Strengthening Digital Technologies – The Project

In October 2016, it was announced that 9 organisations had been selected from over 70 applications nationally, to receive funding to develop seed projects to support the implementation of the new NZC Digital Technologies coming into schools for 2018.  The Technology Hub was one of the 9 organisations selected.

Our seed project for the Ministry of Education’s Strengthening Digital Technologies initiative is to develop a coherent and engaging Digital Technologies learning programme for Years 6-8 with the Raspberry Pi Computer, with a focus on subject progresssion from year 6 through to year 10. 

Project Overview

The project involves a cluster of schools from the Wairarapa region, with teachers participating in PLD in the new NZC Digital Technologies.  These teachers will be teaching specially developed units of work over two terms using the Raspberry Pi computer. This group of lead teachers form a DTAG – a Digital Technologies Action Group, and will disseminate their learning in this new space within their own schools.  

The focus for the teaching and learning programme will cover the following strands of the new NZC Digital Technologies:

  • Algorithms
  • Programing
  • Devices and Infrastructure
  • Humans and Computers

and will use the Raspberry Pi so kids can get under the hood and explore how a computer works and can be controlled through programing and simple electronics.

Each participating school has received at least one class set of 15 Raspberry Pi Computers and peripherals and supporting materials which are theirs to use and keep once the project is complete.

Why the Pi?

The Raspberry Pi affords the opportunity for children (and adults) to explore and investigate Computer Science whilst being creative at the same time. What makes the Pi unique is its ability to connect real world projects with programming, enabling children to use technology to make links between real world problems and solutions in creative, exciting and often collaborative ways.

The Technology Hub first started working with children and the Raspberry Pi in 2014 when we collaborated with Whangarei Central Library to set up an after-school Computer Club for children aged 8-14 years.  The Library purchased 20 sets of Raspberry Pis to afford equity so that all participants could have access to the new technology.

Whangarei Computer Club Day 1

We ran a series of holiday workshops – Raspberry Jams, action research that inspired me to propose this approach for the Strengthening Digital Technologies initiative. It has been a real privilege working with these children and their whanau and to witness the excitement and confidence the children develop simply through being able to programme a computer.  It’s quite remarkable! Ginette Van Praag, Director, Technology Hub

All teaching and learning materials developed through this project will be made freely available to teachers throughout New Zealand from our sister site: digitaltechnologies.net.nz under creative commons licence.