Learning about and with digital technologies will contribute to developing an informed digital society.
In The New Zealand Curriculum, digital technologies will be recognised as a part of the Technology learning area. In Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, it will be recognised as a whenu (strand) within the Hangarau Wāhanga Ako. Learning in digital technologies will link to learning across all Learning Areas and Wāhanga Ako.
“All young people from years one to 10 will take part in digital technologies learning. Students choosing digital technologies pathways for NCEA will develop the more specialised skills that industry partners say are in high demand, through new achievement standards being developed for NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3.”
The "big ideas" and key conceptual ideas of digital technologies were developed and tested with a group of students, teachers, and the Digital Technologies Hangarau Matihiko Curriculum Reference Group during 2016.
In 2017 the design and development process was informed by, and run alongside, a much more extensive trial and consultation period with schools, students, teachers and with industry stakeholders. The group mapped the significant learning "signposts", which describe a student’s increasing understanding and use of digital technologies knowledge and skills; develop and test rich tasks for and with students; and engage and test their ideas with students, teachers and industry stakeholders throughout the design process. A Māori-medium hangarau matihiko working group is running parallel to the work of the English medium group.
Digital Technologies will be part of The New Zealand Curriculum, beginning at Year 1 from 2018.
The Ministry of Education is providing for, and supporting changes to schools' infrastructure, practices, and pedagogy to improve our education system.
The range of initiatives for Digital Technologies in education will ensure:
Digital Technologies is learning about technology. It involves learning to be a creator in the digital world, not just learning to use systems.
The reorganised Technology learning area still has the three strands: technological practice, technological knowledge, and nature of technology. Below this are five technological areas:
These represent the contexts and settings in which students might learn about Technology. Each technological area describes unique learning – though the three strands will apply to all Technology learning, regardless of which area that learning is in.
The new content covers two key areas, computational thinking and designing and developing digital outcomes, and has been designed to be flexible, so it can respond to new developments and technologies as they emerge.
“Computational thinking is about understanding the computer science principles that underlie all digital technologies, and learning how to develop instructions, such as programming, to control these technologies.”
“Designing and developing digital outcomes is about understanding that digital systems and applications are created for humans by humans, and developing knowledge and skills in using different digital technologies to create digital content across a range of digital media. This part of the curriculum also includes learning about the electronic components and techniques used to design digital devices."
Computational thinking is about looking at a problem in a way that a computer can help us to solve it. It is not thinking about computers or like computers (CAS Barefoot ).
"Computational thinking enables a student to express problems, and formulate solutions in a way that means a computer (an information processing agent) can be used to solve them.
Students develop computational and algorithmic thinking skills, and an understanding of the computer science principles that underlie all digital technologies. They become aware of what is, and is not, possible with computing, so they are able to make judgements and informed decisions as citizens of the digital world. Students learn core programming concepts and how to take advantage of the capabilities of computers, so that they can become creators of digital technologies, not just users. They will develop an understanding of how computer data is stored, how all the information within a computer system is presented using digits, and the impact that different data representations have on the nature and use of this information."
The thinking undertaken before starting work on a computer is computational thinking.
Computational thinking is a two-step process:
For example, if you’re going to make a video animation, you need to:
Computational thinking is a problem solving process that includes a number of characteristics and dispositions. It is essential to the development of computer applications, but it can also be used to support problem solving across the curriculum.
Operational definition of computational thinking for K-12 education
Computational thinking is a problem-solving process that includes (but is not limited to) the following characteristics:
- formulating problems in a way that enables us to use a computer and other tools to help solve them
- logically organising and analysing data
- representing data through abstractions such as models and simulations
- automating solutions through algorithmic thinking (a series of ordered steps)
- identifying, analysing, and implementing possible solutions with the goal of achieving the most efficient and effective combination of steps and resources
- generalising and transferring this problem solving process to a wide variety of problems.
These skills are supported and enhanced by a number of dispositions or attitudes that are essential dimensions of CT. These dispositions or attitudes include:
- confidence in dealing with complexity
- persistence in working with difficult problems
- tolerance for ambiguity
- the ability to deal with open ended problems
- the ability to communicate and work with others to achieve a common goal or solution.
The first digital computers developed in the 1940s, and the latest smartwatches, are all based on this structure.
Understanding this structure means:
This video demonstrates an approach to integrating digital technologies across the curriculum. This is a demonstration of an activity from the Computer Science Unplugged collection of games and activities. It demonstrate Computer Science without using computers. For more information, see the activity called "Treasure Hunt – Finite-State Automata" at http://csunplugged.org .
Digital fluency is about using a digital system effectively. It means understanding how to use digital technologies, deciding when to use specific digital technologies to achieve a desired outcome, and being able to explain why the technologies selected will provide their desired outcome.
Digital technologies involves computational thinking – learning to be a creator in the digital world, not just learning to use systems. Digital Technologies is not about learning with technology (e-learning), it's learning about technology.
Both are important, but if we teach students only to use digital devices, they will be consumers limited to making do with whatever the makers of digital technologies produce, and as a country we will be buying in technology rather than creating it and selling it to others.
Tim Bell (University of Canterbury)
This site contains resources to support the proposed Digital Technologies strand in the Technology Curriculum. This site has been developed by the Digital Fluencies team of the Institute of Professional Learning at the University of Waikato and Independent Facilitators to provide supporting resources for schools.
For schools who are moving to implement the DT | HM curriculum, a range of resources, case studies, and innovative ideas are now being developed for you to access and use. These are profiled on Technology Online.
The Computer Science Field Guide (CSFG) is an online resource for teaching Computer Science to students. It is aimed directly at students. The project is open source and available on GitHub . If you are a teacher (or involved in education), you can join the CSFG teachers group to receive updates and access the teacher's version of the guide.
An English website, which supports primary educators with the confidence, knowledge, skills, and resources to teach computer science. It includes free lesson plans and activities, designed to help teachers gain confidence in bringing computer science to life in the classroom. Teachers from any country can register and access the resources.
A collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons, and lots of running around. Suitable for all ages. The material is available free of charge, and is shared under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licence .
ISTE's website provides and explanation of computational thinking and links to their Computational Thinking Toolkit.
A curated collection of lesson plans, videos, and other resources on computational thinking teachers with integrating computational thinking into their own classroom content, teaching practice, and learning.
This NZTech briefing paper (published August 2016) provides insights from the NZTech Advance Education Technology Summit, including key observations from the Leaders Forum discussions about achieving digital fluency.
A talk given by Tim Bell (University of Canterbury) as part of an international on-line conference in 2016. It includes demonstrations with students.
The aim of the association is to create a community of teachers to share resources, communicate, and speak with one voice to get Technology recognised and supported. They are now welcoming primary school teachers, and offer great support and sharing.
A group in the Virtual Learning Network (VLN) to explore the new Digital Technologies strand in the Technologies curriculum as it unfolds. Join the group to share your thoughts, ideas, experiences, and resources.
Website for the annual free professional development week for high school teachers, held at the University of Canterbury in 2016. The event is a collection of workshops focused on preparing New Zealand educators for teaching the computer science and programming achievement standards for NCEA.
Workshops are focused on preparing primary school teachers to integrate Computer Science into their classroom programmes.
A free online course for teachers to support understanding of computational thinking. It provides practical examples of how to integrate computational thinking into your classroom programme.
Join these groups to participate in discussions with other teachers/educators about the content here, or that is relevant for you.
e-Learning: Professional Learning
e-Learning: Beyond the classroom
Using the e-Learning Planning Frameworks
Connected Learning Advisory
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