Queensland kids have lowest skills with technology in Australia.
Queensland kids have lowest skills with technology in Australia.

Queensland schoolkids’ tech shock

TECHNOLOGY skills among Queensland children are the lowest in the country, despite the use of computers, tablets and smartphones soaring to record levels.

According to data from the latest NAP information and communication technology (ICT) assessment, less than half of Queensland Year 6 and Year 10 kids assessed in late 2017 met the set proficiency standard, a fall from previous years.

Queensland's Year 6 result was the second lowest in the country after the Northern Territory, with only 47 per cent of kids meeting the standard.

For Year 10 students, only the Northern Territory and Tasmania had poorer results.

Students were asked to demonstrate their understanding and abilities across a range of tasks, and surveyed on their devise use at school and at home.

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority chair Belinda Robinson said ensuring kids were equipped with essential technology skills was crucial in the digital age.

"This is the fifth cycle of NAP-ICT Literacy and the findings in this report suggest there is an opportunity in Australia for student ICT literacy to improve, despite the survey showing high frequencies of device usage, positive attitudes towards technology and the continued prolific and pervasive use of entertainment and communication applications," she said.

Nationally, more than half of all Year 6 students said they had been using a computer for more than five years, and a tablet for the same amount of time, while more that three quarters of Year 10 students said they had used a computer for more than five years.

But smartphones were shown to have an increasingly high use outside of schools - 62 per cent for Year 6 children, and 87 per cent of Year 10 children. Almost half of Year 10 children used a smartphone at school.

ACARA chief executive Robert Randall said the report indicated there had not been any improvement since the last round of testing, but said it was "early days" in the implementation of the digital technologies in Australian curriculum, which began a progressive role out in October 2015.

"As implementation continues, we should start to see an impact by the next assessment in 2020," he said.

"However, as only a small amount of time is allocated to digital technologies, it continues to be important for teachers to value ICT capability in all learning areas if we would like to see a significant improvement."

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace said thought the average scores had remained stable since 2014, the report also shows "that we still have work to do".

"Last year, Queensland commenced a fast-tracked implementation of the national Digital Technologies curriculum and I am confident that this will have a positive impact on Queensland's scores in the future," Ms Grace said.

"The Department of Education has also implemented a number of other initiatives to improve ICT literacy including web conferences to help building teacher capability in developing student ICT literacy; updating resources that provide teachers with guides and advice on the effective use of ICT in the classroom and department-led regional workshops and ongoing support for schools implementing the Digital Technologies curriculum by the end of 2020."

The randomised assessment was given to 865 Queensland Year 6 students at 50 schools, and 769 Year 10 students in 48 schools, in October and November of last year.