Ngā Hangarau Matihiko i ngā Kura Ara Reo Māori | Māori-medium ICT Research Report 2016: Digital Technologies

Publication Details

Since 1993, research on the use of digital technologies in schools has been undertaken every one to two years. In 2014 a nationwide study of schools was undertaken by Research New Zealand. Researchers of that study reported a lack of confidence in the data and findings in relation to Māori-medium settings due to the small number of Māori-medium respondents. To address this gap, in March 2016, the Ministry of Education (the Ministry) engaged Haemata Ltd to conduct a survey specifically on how Māori-medium kura are using digital technologies.

Author(s): Hineihaea Murphy and Dee Reid, Haemata Limited. Report prepared for the Ministry of Education.

Date Published: May 2017

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Executive Summary

An online survey was developed and a representative sample of 100 Māori-medium settings nationwide was selected by the Ministry to participate. The sample was representative of both Level 1 (immersion) and Level 2 (bilingual) Māori-medium settings, and included primary, secondary and composite Māori-medium schools and Māori-medium classes in English-medium schools. The survey was delivered during Terms 2 and 3 of the 2016 school year, and an 82% completion rate was achieved. This high completion rate provides confidence that the survey results are representative of the full population of Māori-medium schools.

The key findings of the survey are described in relation to the key areas of inquiry in the survey, namely: school-wide strategies, access, use, usefulness, impact, barriers, te reo Māori, and communication.

Findings suggest that 65% of Māori-medium settings (kura) have an ICT Strategic Plan for the development and use of digital technologies by school staff and to support student learning.

School-wide view of digital technologies

The vast majority of kura (92%) currently purchase digital devices for students and use their operating grant to purchase devices.

In general, kura do not allow students to take devices home.

Approximately 60% of kura estimate that at least 50% of their students have access to the internet at home (cf 80% of schools in the 2014 study).

Access to digital technologies (internet and digital devices)

In general, younger students in kura are less likely to use personal devices for learning than older students. Over half (56%) of respondents estimated that more than half of their Years 4-13 students regularly use personal devices for learning. However, only 32% of respondents estimated the same proportion of students in Years 0-3 also use personal devices for learning.

Student access to shared devices is greater.  Approximately 80% percent of respondents estimated that more than half (50-100%) of their students, irrespective of age, can access a shared device at kura. More than 70% of kura estimated that there is at least one device for every five students.

Digital technologies and teaching and learning

A high 93% of respondents estimated that digital devices are used in class at least some of the time during a typical week. However, the frequency with which digital devices are used in the classroom increases with the age of students. Older students are more often using digital devices for learning.

In general, the internet is most commonly used during class time to access online learning resources and learning games. However, secondary school respondents report that they are more likely to use the internet for online collaboration.

Eleven percent (11%) of Māori-medium kura reported using the internet for social networking purposes compared to only four percent (4%) of Māori-medium class/es in English-medium schools

Respondents indicate that online dynamic content that students engage withwithout downloading is the most useful type of digital resource.

Usefulness of digital resources

Sixty-five percent of respondents reported that they use online dynamic content that can be downloaded and manipulated. Most of these respondents manipulate the language, content, and contexts of this material often translating English content into Māori for use with students.

Many respondents reported that they would like to access more Māori-medium digital resources to support the use of digital technologies in their learning programmes (suggestions can be found in the main body of the report under 'Other types of digital resources').

Three out of four respondents (77%) claim that using digital technologies has a moderate to quite significant impact on student achievement.


However, it appears that the greatest impact that digital technologies currently have, is on student engagement, with 88% reporting greater student engagement as the main benefit.

Like all schools, cost of digital technologies is the greatest barrier to using digital technologies in kura (see Research NZ, 2014, p. 46).

Barriers, challenges or disablers

Staff professional development needs, the technical understanding of kaiako or the amount of support they require are also apparent barriers to using of digital technologies in kura with more than 85% of respondents identifying that these variables are either somewhat of, or a major barrier.

Connectivity was rated by respondents as being the least of any identified potential barriers, with approximately half of the respondents reporting that network infrastructure and/or internet connectivity is not a barrier to the use of digital technologies in their kura.

Also of interest currently is that just over half of the respondents felt that integration into the curriculum was a barrier to using digital technologies in their kura. Forty-three percent reported that integration into the curriculum is not a barrier.

The majority of respondents (77%) identified that most of the Māori-medium teachers in their school have the skills to effectively manage the use of digital devices for learning in classrooms (cf Finding 19 above). However, the findings also suggest that kaiako in primary schools are less likely than their secondary counterparts to have the skills to effectively manage the use of digital devices for learning (see Finding 10 above, "older students are more often using digital devices for learning.")

In terms of ICT adoption by teachers, the results of this survey are in line with the wider 2014 survey, with 68% of respondents estimating that most of their Māori-medium teachers are in one of the latter three stages of adoption of digital technologies – familiarity and confidence, adaption, or creative (see Research NZ, 2014, p. 80).

Approximately 60% of respondents reported that macron use is supported by their school's software. However, the findings also suggest that rather than the school's system not supporting macron use in the other 40% of kura, the issue may be one of teacher knowledge and technical support to enable the functionality in different hardware and software.

Te reo Māori resources

All kura are using online Māori language resources, with the online dictionry, Te Aka, the most commonly used resource as identified by 89% of respondents.

Kura are using digital formats for communicating with whānau and the wider school community with 73% of schools using emails, 72% using telephone and voice mail and 71% using text messaging for this purpose.

Community engagement

While kura also use school websites for communicating with their communities, the extent of this use is less than suggested in the wider 2014 survey of the general school population. In the 2014 survey, the school website was the most widely used digital platform for communicating with the community with 91% of schools in New Zealand using their school website to publish information. However, this current survey suggests that only 67% of Māori-medium schools are publishing information on a school website as a means of communicating with whānau and the kura community.


  1. Research New Zealand. Digital Technologies in New Zealand Schools 2014 Report. A Report prepared for the 2020 Communications Trust, October 2014, (p. 127).

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