by CIO New Zealand

Ministry of Education and IT industry launch tech competition for schools

Apr 06, 2018
Big DataCareersDigital Transformation

The Ministry of Education is partnering with the IT industry to launch a digital technology championship for Kiwi students.

The Tahi Rua Toru Tech Challenge is part of a programme to help teachers introduce the new Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum content into classrooms and get kids excited about digital tech.

“The 123Tech Challenge is for all students from Year 0 to 13, with kids working in small teams to solve real problems, leading to a national championship,” says Paul Matthews, chief executive of IT Professionals NZ.

IT Professionals NZ (the professional body of the IT industry), Royal Royal Society Te Ap?rangi, Code Club Aotearoa and the Digital Technology Teachers Aotearoa are among the organisations working with the Education Ministry on the project.

“Intermediate and Secondary students (Year 7–13) 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,” says Matthews, in a statement.

He says the challenge is also for primary school students, with a set of digital

technologies-related activities that will earn a CREST certificate from the Royal Society Te Ap?rangi.

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.

“Schools can use the challenge as a way of dipping their toes into the new Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum content, with all schools teaching to the new content by 2020. Later this year they’ll also be able to choose to participate fully in either English or Te Reo M?ori,” says Matthews.

Matthews says the challenge is an extension of the TechHub CREST Challenge that IT Professionals NZ and the Royal Society Te Ap?rangi has been running for three years for students in Year 9 and 10.

“It has been truly amazing what problems and solutions the students have come up with. For example, last year one group created an app to help people supporting Alzheimer’s sufferers. Another created a way to digitally organise the tuck shop queue, so that they wouldn’t have to wait in line.”

“The app they created enabled their parents or caregivers to pay for their child’s lunch order directly through the app. This meant they didn’t have to go to the ATM and withdraw the minimum $20, which is a substantial amount for families on low incomes.”

Matthews says the championship is funded by the Ministry of Education and the ICT industry.

Paul Matthews, CEO of IITP