Technology in the New Zealand Curriculum
In 1995 a new technology curriculum was introduced in New
Zealand. It strives "to develop technological literacy
through three integrated learning strands to enable students
to participate fully in the technological society and
economy in which they will live and work. This curriculum
seeks to enable and empower students with the know-how they
will need to make informed choices about technology and to
be the technological innovators of the future" (Technology
in the New Zealand Curriculum, 1995, p. 5). This new
curriculum becomes mandatory in 1999.
The aim of technology education in New Zealand is to
enable students to achieve technological literacy through
the development of:
Top of page
- Strand A - Technological Knowledge and Understanding
- understanding the use and operation of
- understanding technological principles and
- understanding the nature of technological
- understanding strategies for the communication,
promotion, and evaluation of technological ideas and
- Strand B - Technological Capability
- identifying needs and opportunities;
- with reference to identified needs and
- generating, selecting, developing, and adapting
- managing time, and human and physical
resources, to produce technological outcomes -
products, systems, and environments;
- presenting and promoting ideas, strategies, and
- evaluating designs, strategies, and outcomes.
- Strand C - Technology and Society
- understanding the ways the beliefs, values, and
ethics of individuals and groups:
- promote or constrain technological development;
- influence attitudes towards technological
- understanding the impact of technology on society
and the environment:
- in the past, present, and possible future;
- in local, national, and international settings
(Technology in the New Zealand Curriculum, 1995,p.
The following areas are to be covered in the new
- Electronics and Control technology
- Food technology
- Information and Communication technology
- Materials technology
- Production and Process technology
- Structures and Mechanisms
Schools may wish to use various contexts as an organising
principal for some or all of their programmes:
Top of page
- personal - clothing, personal health...
- home - food preparation, furnishings...
- school - drama productions, school canteen...
- recreational - sports, playground planning...
- community - waste management, town planning,
- environmental - water management, tourist
- energy - solar power, fossil fuels...
- business - desktop publishing, marketing,
- industrial - workplace safety, production line
Implementation of the Technology Learning Area
In implementing the technology learning area, schools
have four possible options:
Top of page
- providing a time-tabled subject called technology,
which is taught by teachers with particular knowledge and
skills in technology;
- developing a school approach which integrates units
of study, or modules, of technology education in a
systematic, coordinated way across the curriculum, again
involving teachers from a range of disciplines;
- a combination of these two options;
- suspending the timetable for a fixed period to focus
on technological activities across a year group or the
whole school (Technology in the New Zealand Curriculum,
Information Technology and Education Projects in New
In recent years in New Zealand schools, a number of
initiatives have occurred to trial, evaluate, and implement
particular technologies in order to assist with meeting
learning objectives in a variety of curricula.
Following are descriptions of ten of these technology
initiatives (Harris, 1997):
The Schools Network
The Schools Network is a nationwide computer network
which began in 1991 to allow teachers and students to
communicate with each other, to obtain information, to
participate in educational activities provided on the
network, and to access the Internet. This computer link is
facilitated by the Ministry of Education.
- The first evaluation of the Schools Network indicated
that teachers appreciated a computer network that was
managed "by educators for educators." This evaluation
also found that teachers went through three phases during
the process of learning about the network and integrating
it into their teaching.
- Phase one: exploring the network - finding out
what was offered and trying the keystrokes that make
the network function.
- Phase two: the discovery time - achieving
confidence in using the features of the network and an
understanding of how it can be integrated into
classroom activities for learning purposes.
- Phase three: promoting of the Schools Network to
other potential users, either teachers or students -
the user sees the benefits of the network and wants to
share them, realising that a more widely-used network
has more variety in participation and more vitality of
- The second evaluation concluded that the highest use
of the Schools network was for communication. 81% of
responding teachers used the network for communicating
with others on the Schools Network or the Internet by
using email or the split-screen live chat facility. The
closed nature of this system allows student use of the
Internet in a safe and suitable context.
The Computer Curriculum Corporation's "Success Maker"
maths and language computer-assisted learning packages were
trialed and evaluated by several New Zealand schools.
Top of page
- An evaluation concluded that Success Maker did
accelerate learning in some areas (especially maths), did
well in reinforcing basic concepts of the subject, and
prompted attitude improvement.
- However this was a qualified recommendation as 15% of
the teachers using Success Maker said that the programme
had a limited or very limited role. This was particularly
so when a teacher felt the content did not match the
The Canterbury Area Schools' Association Distance
Education Project, known as CASATech, is a regional
audiographics network.The project was designed especially to
help senior students in rural areas in specialised subjects
such as Physics, where a small number of students in the
subject, or no specialist teacher on staff, might limit the
availability of the course. Using this audiographic
technology, the same competent teacher could teach virtual
classes in 2, 3, or 4 schools.
- An evaluation concluded that students needed to be
independent learners to make the best use of this system
because the once a week contact lesson was the only time
the students in schools remote to the broadcast teacher
could ask questions. This required the students to learn
how to work from the written course material and, if a
question arose, wait until the scheduled contact time,
yet keep working on the subject.
- Teachers needed to adapt their teaching approaches
and improve their technology skills. Communication skills
were also very important because the loss of the chance
to see students meant a greater reliance on hearing them.
Questioning skills were described as being vastly
Learning with Information Technology
A two-year Learning Enhancement with Information
Technology project at one secondary school examined the
impact of the introduction of information technology on
students' and teachers' attitudes towards computing and
student learning. This project provided computers at a ratio
of 1 computer to 3 students for all students studying 6th
and 7th form accounting and economics and 7th form
mathematics with statistics. The "Learning by Bytes:
Computers in the Classroom" report was an evaluation of the
Top of page
- Teachers experienced a change in the dynamics of
learning; a less formal classroom atmosphere developed
with teachers becoming facilitators and students taking
on a more co-operative and peer tutoring approach, in
what became a more student-centred learning environment.
- Teachers in this project found it difficult to obtain
educationally orientated training in the use of computers
in a market that generally has a business emphasis for IT
- Teachers initial concerns about an extra workload
associated with this style of teaching abated as they
gained confidence with IT use, developed a more positive
attitude towards computers, and utilised the computer for
other applications in their classrooms.
- Students' perceptions moved initially from thinking
of computers as the focus of the class to the computers
becoming tools that were part of general classroom
practice. Use of IT within students' course work became
- better work presentation,
- improved information handling,
- self-teaching skills growth,
- more problem solving skills,
- a variety of learning styles being addressed, and
- a variety of presentation modes available.
Technology Development Schools
Over a three-year period, beginning in 1993, the
Technology Development Schools project was established in 4
secondary schools to fund an accelerated introduction of
technology for the purposes of enhancing students access to
information, developing skills in the technology area, and
providing teacher professional development programmes.
Each school was granted $400,000 for project
implementation. Three of the schools developed their
libraries into information centres while the fourth school
used laptop computers that were movable amongst classrooms
for student use.
The programme achieved:
- development of programmes that promoted curriculum
experiences and skills in many technology areas such as
biotechnology, materials technology, graphics and design
technology, and information and communications technology
- an increase in the opportunities for students to
access information and use technology across the
- an increase in technology and science programmes.
When implementing this project, the schools experienced
some common issues:
- A tendency to underestimate the time and money
required to install the equipment;
- Often emphasising the visible items, such as
computers and printers, and neglecting budget for
maintenance and replacement of equipment or installation
- Staff development becoming a critical and ongoing
process, essential for assisting student progress.
- The need for technical expertise and the value of
having the consistency of one company installing the
technology throughout the process.
- A need in each school for a technician to maintain
the equipment in working order with reliable service
becoming more important as the computers were used more
often and integrated deeper into the learning
Interactive Television Project
The Correspondence School's Interactive Television
Project brings introductory Maori, Spanish, Japanese, and
Technology via live TV broadcasts, telephone and fax
communication, and supporting print materials to students
who may have been limited in their previous access to these
subjects. These courses are for year 7 and 8 students and
are also intended as professional development opportunities
to help the teachers learn the topic.
During 1996 "live to air" weekly broadcasts were trialed
for delivering beginning level language learning. The weekly
broadcasts by experienced teachers were supported by print
material containing teachers' lesson plans and student
exercises. In the language courses, audio tapes and
vocabulary lists were included, and in the technology
course, construction exercises and instructions on how to
participate in research were included.
Specific improvements were needed to enhance the value of
interaction in future ITV courses:
Top of page
- Ensuring the interaction has clear goals and that a
culture promoting interactivity is present.
- Providing a variety of means for participants to
interact, increasing the choice and opportunity for
- Allowing for different circumstances of those
studying the course with regards to class timetables and
the pace at which different students are learning the
Correspondence School CD-ROMs
The Correspondence School's CD-ROMs deliver Japanese
language learning suitable for students learning at their
own pace in geographically isolated areas. These CD-ROMs
provide information through 20 half hour interactive,
multi-media lessons. They are intended to introduce students
to the language and culture of Japan. Included with the
CD-ROMs are teacher guidelines, suggestions for use of the
CD-ROM by teachers, examples of suggested student
activities, and links to the Japanese curriculum in New
The programme provides learning opportunities for
individual learners or small groups, allowing individuals to
follow their preferred way of learning, allowing for "catch
up" when needed, and giving the learner pacing control.
AIM HI Strategic Planning
In 1996 through the AIM HI Strategic Planning project,
the Ministry of Education invited Learning Enhancements
Associates (LEA) to assist 8 secondary schools to plan and
cost the purchasing and installing of information technology
to boost student achievement and reverse the trend of
The initial workshop for participants focussed on the
"Information Technology in your School - A Planning
Template" developed by the Ministry of Education and the
Government Information Technology Advisory Group.
Top of page
- Stage one involved auditing a school's current
equipment, skills, and IT knowledge and developing the
policy that would guide the implementation.
- Stage two involved the establishment of time lines,
budgets and implementation plans for curriculum
development, teacher development, and equipment
The Telecom Education Foundation
In 1993 Telecom New Zealand established the Telecom
Education Foundation (TEF), a corporate trust, to support a
"vision to ensure that children are information literate and
prepared for life and work in the tele-age" (Harris, 1997,
p. 19). Since TEF was established, it has contributed more
than NZ$35 million"'to helping schools come to grips with
information and communications technology" (Harris, 1997, p.
The assistance provided to schools has included:
- Supporting teachers through Information Technology
Workshops which give teachers hands-on experience with
- Organising classroom activities using communication
technology. (In 1996 15,000 students from 1,100 schools
took part in "Sea Keepers for Schools". The students used
E-mail, fax, and audio conferencing to contact experts
around the world with an interest in maintaining the
world's water resources.)
- Creating the Telecom Technology Science Road show, an
annual interactive exhibit travelling to over 60 venues
in New Zealand to provide fun, practical interactive
exhibits and demonstrations.
- Providing the Telecom School Connection Programme, a
fund raising programme designed to help schools purchase
information technology and other equipment by donating
the equivalent of 5% of a sponsors' national and
international toll calls.
- Installing Learning Lines, a separate telephone line
installed free into the school with no line rental
- Creating curriculum-based resources including
telephone based packages emphasising phone use, safety,
and economic aspects of telecommunications.
The Tele-Learning Network
The Tele-Learning Network is a user-pay structure that
allows the sharing of interactive, multimedia learning
programmes amongst New Zealand and overseas schools.
The network has three key components:
Top of page
- A network of Tele-Learning Centres with audio,
graphic, video, and teleconferencing equipment placed
throughout the country in schools, tertiary institutions,
- A telecommunications network allowing connection of
all media in each centre.
- A Network Administration Centre that provides a
centralised reservation service, a register of courses,
and manages the financial settlements among participants.
Lessons Learned from the New Zealand IT Projects
Considering the variety of information technology
projects implemented, the following recommendations have
been made (Harris, 1997):
- Expanded educational opportunities do result from
well planned and implemented IT projects.
- Any information and communication technology project
that is contemplated for educational purposes must be
carefully planned in terms of cost, time, installation
and operation expertise needed, and how it complements
the teaching programme in the classroom.
- Expectations must be very clear to avoid raising
hopes too high, resulting in misunderstandings and
disappointment regarding the actual results. Clear,
achievable objectives are needed.
- Implementation of any new technology into a school is
very likely to face difficulties involving installation
schedules, hidden costs such as changes to rooms involved
in the project, the required time for teachers and
students to be able to use the technology for learning
purposes, and the possibility of ongoing technical
problems that a school may have little control over,
including heavy traffic loads or weather interference in
- When computers and computer networks are involved, a
series of phases occur: first, exploring what is
available; then, discovering how to bring it into the
classroom; and finally, promoting it to others.
- New technologies may involve a new ways of bringing
information or communicating into the classroom. Teacher
professional development is essential to enable the
technology to be used in the most trouble-free way
- Support for any new technology is essential in order
to keep it functioning well. Breakdowns are frustrating,
waste time, and disrupt learning; a reliable system is
essential before IT can be fully integrated into
learning. This may require additional resources for the
necessary maintenance and expertise.
Top of page