Supporting digital learning in schools

Issue: Volume 97, Number 2

Posted: 12 February 2018
Reference #: 1H9hQ2

The introduction of this new curriculum content is about future-proofing our education system. It positions New Zealand as global leaders in education, meeting the needs of a digital and fast-paced world and making sure our students will be well-prepared to thrive and succeed in a digital world.

Increasingly, New Zealanders will need some degree of digital skills, not just to get the jobs they want, but also so they can participate fully in society. So our challenge is to ensure that digital fluency becomes an integral part of our education system. Interestingly, the UK House of Lords recently stated that digital skills should be treated with the same importance as numeracy and literacy (Select Committee on Digital Skills report, Make or Break: The UK’s Digital Future, UK Parliament, 2015).

In New Zealand, and also worldwide, the demand for people with digital skills far outstrips supply. Ten or 15 years ago, IT or digital skills were needed for only a small number of highly specialist jobs, mostly in the information and communications technology (tech) sector. While digital skills are obviously critical to the tech sector, IT is now also an integral part of almost every industry and workplace.

A major report released at the end of last year by the Digital Skills Forum, Digital Skills for a Digital Nation, explored the size and extent of the challenge we are facing.

In 2016, more than 120,000 people were employed in the tech sector and around 14,000 new jobs were created. However, there were only 5,090 computer science or IT graduates in 2015. To make up the shortfall, Immigration New Zealand issued 5,500 technology visas.

In its report, the Digital Skills Forum concluded that education has a critical role to play, with the education and tech sectors working closely together.

This means that learning digital skills needs to be part of every Kiwi kid’s education – which is why the new Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum content has been released for teachers and kaiako to introduce into their teaching and learning programmes.

This new curriculum content isn’t about teaching students how to use digital devices, it’s about giving them an understanding of the computer science principles and programmes that drive digital technologies. The aim is to for them to learn how to design their own digital solutions and become creators of, not just users of, digital technologies.

The new curriculum content is about developing digitally capable thinkers. Learners need to be equipped with the skills they’ll need to succeed in a world of unprecedented change, and such as communication teamwork, and ethical and safety awareness.

Supporting teachers and kaiako

To support teachers and kaiako to engage with the new curriculum content, Digital Fluency and Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko professional support programmes are now available for English-medium, Māori-medium and dual-medium schools and kura. A third programme, the Nationwide Digital Readiness Programme, will also be available during Term 1.

We know from our public consultation that there will be different levels of ‘readiness’ to engage with the new curriculum content across the New Zealand education sector. To help schools and kura identify the professional support required to best meet their needs, the Ministry has developed a self-assessment guide. 

The guide consists of questions and suggested professional support programmes.

Example of questions and answers in the guide

Q: Our school/kura needs support so that all teachers can confidently use digital technologies in their teaching and learning programmes across the curriculum.

A: Digital fluency support is designed to enable teachers and kaiako to confidently use digital technologies, programmes and devices to support their teaching and learning programmes across all curriculum areas and Ngā Wāhanga Ako. A digitally fluent person can decide when to use specific digital technologies to achieve their desired outcome and can explain why the tools they are using will provide those outcomes.

Q: We understand and are ready to integrate the new Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum content within our school-based curriculum.

A: Kāhui Ako | Communities of Learning will be able to apply for tailored Digital Technologies Hangarau Matihiko Curriculum Implementation PLD through centrally funded support as they consider how to integrate the new DT & HM curriculum content into their teaching and learning programmes. Once an allocation has been made, schools, kura and Kāhui Ako will be able to work with a suitable accredited facilitator to build a professional learning and development plan responsive to their needs, priorities and approach to delivering the new curriculum content.

This programme is available now.

Q: We want to know what the new Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum content is all about.

A: The Nationwide Digital Readiness Programme (Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum) may be your next step. This programme will introduce teachers, kaiako and principals to the new Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum content and teaching strategies. The programme is provided through online and face-to-face support, tailored to individual school, kura and Kāhui Ako learning needs.

The Nationwide Digital Readiness Programme will commence shortly.  

Professional support can continue to be accessed until teachers and kaiako are ready to integrate the new curriculum content into their teaching and learning programmes.

We recommend that teachers and kaiako review the curriculum content online to start to familiarise themselves with it. We encourage registrations and applications for professional support as early as possible.

Useful links

More information about Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko learning(external link)

Digital technologies curriculum content(external link)

Hangarau Matihiko curriculum content(external link)

Read the self assessment guide online (external link)

For assistance email:

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 9:00 am, 12 February 2018

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