16 Dec 2016
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We made it: The biggest Educator stories that shaped 2016

By Ashton Young

As far as years go, 2016 was without question a turbulent one for those in the education industry. If we could sum it up in one word, it would be ‘disruption’.

We’ve seen widespread upheaval and change as the debate surrounding education technology and whether it is a help or a hindrance came to a crescendo.

A Polycom survey determined that our government needed to step their game up as they weren’t pulling their weight when it came to innovation in the education sector.

And did they listen? Well, Minister of Education, Hekia Parata announced a complete digital shake up for the NZ school curriculum, the first change since its introduction in 2007 - this came just before Parata resigned in October.

The government announced a new Request for Proposal initiative that allowed Kiwi schools and technology providers to bid for $1 million in creative project funding.

In an effort to resolve the fact that women make up only 23 percent of NZ’s IT industry, the government also released a new tool designed to get young girls and women into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

The November earthquakes caused quite a stir, including the postponing of the NZQA New Zealand Scholarship examinations across the country and all NCEA examinations at schools affected by the quakes.

We attended the Bett Asia conference in Kuala Lumpur to gain insights into the future of education, where Microsoft assured that tech wouldn’t be replacing human teachers anytime soon.

Speaking of Microsoft, while making a trip down to New Zealand, CEO Satya Nadella called in to Freeman’s Bay School to see how they were utilising The Computer Science Unplugged Project, a NZ-designed programme (which received a grant from Microsoft NZ) for developing computational thinking skills.

In response to growing concerns around cyberbullying and safety, Netsafe launched an innovative cyberbullying, online abuse and online harassment service.

One of the largest tech implementations into NZ schools reached completion, with N4L rolling out fast, uncapped and Crown-funded Internet for schools across the country.

It has certainly been a year of great change with vast improvements to the education sector in NZ - and it’s not going to be slowing any time soon according to YesCourse’s 2017 trends and predictions.

With Christmas fast-approaching (have you finished your shopping yet?), the team at Techday are calling it a day. We’ll be back in the new year to continue our coverage of the constantly evolving, always interesting NZ education technology sector. In the meantime, we hope you all have a merry Christmas and we’ll see you back here again soon.

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