The New Zealand Curriculum's vision for young people is to be 'confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners.'
In considering your school's approach to the development of digital literacy skills, it's important to use the vision, key competencies, values and principles of the New Zealand Curriculum as your starting point. Consider how these shape the curriculum and pedagogies used at your school, and how the digital literacy can be supported alongside what is already being done.
As a school librarian, with understanding across subject areas, year levels, information literacy skills and knowledge of quality resources, you can take a central role in planning and implementing a digital literacy programme at your school.
Key competencies and digital literacy
As 'capabilities for living and lifelong learning' the key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum are:
- using language, symbols, and texts
- managing self
- relating to others
- participating and contributing.
The development of each and all of these key competencies has a relationship to the development of digital literacy because:
- Digital literacy is about the ability to find, evaluate, use and create digital content in meaningful ways that require critical and creative thinking skills.
- The ability to understand and use language and symbols across a range of texts is vital in the information-rich digital environment.
- As students learn and interact in digital contexts it's important that they have the abilities to manage themselves.
- Students need digital literacy and citizenship skills and values to relate to others effectively and safely, and to develop as citizens within the digital environment.
- Local, national or global communities are all easily accessible to students. Knowing how to appropriately and productively work with digital tools is a core part of digital literacy.
Values and digital literacy
Values of the New Zealand Curriculum are 'to be encouraged, modelled, and explored'. They are evident in the thinking, actions and relationships that occur within schools. Key values are:
- innovation, inquiry and curiosity
- community and participation
- ecological sustainability
The active teaching of digital literacy and citizenship across a school's curriculum assists these values to be visible in students' learning, behaviours and interactions. In particular:
- Digital literacy enhances students abilities to be curious and conduct inquiry in digital environments. Innovation in using and creating digital content in meaningful ways is also strengthened.
- The internet enables limitless access to information about diverse peoples, cultures, and heritages. Digital literacy and citizenship underpin the ability to explore, make sense of, and be sensitive to this.
- Equity of access to digital devices and the internet is now imperative for many learning opportunities. Schools, and in particular school libraries, can be essential agents in ensuring all students have this.
- The internet enables students to connect with local, national, and global communities. Digital literacy skills can empower students to participate in considered and meaningful ways.
- Integrity is about 'being honest, responsible, and accountable and acting ethically'. Integrity and respect for 'themselves, others, and human rights' are foundations of digital citizenship.
Principles and digital literacy
The New Zealand Curriculum defines the following principles as 'foundations of curriculum decision making':
- high expectations
- Treaty of Waitangi
- cultural diversity
- learning to learn
- community engagement
- future focus.
The inter-relationship between digital literacy and these principles is most evident through:
- learning to learn in an increasingly digital environment
- having a future-focused curriculum that emphasises digital competencies
- inclusion of individuals and their learning needs through the effective use of digital tools
- understanding of cultural diversity and the Treaty of Waitangi enabled by using quality digital resources — such as Topic Explorer, EPIC and AnyQuestions which are available through the National Library
- community engagement facilitated through the effective and meaningful use of digital tools.
Digital resources and guides — information about Topic Explorer and EPIC.
AnyQuestions — free online reference service for all New Zealand school students via live text-based chat.
Te Marautanga o Aotearoa aspirations
Te Marautanga o Aotearoa aspires for all graduates of Maori-medium schools to achieve:
- high levels of educational and socio-cultural success
- a wide range of life skills
- a wide range of career choices
Development of digital literacy skills and expertise can assist ākonga to reach their potential and set up lifelong learning pathways in the information age. It will also assist them to broaden their career opportunities in increasingly digitised workplaces.
Te Marautanga o Aotearoa principles and values
In preparing ākonga to actively participate in the Maori and wider worlds, understanding of the information, technical, cognitive and social aspects of digital literacy are vital.
The overarching principles of Te Marautanga o Aotearoa state that the learner:
- is the centre of teaching and learning
- has a high level of personal awareness
- achieves their potential.
- school, whānau, hapū, iwi and community will work together
- environmental health is personal health.
The following values and attitudes complement the knowledge and skills of Te Marautanga o Aotearoa:
- individual learners develop values and attitudes
- knowing traditional Maori values
- understanding the values of the wider world
Digital literacy supporting principles and values
As ākonga interact with digital content and develop their own individual values and interact with others in global contexts, digital literacy skills can assist them to do so with understanding and awareness.
Te Marautanga o Aotearoa promotes personal achievement through educational achievement. The selection of knowledge and skills relevant to ākonga should consider:
- the world of the ākonga
- the old world, the contemporary world, the new world
- the global world
A wide range of digital resources and guides available through the National Library website can assist kura to shape teaching and learning that assists in effectively developing the digital literacy skills of ākonga.
Digital resources and guides — information about Topic Explorer and EPIC.
AnyQuestions — free online reference service for all New Zealand school students via live text based chat.
Evaluative aspects of digital literacy important
As many ākonga are already 'global citizens' through their use and interaction with digital technologies and content, learning needs to recognise their position in the information age. The critical, evaluative aspects of digital literacy are very important for ākonga to make meaning of the volume of information available to them.
Ministry of Education initiatives and aspirations
The report Future-focused learning in connected communities recommends 10 strategic priorities for 21st century skills and digital competencies. They are:
- commit to meeting the needs of 21st century learners
- achieve equitable access to digital devices for every learner
- invest in people and innovation
- create future-focused learning environments
- invest in high-quality digital content and systems to make content easily accessible
- build regional capability through collaboration
- build a robust evidence base
- implement a coordinated, system-wide effort to align curriculum, digital technologies, property, infrastructure, funding and legislation
- design a coherent, flexible and robust funding structure to support 21st century learning
- implement a comprehensive five-year plan from 2014
Empowering digital teaching and learning
These strategic priorities have guided the Ministry of Education to make the most of the digital environment to empower teaching and learning by implementing a range of initiatives including:
- state-of–the–art information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure to ensure learning can occur anytime, anywhere
- 21st century teaching and learning through digitally literate teachers and students and innovative practices
- easy and safe access to quality digital content, resources, and tools
- equitable access to digital technologies to enable every student to learn "regardless of location, learning needs, or family background'.
In looking ahead to the future, the Ministry of Education has also produced a draft vision as Lifelong learners in a connected world that provides a snapshot of education in New Zealand in 2025 as 'a highly connected, interdependent education system' that:
- equips students for the future
- fosters students' identity, language and culture
- prepares students to participate as successful citizens in the 21st century.
This future focus means there is a need for schools, and school libraries, to provide students with access digital technology and the development of digital literacy skills so that they can use them to greatest effect to support their learning and development as citizens.
Future-focused Learning in Connected Communities — a report by the 21st Century Learning Reference Group.
Lifelong learners in a connected world — an illustrative vision of New Zealand education in 2025.
Find out more
Towards Digital Fluency - An overview of initiatives to maximise the impact of digital technologies in education.