Using ICT

Using ICT is one of the three Cross-Curricular Skills at the heart of the curriculum. Developing children’s digital skills encourages them to handle and communicate information, solve problems, pose questions and be creative in using digital technology.

It’s important that children develop their technical skills in a range of different types of ICT, such as:

  • publishing;
  • presenting;
  • coding;
  • managing data;
  • art and design;
  • music and sound; and
  • film and animation.

The emphasis in Using ICT is on children using digital skills appropriately while engaging in meaningful and purposeful activities. Teachers should set these activities in a range of Areas of Learning, such as Language and Literacy or The Arts.

Teachers can measure standards of pupil competency in digital skills through the Cross-Curricular Skill of Using ICT.

Teachers can use the Levels of Progression for Using ICT to assess children's digital skills in any Area of Learning.

See Assessment and Reporting at Key Stages 1 and 2 for more details.

The 5 ‘E’s

The curriculum requirements for Using ICT are set out under the 5 ‘E’s: Explore, Express, Exchange, Evaluate and Exhibit. These apply to all pupils in primary school, from Year 1 to Year 7.

Explore includes two statements. Teachers need to cover both to meet the statutory requirements. The first statement is about looking for, finding, choosing and using information. Children move from having resources provided for them to being more independent and discerning users of ICT. The second statement is about children using digital tools to investigate, enquire and solve problems. This could apply to, for example, the skills of computational thinking and coding.

Express is about children being creative and developing and presenting their ideas using text, sound, music and still or moving images. It ranges from simple text, sound or pictures to developing a multimedia digital product.

Exchange relates to communicating with others online to share and develop ideas. It can include sending and receiving emails, videoconferencing, contributing to online discussions or collaborating with digital tools.

Evaluate is about children reflecting on both their process and outcome, thinking about how they carried out an activity and how they might improve on what they did.

Exhibit is about managing and showcasing work digitally. It ranges from children printing and saving their work to organising and maintaining digital files and folders.

Covering the Using ICT Requirements across the 5 ‘E’s

Explore and Express are the main focus for ICT teaching and learning in the school curriculum.

When developing Explore and Express activities, teachers should include opportunities to:

  • Evaluate (children consider how they are working and what they have done); and
  • Exhibit (children showcase their work digitally).

Where possible, teachers should also provide opportunities for children to Exchange (work collaboratively using digital tools).

The Resources section contains support and guidance that schools can use to create a Using ICT curriculum that’s relevant for their pupils and situation.


The Levels of Progression for Using ICT include this statement: 'Pupils should demonstrate, when and where appropriate, knowledge and understanding of e-safety including acceptable online behaviour.'

Schools should embed e-safety education into teaching and learning in the Areas of Learning through relevant topics. This will give pupils opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of e-safety.

CCEA's Relationships and Sexuality Education Hub has information and links that we think are particularly useful for this topic.


For more information on Using ICT, contact:

Ciara Mahon
[email protected]
(028) 9026 1200 ext. 2606