Hekia Parata: Strengthened digital technology in curriculum will prepare our children for the future

The very fact that digital technologies are so ubiquitous means they can't be boxed into one learning area of the ...

The very fact that digital technologies are so ubiquitous means they can't be boxed into one learning area of the curriculum, says Hekia Parata

OPINION: Digital technologies have revolutionised how we live and work, and are increasingly influencing almost every facet of our lives.

To participate successfully in society and get the jobs and careers they want, our children and young people will need to be confident using a broad range of digital technologies in a variety of settings.

Explicitly strengthening digital technology in the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa will ensure children in primary school and kura gain an understanding of the concepts and skills of digital technologies.

With this change, by Year 10 every young person will have a core understanding of digital technology and how to use it in life and work, irrespective of whether they continue to specialise in digital technologies in Years 11 to 13.

The very fact that digital technologies are so ubiquitous means they can't be boxed into one learning area of the curriculum, independent from those other areas of technology which are also part of the digital transformation. Our young people need to be prepared to use digital technologies in all industries from automotive engineering to biotechnology.

The change we're making means a child will start learning about digital technologies from when they start school and can choose to continue with it all the way through to Year 13, leading on to specialist training for a digital career.

This is the first major change to the New Zealand Curriculum since its introduction in 2007, reflecting the importance of digital technology and making good use of the $700 million we've already invested in digital infrastructure and professional learning

and development for schools. Work is underway with the education and technology sectors to implement this change, and by 2018 we will see:

 A full set of achievement standards at NCEA Level 1, with NCEA Levels 2 and 3 and scholarship options to come by 2020;

 The articulation of learning objectives at every level of the curricula and across each of the six themes of: Algorithms, data representation, digital applications, digital devices and infrastructure, humans and computers; and programming.

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 The development of high quality and engaging resources to support teachers to deliver the curricula;

 The expertise and enthusiasm with which teachers and principals engage their students supported by professional learning and development;

 The understanding and support of parents, and;

 The partnership of the digital technology industry and community.

I welcome the technology sector's interest in our education system and its keen interest in working with us and I look forward to doing so.

It's in all of our interests that children and young people are confident creators and users of digital technologies so that they can be successful 21 st century global citizens.

  • Hekia Parata is the Minister of Education.

 - The Dominion Post


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