Report shows edtech can enhance student outcomes when used by a skilled teacher - Education Matters Magazine
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Report shows edtech can enhance student outcomes when used by a skilled teacher

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) has released its latest Spotlight research report, the second edition in a two-part series about educational technology (edtech) in Australia and the impact it has on teachers, classrooms and students.

The report, Evaluating the evidence for educational technology: Part 2 – enabling learning, looks at the impacts of edtech in Australia. It examines the state of digital literacy in Australian schools, how edtech can support diverse learners, what promotes effective use of edtech, and possible drawbacks including distraction and the potential for bullying.

AITSL Acting CEO, Mr Edmund Misson, said the Spotlight report shows that edtech can enhance student outcomes when used by a skilled teacher.

“To effectively embed technology, teachers need ongoing professional learning and support – both technical and administrative – and sufficient time to plan for its integration in their teaching,” he said.

The report found that despite the increase in the availability of educational technology (edtech), Australian students’ digital literacy skills have decreased over time.

The key messages in the Spotlight report reveal that:

  • Students need to be taught the skills relevant to acquiring digital literacy: practising digital safety and wellbeing, investigation, creating and exchanging, and managing and operating content.
  • Implemented well, edtech has the potential to deliver greater benefits to several student cohorts, including those with disabilities, those learning remotely, and students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
  • However, despite the likely benefits, there are potential drawbacks associated with the overuse of technology, including the negative effects of screen time on student learning, as well as indirect effects (such as impacts on anxiety and social relationships).
  • Teachers’ perspectives, including the value they place on edtech, can influence its effective use. Confidence and ability to use edtech also have a significant impact on student outcomes.
  • School-based professional learning (PL), especially PL that is collaborative and includes applied practice, is particularly effective for improving knowledge of, and attitudes towards, edtech and its importance for developing the digital literacy of students.

This report aims to keep Australia’s teachers and leaders informed about technologies that may impact their profession. As well as the latest evidence and research, the report has handy resource lists for teachers and leaders to use in their daily practice.

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) provides national leadership for the Australian, state and territory governments in promoting excellence in the profession of teaching and school leadership. AITSL is predominantly funded by the Australian Government.

As part of AITSL’s work supporting excellence in teaching, school leadership and initial teacher education nationally, AITSL regularly produces Spotlight reports examining facets of education in Australia. Part 1 of the edtech series looked at the explosion in available technologies, such as ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini, as well as the cycle of new technology.

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