Learning about digital technologies online
Courses for students at levels 1–5 of the developing digital technologies curriculum have been piloted by Code Avengers.
They are delivered through an interactive online junior platform: Code Avengers – JR Courses
Courses for the computational thinking strand cover:
- data representation.
Courses being developed for the designing and developing digital outcomes strand cover:
- human-computer interactions (HCI)
- digital systems
- digital media.
The courses follow a narrative format, which has been very successful in building engaging contexts. The level 1 course includes a story about two characters who, after learning about digital technologies, progress to saving their city in the later courses.
The stories provide opportunities to introduce diverse characters with a range of interests and backgrounds, who succeed in the ICT industry. Digital citizenship-related messages are meshed with the technical, digital technologies content.
The storylines, in which students help characters overcome problems, engaged many of the students in the pilot. The stories gave them reasons to learn, while at the same time suggesting possible uses and applications for what they were learning.
Difficult concepts were more easily understood and applied when ideas were portrayed with a small amount of text, supplemented with graphics and interactive tasks or applications that students could play around with to practise applying the concept.
These courses have a cross-curricula focus and are designed as interactive stories, with vocabulary levelled to support ESOL and low-literacy students. They include lesson plans and activities, along with audio and written notes. The supplementary resources for teachers include Course Guides and a curriculum roadmap.
The courses were designed and supported so that teachers need not be experts to run them successfully.
The courses were piloted at 6 schools, involving 500 students and 24 teachers.
The schools were:
- Aberdeen School
- Fraser High School
- Maeroa Intermediate School
- Pukerua Bay School
- Te Kōwhai School
- Vardon School.
Facilitators from Code Avengers, an organisation that includes a team of teachers who help support teachers and communities of learning, worked with the students and teachers during the trials.
Students worked in pairs on Chromebooks. Simple class login systems were created to assist students with emergent literacy levels.
Feedback from the teachers and students informed the development of the courses and modifications to them.
Note that the programmes and/or resources used within this project are not officially endorsed by the Ministry of Education.