The Digital Technology Guidelines (DTG) programme of ICT education in schools is moving into broader implementation this month. The project started in early 2008 with 13 pilot schools and has now expanded to 75 schools. The next phase will see that number increase to 120, says Ministry of Education acting e-learning manager Howard Baldwin. The DTG programme supports teachers with their professional development in delivering consistent and relevant material in ICT education. There were misgivings among teachers about the DTG content at the project's early stages. A controversy erupted at the same time (Computerworld June 9, 2008) when the NZ Computer Society released a report by two experts condemning the vagueness of content in existing ICT syllabuses.
The NZCS and some industry sources are now collaborating in the evolution of the ICT educational programme. The DTG project, facilitated by specialist consultancy Cognition Education, focuses on years 11 to 13. It currently includes a framework of skills to be absorbed in each of these years in several modules. The programming module includes teaching of basic constructs such as repetition, choice and looping, which critics suggested were lacking in earlier material. As well as helping teachers convey basic ICT knowledge and an awareness of ICT-related ethics and professionalism, the programme is intended to help create an awareness of ICT career options. Scott Wylie, director of the developer and platform group in Microsoft NZ, is an industry supporter in the DTG project.