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New Zealand is introducing digital technology in education. The country is planning to use bold, offline methods to teach digital technology to children. According to Education Minister Nikki Kaye, a proposal for a new digital technology curriculum is aimed at building children’s computer fluency and skills. This curriculum hopes to prepare them for jobs in the digital world. It will include designing and developing digital outcomes and computational thinking.

Designing and developing digital outcomes relates to the human side of information technology—in that these processes are created by humans for human use. It aims to develop knowledge and associated skills needed when using digital technologies in creating content over different digital media. It includes learning about electronics, electronic components, and techniques to design computers and other IT equipment.

Digital Technology in Education for Every Age

These skills would not necessarily require the use of computers for teaching purposes. It can also mean different things to different age groups. The concept of computational thinking starts with learning step-by-step logical instructions. This detail is an important part of learning algorithms and can be taught like the rest of the curriculum even without using any devices.

a cartoon of two kids in front of a chalkboard with a sketch of a computer and steps drawn on the board amid NZ's move to introduce digital technology in education

Computational thinking is about dissecting a process to small logical steps. These steps are aimed at getting something done or to make something work in a prescribed manner. Older students would move on to creating apps or instructing robots. Furthermore, it is understanding computer science principles that form the foundation of digital technologies, as well as learning how to develop code and algorithms to control them.

In Detail: The Curriculum for Digital Technology in Education

Markedly, the new curriculum would include the following changes:

  • Digital tech will be taught in all year levels. For those students who’ll choose to take the NCEA digital technologies pathway, they will have the specialized training required for them to pass the new achievement standards for NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3.
  • There would be two new key areas: “computational thinking” and “designing and developing digital outcomes”. The new content will be flexible so that the curriculum can respond rapidly to any new technology developments and advances.

With digital technology in education as part of the curriculum, children would also be taught the intelligent use of technology and the ethics associated with its use.

In the end, all of these are designed to increase the human capital and productivity of New Zealand citizens—allowing them to boldly compete in the knowledge economy of the future.

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