A new National Digital Championship aimed at exciting students to use digital technologies to come up with innovate ways to solve community, social or environmental challenges is among the initiatives included in a $40 million investment package to support the new digital technologies curriculum.
Education Minister Nikki Kaye today announced an investment package of around $40 million over three years to enhance the digital fluency of young New Zealanders, alongside the launch of consultation into the new draft Digital Technologies curriculum.
Kaye has described the investment as "the biggest change to our curriculum in 10 years".
“This investment will help integrate new digital technologies content, released this morning for consultation, into the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, our Māori-medium Curriculum,” says Ms Kaye.
The package consists of three parts: initiatives aimed at helping to upskill our teachers, supporting a seamless shift of our education system to a digital environment, and providing more opportunities for young people to learn about digital technologies.
“It’s important that teachers have the necessary knowledge and capability to teach the new curriculum content, so we’ll be investing $24 million of new money towards additional professional learning and development for teachers,” says Ms Kaye.
A further $3 million will support teachers and school leaders to work with up to 250 professional networks
“I will work with the sector to determine how best to involve digital experts, such as educators, academics and industry professionals, in these networks, as well as the scope of their role and the appointment process," says Kaye.
Initiatives to support shift to a digital system include providing an industry provider partner for schools to supplement online learning, providing resources to support delivery of the new curriculum, and continuing to support NZQA's trial of online exams.
Initiatives to provide more digital learning opportunities include scholarships, a 'Digital Technology for All Equity Fund' to ensure young people from disadvantaged backgrounds don't miss out, and the aforementioned National Digital Championship.
“This $40 million investment will ensure our education system is aligned with the rapid technological developments now taking place, and enable our young people to participate fully in an ever-changing economy and society.”
Primary teachers' union NZEI Te Riu Roa was pleased with today's announcement.
“This is a big shift in curriculum focus and the Minister is keen to get it right and work through it with the sector, which we’re really pleased about,” says president Lynda Stuart.
Stuart said it was also positive to see that digital fluency would receive a greater emphasis in initial teacher training, to ensure new teachers were ready to deliver the new curriculum content.
“However, we still need to go through the details of how it will work. For example, will ITE take longer in order to include this additional training, or will emphasis on other areas of the curriculum be reduced? It would certainly be troubling to see initial teacher training further reduce focus on subjects like the arts.”