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Teachers believe they can do more with digital technologies

Media release: Teachers believe they can do more with digital technologies

Tuesday 30 May 2017

Teachers believe digital technologies can have benefits for children’s learning, enabling deeper learning experiences and helping children with additional learning needs. But the use of digital technologies for learning varies across classrooms, and some teachers want support to do more.

These are some of the findings from the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) survey of primary and intermediate schools 2016. The survey asked how digital technology is being used, how it could be used, and what it means for teaching and learning.

Most teachers reported children are using digital technologies to practise skills, do research, and produce documents in the classroom. Coding and programming, using games and simulations, or analysing data happen less often. Some teachers want to be doing more of these things in their classrooms, while others are unsure.

The potential for using digital technologies to connect to the wider world is not being fully realised.

‘Sixty-five per cent of teachers surveyed want children to use digital technology to share their learning with people beyond their classrooms,’ report author Rachel Bolstad said. ‘Currently, only 14 per cent of teachers say this happens often or sometimes.’

Teachers themselves are using digital technology to access resources and collaborate with colleagues within and beyond their schools. They identified Te Kete Ipurangi, provided by the Ministry of Education, as one of the most useful online resources to support their teaching.

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Digital technology has to be part of young people’s learning — parents, whānau, teachers, and principals all agreed on that. But teachers and principals questioned how this should be integrated into the curriculum, and identified the need for adequate professional learning and support for teachers.

‘Some teachers are looking forward to an additional focus on digital technologies in the curriculum. Others feel they need more support, or are unsure what they’ll need to know in order to support deeper learning for their students,’ Ms Bolstad said.

Teachers and principals also raised concerns about equitable access to digital technologies because of the costs involved.

Parents and whānau think it is important for their children to have opportunities for learning with digital technologies, but they want children to have a variety of learning activities.

The NZCER survey got responses from 200 principals and 771 teachers in 349 English-medium state and state-integrated primary and intermediate schools. School trustees, and parents and whānau were also surveyed. The survey was conducted from August to September 2016.

This is third report of findings from the survey. NZCER released Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako: The Emergent stage and National Standards in their seventh year in December 2016.

The full report is available at:

NZCER is hosting the Games for Learning Conference to bring together anyone with an interest in using, developing, and researching digital and traditional games for learning.

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