The digital upgrade long promised to schools appears to be on the horizon with the announcement of a $40 million investment in transforming teaching and learning for “digital fluency”.
Some 44,000 teachers in New Zealand schools will soon have access to professional development in order to deliver digital technology skills to students.
“This investment will support the biggest change to our curriculum in ten years,” says education minister Nikky Kaye. “It will help integrate new digital technologies content into the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, our Māori-medium Curriculum.
“It includes a number of initiatives aimed at helping to upskill our teachers, support a seamless shift of our education system to a digital environment, and provide more opportunities for young people to learn about digital technologies.
“Digital technologies are revolutionising how we live and work and influencing every facet of our lives,” says Ms Kaye.
“To participate successfully in society and get the jobs and careers they want, our children will need to be confident users and creators of digital technologies.
“Digital fluency is now an essential life skill for our young people, so we must ensure they have the skills and knowledge they need to engage in an increasingly digital world.”
Professional learning and development (PLD)
The MoE says $24 million has been earmarked for additional PLD for teachers to “ensure all children, every year have teachers with the right skills, knowledge and confidence to teach the new curriculum content. Over 40,000 teachers will have access to the support they need over the next two years.
This includes $15 million for a new national programme to introduce teachers to the new curriculum and provide them with teaching strategies to support their delivery of the new content.
“We will also invest $3 million to support teachers and school leaders to work with up to 250 professional networks. These will assist schools and Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako to be at the forefront of new technologies, and support them to deliver the new curriculum,” says Ms Kaye.
“Teachers will lead the delivery of the new curriculum, but we want to do everything we can to support them to understand new technologies and translate this understanding into effective learning in the classroom.
“The Education Council, the independent body that promotes excellence and shares best practice in the education sector, will work with Initial Teacher Education providers to ensure teachers in training are ready to deliver the new curriculum content when they begin teaching.”
Supporting the shift to a digital system
A further $7 million has been promised to support the move to online exams and more teaching and learning in a digital format. This includes:
around $800,000 for a provider to partner with schools to provide specialised online learning to supplement teaching and learning in the classroom
around $3.5 million to provide engaging, interactive resources, such as video and audio streaming content and apps, to support delivery of the new curriculum
around $2.9 million for the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to continue to support the trialling of online exams with a selection of schools and kura, in preparation for making NCEA exams available online, where appropriate, by 2020.
More digital learning opportunities
Ms Kaye also announced a $6 million investment in a “Digital Technology for All Equity Fund”, “to support external providers to deliver high-quality, in-school and out-of-school learning opportunities for up to 12,500 students each year, with a focus on ensuring access for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds”.
“For the digital championship, we will look at models adopted by other countries, including Israel,” says Ms Kaye.
“The use of digital technologies is now an integral part of most workplaces, and New Zealand companies are exporting more high-tech products and services.
“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.”