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The digital technology components in the New Zealand Curriculum: Teachers’ journey of adoption

Over the last century, digital technology (DT) has revolutionized our world. A digital revolution has taken hold; reshaping industries and schools, and making information, games and tools more accessible. Digital technology now has a steadfast place in our society and is changing the way we work and live. Subsequently, governments around the world are realising the benefit of digital technology and the need to incorporate it into educational curricula. In 2020, new digital technology components (DTC) became a mandatory part of the New Zealand Curriculum technology subject area. DTC aim to create students who are not just passive users of technology, but instead students who are digital creators and understand how computers work. DTC aim to teach skills that could be considered essential in the twenty-first century, such as deeper understanding of technology, problem solving and the processes involved (TKI, n.d.b). This research investigated teachers’ adoption of DTC. Scrutinizing how DTC can be effectively integrated, the main affordances for implementation and what teachers’ capabilities enable them to do. Adopting DTC was challenging for schools, as the new components encompass skills that are currently beyond many teachers' understanding of digital technologies. Therefore, the implementation of DTC can be problematic, needing to be scrutinized and unpacked by teachers as they work out how, when and where it will best fit and be integrated into existing classroom practices. A qualitative approach to the research was adopted in this study as highly skilled teachers could struggle with DTC implementation. DTC recent establishment meant it introduced new concepts to teachers and schools and therefore a qualitative approach allowed participants to partake no matter what their current knowledge or experience of DTC. Participatory Action Research (PAR) was selected as the most appropriate research methodological approach. This approach enabled the teachers to have ownership and create lasting change, as teachers took on the role of coresearchers. The researcher also intended that participants would gain from the iii research, as they developed their knowledge of DTC during their personal journeys of adoption and implementation. The research found there were several problems in adopting DTC. Teachers articulated that professional learning development (PLD) and integration of DTC was unclear, misinterpreted and insufficient. Additionally, it was identified that teachers’ confidence played an important role in DTC implementation. However, through suitable professional development sessions and successful integration teachers could build confidence and subsequently overcome several of the negative affordances associated with DTC adoption. The agenda for completing this research lay within a belief that ICT is valuable to educational outcomes, that it should be utilised to benefit the next generation, enhancing their learning, abilities and subsequent employment opportunities. Assisting teachers in their adoption of this new curriculum and anticipating that schools and policy makers might take note of these findings is the main rationale for the research.
Type of thesis
Rhodes, K. (2020). The digital technology components in the New Zealand Curriculum: Teachers’ journey of adoption (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13676
The University of Waikato
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