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17-year-old believes students aren't getting enough exposure to technology

July 18,2016 09:17

Seventeen-year-old Lucy Chen, a year 13 student at Chilton Saint James School in Lower Hutt, had organised local industry leaders to speak at her school to promote technology-based engineering, after seeing the opportunities available at a national ...



MAARTEN HOLL/ FAIRFAX NZ

Lucy Chen watching a 3D printer at work. The 17-year-old says more needs to be done to expose students to the opportunities available.

A Lower Hutt high school student believes a lack of exposure to digital technology at school means girls aren't as keen to enter the sector as they could be – and experts agree with her.Seventeen-year-old Lucy Chen, a year 13 student at Chilton Saint James School in Lower Hutt, had organised local industry leaders to speak at her school to promote technology-based engineering, after seeing the opportunities available at a national science forum at the end of last year."It was eye-opening to me," she said. "All I thought engineering was before then was building bridges ... it is actually creative, and involves problem-solving and innovation."She believed many young women were put off the technology sector because they had the same idea.READ MORE: * No plan to prepare NZ school kids for the digital age - Anna Curzon* Digital technology coming to the NZ Curriculum* Schools need to think like tech companies* Teaching tech to the teachers* Electronic devices in school - useful tool or expensive distraction?Two events would be held on July 30, one at the school during the day for years 7, 8, and 9, and one later at the Little Theatre in Lower Hutt for year 11,12 and 13 students from across the region. Earlier this month, the Ministry of Education announced digital technology would become part of the school curriculum, as a strand of the technology learning area.While the move was welcomed by the tech sector, there was concern that it was not enough to prepare kids for the rapidly changing and expanding world of technology.NZRise co-chair Victoria MacLennan said digital technology was as important as reading, writing, and spelling.Secondary-school aged girls had told her some teachers and vocational guidance counsellors at schools didn't know about it, so didn't tell them about the opportunities available.

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When it came to technology in the primary and secondary education system, New Zealand was behind the rest of the world, she said.Not only did digital technology need to be taught as its own strand, but it needed to be embedded across all areas of learning.NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller said the Government had made a great first step, but it was definitely not enough. "It's brilliant we got to this point, I can't stress that enough."Muller also wanted to see digital technology as its own strand, and said there needed to be investment in bringing teachers up to speed. The Ministry of Education's acting head of early learning and student achievement, Karl Le Quesne, said New Zealand's curriculum was world-leading because it was highly flexible, and allowed schools to deliver learning in a way that suited their students.Many schools had already introduced elements of engineering, robotics and coding.Where they weren't, the aim was for every year 10 child to have a core understanding of digital technology, while high school students would have opportunities to study digital technologies to an advanced level.

 - Stuff

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