Monday, 11 July 2016

Digital Technologies Announcement and Industry

On Tuesday at the NZTech conference, an announcement in what we have been waiting over 7 months was made. Through the Curious Minds review of the positioning of Digital Technologies in the New Zealand curriculum, it was announced that Digital Technologies would be a part of the Technology Learning Area.

This has not played well for industry who have made numerous comments and press releases since the announcement calling for a rethink. The call has been made for Digital technologies to be a seperate learning area.

As a teacher I have thought about this for a long time, since starting teaching 14 years ago with the positioning of where the area was and have thought about it over the time. The move from computing unit standards in 2011 to achievement standards has helped develop the nature of the subject. The more important focus for me is the ideas and future of the industry.

Some things that have made an impact for me and I would like to see more of, education can only move so far and so fast...

Industry can support the development of the community, culture and development of the subject within the communities. Everyone is trying to be the next technological area outside of the states. I often read about the IT Business parks that are being created in cities and in towns. These are the future workplaces of our students.

I often hear about the academic requirements of a subject, yet, the constant call is for the soft skills, the communication, working in teams, thinking, collaboration. Many of the academic subjects work in isolation from each other. Where we want to grow the soft skills.

Developing a scholarship for ours students that is outside NZQA Scholarship would help. While there are the awards for outstanding scholarship and top scholar that provide an incentive, I would love to see the data on how many technology students get one or more scholarships?

Single Subject Awards
  • For Candidates who achieve Scholarship in one or two subjects in the same year.
  • A ‘one-off’ award of $500 per subject (maximum payment $1000).
It is the single subject scholarships that I would like to see industry help to develop. Looking at building a panel to award 20 scholarships a year, an opportunity to work in a company for the summer break. These will provide valuable experiences to our learners. We need different types of incentives. Yes, there should be through government, but I realise that this would take time.

How about the companies that complain and take out full size ads in the New Zealand media... while I agree that they want to see change, could be putting this towards developing opportunites and spreading the word. 

It is dangerous to develop a curriculum that is developed for one particular group. When I look at what exists already through companies are:

One great opportunity that existed was the Orion Health codeworx competition. This helped get technology out to schools and to develop ideas on how a raspberry pi could be used. This also helped get students into the company, what a opportunity. This competition was ended in 2015.
Brightsparks provides opportunities to develop projects that around the concepts of Science, Environment, Software and Engineering.
Microsoft have the Imagine cup which looks at students across all disciplines to team up and use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications, games and integrate solutions that can change the way we live, work and play.

The scholarship would need to consider aspects of what exists already and what is wanted from our future developers and industry leaders.

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