Teachers struggling to build digital generation

Teacher with student in classroom. | Newsreel
Teachers are lacking the support to provide students with the right level of digital skills. | Photo: Monkey Business Images (iStock)

More than two thirds of Australia’s teachers are struggling to provide students with the digital skills they will need in the future.

A new report, Tech skills for the next generation, also found only a quarter of teachers felt they had the support they needed to implement the relevant Curriculum.

Produced by the Australian National University (ANU) Tech Policy Design Centre and the Australian Computer Society (ACS), the report claims to provide the most comprehensive snapshot of how Australian teachers are implementing the Digital Technologies Curriculum in schools.

ANU Professor Johanna Weaver said as emerging technology continually shifted how people connected and did business, all Australians, not just technology professionals, needed digital skills to participate in society and the economy.

Professor Weaver said based on a national survey of teachers and input from experts across the education sector, the new report found over two thirds of teachers who responded were struggling to implement the existing Digital Technologies Curriculum.

“Only one quarter of respondents reported having enough support to address these challenges. The result is low student engagement in the classroom and fewer students pursuing technology careers.”

She said the report also flagged that the number of Year 11 and 12 students studying technology subjects had fallen in recent years.

“Tech is already embedded in every aspect of our lives and this will only be more so for future generations. We need to stop teaching tech like it is a bolt-on and start treating it as fundamental, like English and Maths,” Professor Weaver said.

“The good news is there are policy levers that the federal and state governments can pull today to better support teachers. Without this support, we risk widening the digital divide and creating a society where the next generation of Australians are not equipped to navigate the increasingly complex digital world.”

Professor Weaver said better support for teachers would help Australia meet future technology workforce demands and prepare young Australians with the skills to adapt to new technologies in the increasingly complex digital economy.

“Most existing tech skills initiatives focus on current and immediate term skills gaps. But if we don’t simultaneously take the long-term view recommended in this report, we risk generationally embedding tech skills shortages in Australia.”

Read the full report.