The key findings from Phase 1 of this study align with similar research undertaken by the Gonski Institute for Education's research partners in Canada, and are compared and contrasted in this report.

The authors present the views of Australian teachers and principals on how media and digital technologies are impacting both the learning and the wellbeing of Australian children. These make for sobering reading. When 78% of educators see a decrease in students’ ability to focus on educational tasks, 80% see a decline in students’ empathy and 60% see a decline in physical activity, it is clear that the time children spend both in and out of school on digital technologies is having a significant impact not only on their brains, minds and bodies, but also how they experience the world around them. Further, these impacts often manifest differently depending on a child’s home circumstances and the socioeconomic status of their family/caregivers.

Key facts:

  • 43% of Australian teachers and principals believe digital technologies enhance their teaching and learning activities, while 84% believe digital technologies are a growing distraction in the learning environment.
  • 60% of teachers believe technology has positively impacted the learning experience for students with disabilities.
  • 59% of respondents observed a decline in students’ overall readiness to learn in the last 3–5 years.
  • 78% of teachers say students’ ability to focus on educational tasks has decreased.
  • 83% of teachers agree that students’ socio-economic circumstances have some impact on access to technology they need for learning in school.
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