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Technology

We've revised the Technology learning area to strengthen the positioning of Digital Technologies in The New Zealand Curriculum. The goal of this change is to ensure that all learners have the opportunity to become digitally capable individuals. This change signals the need for greater focus on our students building their skills so they can be innovative creators of digital solutions, moving beyond solely being users and consumers of digital technologies. 

Schools will be expected to fully integrate the revised learning area into their curriculum by the start of the 2020 school year.

PDF icon. Technology in the New Zealand Curriculum 2017 (PDF, 354 KB)

Technology learning area title.

What is technology about?

Kaua e rangiruatia te hāpai o te hoe;
e kore tō tātou waka e ū ki uta.

Technology is intervention by design. It uses intellectual and practical resources to create technological outcomes, which expand human possibilities by addressing needs and realising opportunities.

Design is characterised by innovation and adaptation and is at the heart of technological practice. It is informed by critical and creative thinking and specific design processes. Effective and ethical design respects the unique relationship that New Zealanders have with their physical environment and embraces the significance of Māori culture and world views in its practice and innovation.

Technology makes enterprising use of knowledge, skills and practices for exploration and communication, some specific to areas within technology and some from other disciplines. These include digitally-aided design, programming, software development, various forms of technological modelling, and visual literacy – the ability to make sense of images and the ability to make images that make sense.

Learning area structure

The technology learning area has three strands: Technological Practice, Technological Knowledge, and Nature of Technology. These three strands are embedded within each of five technological areas:

  • computational thinking for digital technologies
  • designing and developing digital outcomes
  • designing and developing materials outcomes
  • designing and developing processed outcomes
  • design and visual communication.

The following diagram illustrates the structure of the learning area.

As the diagram shows, the three strands provide the organising structure for achievement objectives used in three of the technological areas (Designing and developing materials outcomes, Designing and developing processed outcomes, Design and visual communication), and they underpin progress outcomes for the other two areas (Computational thinking for digital technologies, Designing and developing digital outcomes).

Strands

Although the three strands are described separately below, in reality they are almost always integrated in teaching and learning programmes.

In Technological Practice, students examine the practice of others and undertake their own. They develop a range of outcomes, including concepts, plans, briefs, technological models, and fully realised products or systems. Students investigate issues and existing outcomes and use the understandings gained, together with design principles and approaches, to inform their own practice. They also learn to consider ethics, legal requirements, protocols, codes of practice, and the needs of and potential impacts on stakeholders and the environment.

Students develop Technological Knowledge particular to technological enterprises and environments and in relation to how and why things work. They learn how functional modelling is used to evaluate design ideas and how prototyping is used to evaluate the fitness for purpose of systems and products as they are developed. An understanding of material properties, uses and development is essential to understanding how and why products work the way they do. Similarly, an understanding of the constituent parts of systems and how these work together is essential to understanding how and why systems operate in the way they do.

For the Nature of Technology, students develop an understanding of technology as a discipline and of how it differs from other disciplines. They learn to critique the impact of technology on societies and the environment and to explore how developments and outcomes are valued by different peoples in different times. As they do so, they come to appreciate the socially embedded nature of technology and become increasingly able to engage with current and historical issues and to explore future scenarios.

Technological areas

The technological areas provide contexts for learning. At primary school, teachers will generally take a cross-curricular approach, with students learning in the technological areas as part of a topic or theme that encompasses several curriculum learning areas. This approach can also be applied in years 9 and 10, before students begin to specialise in particular technological areas.

Digital technologies

The first two of the five technological areas focus on developing students’ capability to create digital technologies for specific purposes. In years 1–8, these two areas are usually implemented within other curriculum learning areas, integrating technology outcomes with the learning area outcomes. These two areas also significantly contribute to students developing the knowledge and skills they need as digital citizens and as users of digital technologies across the curriculum. They also provide opportunities to further develop their key competencies.

By the end of year 10, students’ digital technological knowledge and skills enable them to follow a predetermined process to design, develop, store, test and evaluate digital content to address a given issue. Throughout this process, students take into account immediate social and end-user considerations. They can independently decompose a computational problem into an algorithm that they use to create a program incorporating inputs, outputs, sequence, selection and iteration. They understand the role of systems in managing digital devices, security and application software, and they are able to apply file management conventions using a range of storage devices.

By the end of year 13, students who have specialised in digital technologies will design and develop fit-for-purpose digital outcomes, drawing on their knowledge of a range of digital applications and systems and taking into account a synthesis of social, ethical and end-user considerations. They understand how areas of computer science such as network communication protocols and artificial intelligence are underpinned by algorithms, data representation and programming, and they analyse how these are synthesised in real world applications. They use accepted software engineering methodologies to design, develop, document and test complex computer programs.

Computational thinking for digital technologies

Computational thinking enables students to express problems and formulate solutions in ways that means a computer (an information processing agent) can be used to solve them.

In this area, students develop algorithmic thinking skills and an understanding of the computer science principles that underpin all digital technologies. They become aware of what is and isn’t possible with computing, allowing them to make judgments and informed decisions as citizens of the digital world.

Students learn core programming concepts and how to take advantage of the capabilities of computers, so that they can become creators of digital technologies, not just users. They develop an understanding of how computer data is stored, how all the information within a computer system is presented using digits, and the impact that different data representations have on the nature and use of this information.

Designing and developing digital outcomes

In this area, students understand that digital applications and systems are created for humans by humans. They develop increasingly sophisticated understandings and skills for designing and producing quality, fit-for-purpose, digital outcomes. They develop their understanding of the technologies people need in order to locate, analyse, evaluate and present digital information efficiently, effectively and ethically.

Students become more expert in manipulating and combining data, using information management tools to create an outcome. They become aware of the unique intellectual property issues that arise in digital systems, particularly with approaches to copyright and patents. They also develop understandings of how to build, install, and maintain computers, networks and systems so that they are secure and efficient.

Students develop knowledge and skills in using different technologies to create digital content for the web, interactive digital platforms and print. They construct digital media outcomes that integrate media types and incorporate original content. They also learn how electronic components and techniques are used to design digital devices and integrated to assemble and test an electronic environment.

Designing and developing materials outcomes

In this area, students develop knowledge and skills that enable them to form, transform and work with resistant materials, textiles and fashion. This allows them to create both conceptual and prototypic technological outcomes that solve problems and satisfy needs and opportunities. They develop knowledge about the systems, structures, machines and techniques used in manufacturing products, and they use manufacturing and quality assurance processes to produce prototypes and batches of a product.

Students’ thinking becomes more and more reflective, critical and creative as they assess and critique materials outcomes in terms of quality of design, fitness for purpose, and impact and influence on society and the environment. Students become increasingly skilled in applying their knowledge of design principles to create innovative outcomes that realise opportunities and solve real-world problems.

Designing and developing processed outcomes

In this area, students develop knowledge of the materials and ingredients used to formulate food, chemical and biotechnological products. They form, transform and manipulate materials or ingredients to develop conceptual, prototypic and final technological outcomes that will meet the needs of an increasingly complex society.

Students engage in a range of processes related to food technology, biotechnology, chemical technology and agricultural technologies. They explore the impact of different economic and cultural concepts on the development of processed products, including their application in product preservation, packaging and storage. They also develop understandings of the systems, processes and techniques used in manufacturing products and gain experience from using these, along with related quality assurance procedures, to produce prototypes or multiple copies of a product.

Students demonstrate increasingly critical, reflective and creative thinking as they evaluate and critique technological outcomes in terms of the quality of their design, their fitness for purpose and their wider impacts. They become more and more skilled in applying their knowledge of design principles to create desired, feasible outcomes that resolve real-world issues.

Design and visual communication

In this area, students learn to apply design thinking. They develop an awareness of design by using visual communication to conceptualise and develop design ideas in response to a brief. In doing so, they develop visual literacy: the ability to make sense of images and the ability to make images that make sense. They apply their visual literacy through using sketching, digital modes and other modelling techniques to effectively communicate and present design ideas.

Students learn that designers identify the qualities and potential of design ideas in terms of the broad principles of design (aesthetics and function) and of sustainability. They also understand that designers are influenced by human, societal, environmental, historical and technological factors.

Learning pathways

Over the course of years 1–10, students learn in all five technological areas, developing their knowledge and skills in context. By offering a variety of contexts, teachers help their students to recognise links between technological areas. Students should be encouraged to access relevant knowledge and skills from other learning areas and to build on their developing key competencies.

Work towards progress outcomes in computational thinking for digital technologies and designing and developing digital outcomes should build each year in order to ensure learners achieve all of the significant learning steps.

In years 11–13, students work with fewer contexts in greater depth. This requires them to continue to draw fully on learning from other disciplines. For example, students working with materials and/or food technology will need to refer to chemistry, and students working on an architectural project will find that an understanding of art history is invaluable. Some schools may offer courses such as electronics and horticultural science as technology specialisations.

Learning for senior students opens up pathways that can lead to technology-related careers. Students may access workplace learning opportunities available in a range of industries or move on to further specialised tertiary study.

Updated on: 12 Mar 2018

Digital technologies

Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko learning
Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko is about teaching students the theory of how technology works, and how they can use that knowledge to solve problems.

Digital technologies in the curriculum
In The New Zealand Curriculum, digital technologies will be recognised as a part of the Technology learning area from the beginning of 2018. In Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, it will be recognised as a whenu (strand) within the Hangarau Wāhanga Ako. Learning in digital technologies will link to learning across all Learning Areas and Wāhanga Ako.

Enabling eLearning has a support section to help educators get prepared.

Supporting TKI communities

Technology Online

A site dedicated to all those with an interest in technology education in New Zealand, with examples of contemporary teaching and learning and curriculum support materials.

Technology in the NZC explains the knowledge and practices underpinning the learning area's three strands and eight components, and stresses the importance of technological literacy.

NZ Senior Secondary Curriculum Guides – Technology
Helping teachers create quality teaching and learning programmes.


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