ICT-in-Education - impact scenario template
version 29 Nov 2010


When quickly capturing an impact that you have seen properly for the first time, complete the headline, scenario and previous approach first, a maximum of one page– the rest can be progressively developed later, to the level of detail and research that you wish.

The point of an impact scenario is to capture a teacher’s initial reflections on how using ICT has created more/better learning. But the aim is to share impact scenarios widely, to promote debate and to convince others of the importance of ICT in learning, hence the sections identifying author and copyright, and providing more detail.

This is a practical, pragmatic tool to study impact; just because a section is suggested does not mean you have to use it!

Download the Impact Scenario Template.


Headline - In one short sentence, what happened, what was the main impact? If you can’t express significant impact in one sentence it is probably not worth the time to look at in more detail.

Abstract – if you develop this scenario to several pages, head it up with an abstract outlining the changed approach and the amount of impact. ICT in education is bedevilled by huge numbers of lengthy case studies and reports that make it very difficult to ‘see the wood for the trees’. Others need to scan impact scenarios quickly to find those which might be relevant and of interest.

Author or independent validator and email address - Some impact scenarios will be anonymised to aid discussion of difficult or contentious changes.

Level of impact – More efficient alternative (traditional) OR enhances existing process (transitional) OR offers unique opportunities (transformative). (delete the two which don’t apply)

Impact on who? -Student/staff/whole-school/parents/community (delete as appropriate)

Particularly relevant issues - Particular unusual circumstantial issues that make this impact important to you, but which may make it irrelevant or non-replicable for others, e.g. out-of-the-ordinary institutional, cultural or learning issues. Leave blank or delete this section if the scenario could equally apply in the majority of schools.

Scenario - In outline, how has ICT enabled work-processes to be different. What did people do differently? What was significantly improved? Aim for half a page of description as a maximum.

Previous approach - The comparator for quantification of impact. How would this work-process have been done before use of ICT? What could not have been done, or done anything like as easily, without use of ICT?

Quantification - You have written about how people did things differently. What did the people involved bring to bear that changed in quantity?
Things you might consider are:
- time
- space, location
- resources and tools
- communication
- collaboration
- other people involved in aiding an individual’s learning
- engagement, commitment, excitement
- concentration, maturity
- productivity, quality of output and level of learning
- learning achievement

Try to quantify this numerically if possible, maybe in terms of what individuals did or in terms of what percentage of the learners performed to the highest levels, compared with the previous approach. See how other scenarios have quantified impact for suggestions of how to do this and tools that might be used.
Now review your headline – does it properly express the size and importance of the impact?

This section will initially be a rough estimate but could be refined to be a fully researched analysis of the amount of impact. If you develop the case study it is likely you will wish to re-visit this quantification.

There is a need for tools to be developed help teachers study the amount of impact of ICT. Some of these may be data-mining tools, for example to extract more information from the data available in learning platforms and the use of online systems, or they could be tools to use with learners, for example to study their levels of engagement with a learning task. They might also be tools to analyse the educational levels of work produced by pupils, particularly if pupils are learning things that they did not learn previously.

Case Study/Full Description – This section may be a two or three page expansion of the scenario, or could be a full research study. Go to the level of detail you feel necessary to help you think through and capture what happened and why this approach is better, sufficient to be able to explain it to others.

Caveats - The place to express all your uncertainties (if you want to).
Were there high, medium and low impacts with strong impact on only some students? Are there reasons to worry this might not be replicable for some reason? Are you impressed enough by the impact to want to repeat this but are not sure of the causal mechanisms that produced the impact?

This section has been included because teachers are naturally cautious in claiming significant impact from a new approach they are trying, until they have been doing it for three years. Go for the headline your heart tells you is true, and express your fears and cautions here.

New skills (teachers and pupils) inc SEAL and PLTS - New skills in the sense of skills that were not, or could not be properly exercised in the previous approach, as well as skills that are genuinely new. This may be skills that pupils and teachers will need to learn before they can replicate this scenario or skills they will gain in so doing. (SEAL = Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning; PLTS = Personal Learning and Thinking Skills)

Other evidence already available - Other evidence you could assemble given time to gather and collate it. For example, if a learning platform has been used, usage data may be available or pupil’s contributions such as forum posts or work drafts could be analysed in more detail than time has so far permitted.

Though you may not have time to use this evidence, knowing that it is there is important in challenging any people who might wish to try to deny the impact you have observed.

Next steps in quantifying the impact - What you will do and evidence you will try to collect next time you try this approach. Which you will of course try again because you have seen what you believe is significant impact in your professional judgement. Even if you won’t repeat it until you teach the same topic again next year, jot down a reminder of what to look for.

What you put here is also advice for others who want to replicate the new approach you have tried.

Copyright – ideally - Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK (i.e. people can copy the whole but not change it and must credit the author and source.)

Contact details - At a minimum, email contact for the author or an independent validator.

Ideally email contact for the author and name of the educational institution where the impact is being observed.

Keywords - To aid searching in any online repository in which the scenario is placed.

Date - A rough date such as ‘Spring 2010’ is all that is needed by others. But as you may wish to develop this scenario, particularly the evidence, quantification and skills sections, a precise version date will be handy.