Digital technology meets the New Zealand curriculumAugust 25th, 2016
Girls at workshop learning about The Technology Behind Digital Music – by DigitalMuse.org, a Zen Digital Europe initiative Some rights reserved
This month the Government announced that digital technology will be formally integrated into the New Zealand curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa in 2018.
This announcement means a commitment to the development of curriculum content and achievement objectives detailing the competencies, skills, and knowledge required to create opportunities for learning within a digital environment and working across the IT sector. It’s interesting to note this announcement comes at a time when we are seeing the ubiquity of technology across society and our communities. Devices, content, software, and apps impact every part of our lives from the purely social to the more formal academic and professional realms.
What does all this mean for students in schools and where do school libraries fit within the multiple disciplines of digital technology? Libraries have a special role to play in contributing to the way students inhabit digital spaces, discover and use digital content, and experience the wonders of new and innovative technology.
We’ve seen schools and school libraries move from dipping a toe in the water of BYOD to become fully integrated BYOD hubs. Hand in hand with this multitude of devices and being online is the ability to operate effectively, safely and with an understanding of the challenges and pitfalls involved. The way students inhabit digital spaces is best supported by a strong, school wide digital citizenship programme. Libraries are well placed to contribute to and deliver specific aspects of such a programme particularly in the areas of critical thinking, intellectual property and copyright. There is also an opportunity here for libraries to model and reinforce the skills and behaviour that contribute to effective digital citizenship.
Discovering digital content continues to be a challenge for students and a significant focus for libraries. Taking into account the sheer volume of online information available to students, libraries are a key player when it comes to promoting access to and use of, authentic, valid, quality content. Content curation is one of the options available to libraries as a way to add value to content supporting specific curriculum needs and learning styles. Integrated access is something libraries are constantly addressing through their virtual presence allowing students 24/7 availability.
Creating something new
In addition to discovering content, students are often involved in using content to create something new and interesting. School libraries are hotspots of creativity and play an integral role in sparking curiosity by providing spaces, resources, and guidance. This may take the form of a makerspace to foster innovation particularly in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths) disciplines. Likewise remixing can lead to all sorts of new and wonderful creations while at the same time building students’ skills in the legitimate reuse of digital content. The possibilities are limitless with the advent of coding clubs, digital music, and graphics design.
Showcasing the wonders and effective use of new and innovative technologies is something that libraries can do for all learners. As an inclusive learning space the school library can be the ‘go to’ place for all students helping them to build their confidence and competence in using tools, content, and technology. Equity of access is vital to provide students with an equal opportunity to reach their potential within the digital society we live in.
Are you ready?
With the upcoming implementation of digital technology into the curriculum now is a good time for school libraries to examine what services, spaces, and ideas they can contribute and develop to support students. This is also an ideal opportunity for library teams to step up and be part of the conversation in their schools about digital technology.
Further reading and viewing
Image: Girls in ICT Day 2013, by ITU pictures on Flickr