Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Is IT education in NZ screwed up

I have been intrigued with the articles that have been in the sunday papers for the past ten weeks. The editor seems to have students and writers writing about Digital Technologies in New Zealand. While I have enjoyed them, I am also becoming annoyed at the constant hit of NZ IT education must change.

It has changed, it changed big time in 2011 when Digital Technologies started at NCEA Level, it introduced Digital Information, Digital Media, Programming and Computer Science, Digital Electronics, and Digital Infrastructure. In 2012 NCEA Level 2, and now this year introduced NCEA Level 3, however looking at last weeks article I start wondering when schools will in fact use the new standards and material as well as start offering the new strands. Looking back teachers have been mostly teaching Information Management, the use of Microsoft Software and productivity tools. Now with the new Digital Technologies we can offer a range of new media and technologies.  Here is the link for the indicators of progression for digital technologies in New Zealand

Last weeks writeup is from Westlake Boys High School, where their head boys talks about the fact that IT is dull and is not preparing students. When looking at the schools curriculum guide I start to wonder. They are still doing Unit Standards at Level 2 and 3 though they have included some information standards at level 2 and 3. though no programming. This is what the student is after. The other fact that I have found out is that the school is a Cambridge school. The course on offer is A Level Cambridge 9713. Which through investigation is mainly an Information Strand course.

The school is running an applied course, not an academic one which the head boy alludes to.

So why are we being told through the article that New Zealand Education is wrong. Cambridge is run by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES). Although this organisation is based in the United Kingdom, its courses are designed for the international community. Thus syllabi are designed for the needs of the countries entering the awards.

So the school runs both NCEA and the Cambridge assessments.

I hope that the editor will soon find a school that is using the new standards and created a course that is meeting the students needs.

Right onto the next part
Students grasp on to the more traditional, more highly regarded "academic subjects", as they perceive these to be better recognised by tertiary institutions.
 Information and communications technology (ICT) has been trampled by English, maths and the sciences as a subject that yields no value in progressing to the next stage of education.
Yes they do, that is because up unto two year ago there was no merit and excellence levels within the standards. The courses were Unit Standard based, or they were coupled together with Technology Achievement Standards that had no value in IT. This will change over time as students move through from juniors to seniors and the school change there programmes to assist this to happen

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