motivate children and young people and meet their individual learning needs;
ICT can help link school and home by providing access to teaching and learning materials, and to assessment and attendance data, from home;
ICT can enable schools to share information and good practice in networked learning communities;
Intelligent information management systems within schools can support school leadership;
Integrated curriculum and management information systems can help schools monitor individual pupils' progress for assessment for learning as well as for administrative purposes; and
Use of shared drives in schools to bank lesson plans and other resources can produce vast savings in time and effort for teachers.

Benefits for the learner
The development of ICT and e-learning should help to make learning more differentiated and customised to individual needs, and deliver a more engaging, exciting and enjoyable learning process that encourages better learning outcomes, including greater autonomy and emotional resilience, as well as:

broadened horizons with more opportunities for creative expression;
flexibility to study where, when and in ways best suited to individual needs and preferences, with smoother transitions between different phases of education;
increased motivation through learning that stimulates, stretches and takes into account prior and concurrent experiences in and out of school;
personalised feedback on progress based on the use of assessment tools, and the ability to record and share achievements with others;
wider access to learning and participation, particularly for learners with special educational needs and disabilities, and those unable to attend school due to illness or disaffection with traditional learning methods;
better informed choices through greater access to information, guidance and support services; and
the ability to make sensible choices about when, when not, and how to use new technologies to enhance, extend and enrich their learning, reflecting the increasingly ICT-rich environment in which they live and learn.

Benefits for the Teacher
The development of ICT and e-learning should contribute to improved professional status, help to increase capacity and provide opportunities for career development and progression that build on the recognition and reward of effective e-learning practice. It should also mean:

access to a comprehensive range of advice, guidance and support for teachers of all subjects at all levels on how ICT can be used effectively in classroom practice to embed ICT in teaching and learning across the curriculum;
opportunities to access a wide range of resources that simplify the preparation and enrich the delivery of lessons;
more sophisticated use of pupil data, including the matching of teaching and learning styles and the setting and tracking of individual learning goals;
revitalised professional networks supporting communication and collaboration, including the sharing of resources and best practice, within and between schools;
support for workforce remodelling through the automation of routine administrative tasks and the availability of technical support;
increased opportunities to develop innovative and creative ways of supporting pupils' learning, enabling seamless links with experiences beyond the conventional classroom and timetable; and
taking a more rounded approach to the development of digital learning resources so that these can link more effectively with, and aid progression into, post-16 learning.

Aims for schools
The aims of 'Fulfilling the Potential' will be to ensure that for all schools:

ICT makes a significant contribution to teaching and learning across all subjects and ages, inside and outside the curriculum;
ICT is used to improve access to learning for pupils with a diverse range of individual needs, including those with SEN and disabilities;
ICT is used as a tool for whole-school improvement;
ICT is used as a means of enabling learning to take place more easily beyond the bounds of the formal school organisation and outside the school day - and of enhancing the quality of such experiences; and
ICT capabilities are developed as key skills essential for participation in today's society and economy.

ICT in Schools Strategy
"To achieve rapid and sustained progress towards these goals by 2006 will require both a shift in the emphasis of our policies and new and more effective approaches to delivery.
This will involve focusing more on:
the science of teaching using ICT;
the development of the school as the lead ICT-rich institution at the hub of community learning; and
development of the means to deliver effective support for all schools."

How pupils will learn best in the medium of ICT will be the next emergent issue in the development of ICT in schools. There is a clear history of ICT moving from a subject to be taught to becoming a significant medium for effective learning. In order to capitalise on the ICT Capability that pupils will develop in key stages 1 to 3, schools will need to demonstrate how those new skills impact upon learning and standards in all subjects in the closing years of school education. We will need to look beyond ICT skills per se to the process skills associated with the application of ICT to learning. Thinking skills, information skills and research skills will need to be defined and taught if learning is to truly be transformed through the use of ICT.

The agenda for ICT in schools is beginning to shift to an agenda about learning rather than learning about technology. The arrival of the term 'e-learning' is timely in emphasising this shift in emphasis. The ‘Fulfilling the potential' document provides the context for the next phase in the development of ICT in schools. The DfES Unified e-Learning Strategy proposals, should they go ahead as described, would provide a concerted national development initiative that would have good scope for achieving the goals outlined in ‘Fulfilling the potential'.

In this section we will look at good practice in the way teaching and learning with ICT is currently organised, but with an eye firmly fixed on the emergent agenda for e-learning.