Tech sector supports NZ schools digital comp

Tahi Rua Toru Tech Challenge is being led by IT Professionals NZ in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Royal Society Te Apārangi, Code Club Aotearoa, the Digital Technology Teachers Aotearoa and others

A national technology competition for all school students has been launched today to support the introduction of the Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum over the next two years.

Tahi Rua Toru Tech Challenge is being led by IT Professionals NZ in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Royal Society Te Apārangi, Code Club Aotearoa, the Digital Technology Teachers Aotearoa and others.

Ministry of Education Deputy Secretary Student Achievement Ellen MacGregor-Reid says: “the emphasis of Tahi Rua Toru Tech is on creating solutions for real-world problems – it is not about learning how to use a device or an application.”

“Ensuring all New Zealand children and young people leave school with a basic understanding of digital technologies is essential in preparing them for the 21st century workforce. Tahi Rua Toru Tech sets out to provide a positive experience about this important subject before the 2020 milestone. Students do not need to have any prior digital technologies experience or knowledge to participate,” says MacGregor-Reid.

Easy as Tahi, Rua, Toru: Michelle Dickinson (aka Nanogirl) features alongside students (from left): Mitchell Cullen, Sophia Fale and Wilhelmina Heeringa in the video introducing the tech Challenge at 123tech.nz
Easy as Tahi, Rua, Toru: Michelle Dickinson (aka Nanogirl) features alongside students (from left): Mitchell Cullen, Sophia Fale and Wilhelmina Heeringa in the video introducing the tech Challenge at 123tech.nz


IT Professionals CEO Paul Matthews says the Challenge has been designed to support Year 0 to 13, with the focus being on students working in small teams to achieve results.

Intermediate and Secondary students (Year 7–13) will be required to “identify real-world problems then plan and solve them using digital technologies. For example, they could create an app or an animated video, or a digital infrastructure project or lots of other options,” he says.

“Primary school students will be given a set of digital technologies-related activities that will earn a CREST certificate from the Royal Society Te Apārangi. The best teams can choose to go onto one of 10 regional championships, with a national championship celebration in November. The competition will run in terms two and three.”

A contributing factor to the success of the Championship – and the adoption of the new digital technologies curriculum – will be participation from members of the tech sector willing to support both teachers and students who are new to the digital technology.

“From an industry perspective we have hundreds of mentors from great Kiwi tech companies such as Datacom, eStar and Xero who are keen to help out and partner with schools to help teams work through the Challenge,” says Matthews.

“ITP is the largest tech body in New Zealand with thousands of members, and we’re also working with a range of partners such as CITRENZ and Code Club Aotearoa to ensure we can get the industry mentors needed to support teachers during the Challenge and help schools with the wider curriculum changes.”

Mr Matthews says funding for the championship – which will take place in 2018 and 2019 – is a 50/50 partnership between the Ministry of Education and the tech industry. It’s a part of a broader $38 million package to support teachers and help integrate the Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum in schools.

Read more: Government guide aims to get more girls into tech

Sarah Putt has worked with IT Professionals on the launch of 123Tech.

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