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The Problem

Why do we need this?


New Zealand has been an enthusiastic and early adopter of digital technologies in education, and screen-based digital devices have been considered a 'game-changer' for lifting achievement and providing equality of opportunities in learning. New Zealand students have high rates of screen use in schools, and from young ages, compared to global norms. While well intended, there is little evidence to suggest that this will improve educational outcomes or future opportunities for our children. There is no question that some use of digital technologies can support learning, however, students from many schools are spending far more time than is recommended on screens, raising concerns for families and health professionals alike.


Our children have a better chance of doing well academically and emotionally with an evidence-based, balanced approach to technology use in class. As increasing evidence is presented by researchers, it is time to look carefully at what is best for our children, both now and in the future. We need to re-evaluate the use of screens to teach basic skills such as reading and writing. We need to develop a sensible balance of digital and non-digital learning, and reduce distractions for both children and adolescents. We need to allow children the space to develop social skills and relationships through real interactions with humans, not screens. The digital curriculum could achieve great things for our children and our schooling if implemented in an evidence-based way.

'Digital technologies is not about learning with devices, it's learning about devices'
Ministry of Education curriculum workshop 2017
'Many of the skills and competencies involved in digital learning, especially at primary school level, can be practiced in a range of contexts. This means acquiring the skills and knowledge to be a successful creator and consumer of digital technologies needn't mean that students will necessarily spend more time learning online.'
Nikki Kaye 2017 
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