New emphasis on digital learning will help drive innovation

Published: 08 July 2016
Filed under: Economic development, General news, Innovation

Auckland’s economic growth agency – Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) – welcomes the Government’s announcement that all New Zealand schools and kura need to incorporate digital technologies in their Y1-10 curriculum by the start of 2018. 

Education Minister Hekia Parata announced the move at this week’s NZTech Advance Education Technology Summit in Auckland.

ATEED Chief Executive Brett O’Riley, who has chaired the Government’s 21st Century Learning Reference Group, says: “Recognising the importance of our mokopuna being fully comfortable with digital technology from an early age is key to this country’s economic future.”

Brett O’Riley is also a founding trustee of the Manaiakalani Education Trust, which has supported 12 low-decile Auckland primary and secondary schools in East Auckland to develop their innovative digital learning methodology that is accelerating achievement across their students.

The success of the programme has seen it expand to school clusters in Papakura, Mt Roskill, Kaikohe (Northland), Hornby (Christchurch) and the West Coast (South Island).

“This unique programme has delivered significant measured improvements in educational achievement, and that means a more skilled, more capable future workforce to drive our innovation-based economy. The results point to the transformation we can achieve through our children becoming adept with technology,” says Brett O’Riley.

The programme has multi-sector funding sources, including parents, Next Foundation, Spark Foundation, Foundation North, Google and the Ministry of Education. The learning environment is based on the Google Education platform and enhanced by local companies Hapara and Fusion Networks.

The Government’s announcement follows the release late last month of NZTech’s Digital Nation New Zealand report which reinforced Auckland’s importance to the country’s tech sector.

“To continue to fuel our region’s advanced industries including ICT, we need highly skilled, highly technically savvy youth who will one day work at Auckland’s rapidly emerging innovation hubs, including the GridAKL precinct at Wynyard Quarter,” Brett O’Riley continues.

Auckland Council’s Economic Development Strategy 2012-2022 recognised innovation as the key driver of economic growth, supporting high-value jobs and fast-growing companies, and the curriculum change will be instrumental in Auckland’s drive to become an innovation hub of the Asia-Pacific.

Brett O’Riley says the Government’s move is also a further boost for Auckland’s plans to become a world leader in digital learning.

“We are working with some hugely innovative Auckland companies which are developing world-class software, learning and network solutions, and have attracted interest from multi-national companies including Google, Apple and Microsoft.”

“A curriculum focus on digital learning can only fuel more and more ideas and innovative thinking in the technology space. It’s an exciting move for our future,” says Brett O’Riley.


For further information please contact

Lester Thorley
Senior Communications Advisor
P +64 9 365 0630
M +64 21 829 741