A recent report on New Zealand schools highlights how digital technology is being widely adopted and is contributing to higher student achievement.
Since 1993, every two years the survey has been completed, with a focus on information and communications technology.
This year, 494 principals around the country completed the survey and 619 schools completed at least one of the two survey questionnaires. Research New Zealand prepared the report for the 2020 Communications Trust.
The report showed 73% of schools have set up an ICT (information and communication technology) Strategic Plan for the adoption and development of digital technologies.
“It is encouraging to see that most schools already include personal digital devices in their ICT plans or are planning to within the next 12 months,” says Laurence Millar, 2020 Trust, Chairman.
Currently, 56% of principals said more than half of their students have access to a personal digital device for learning and 23% of principals said all students have a device.
Students in New Zealand use desktop computers and Google search extensively for learning, said 83% of principals. In comparison, 57% said Microsoft Office is used extensively, YouTube 56% and Wikipedia 43%. Skype, Google Drive/Docs, Dropbox and Prezi are used less extensively.
Of the schools surveyed, 94% reported that students are using online learning resources and online learning games.
In comparison, 44% of schools said students are engaging with online collaborative networks and 34% said they access social web resources.
Focused learning applications, such as TED talks, online assessments, gamification and Khan Academy, are of strong interest to many educators.
Online resources such as Wikipedia, wikiED, Newspapers in Education and the Science Learning Hub are being used weekly by at least some students in more than 40% of schools.
According to 70% of principals, digital technologies are positively affecting teaching and learning areas such as quality of resources, new opportunities for professional development for teachers, improved teacher practice and making learning more relevant and engaging.
The report also highlighted that there are still some hurdles when it comes to adopting and handling digital technology in the classroom, with 95% of principals saying the cost of digital technologies is the biggest barrier.