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INTERVIEW WITH A GURU: Computational thinking in the primary classroom with Ginette Van Praag

By now, you’ll be aware of the two new Digital Technologies areas of the Technology curriculum.


Computational thinking for digital technologies

Computational thinking enables a student to express problems, and formulate solutions in a way that means a computer (an information processing agent) can be used to solve them.

Designing and developing digital outcomes

Students understand that digital applications and systems are created for humans by humans

For more details, see NZ Curriculum Guides, Curriculum Structure | New Digital Technology progressions.

We’re very privileged to bring you an interview with Ginette Van Praag, who talks a little bit more about what Computational thinking and Designing and developing digital outcomes look like in practice.

Background: Ginette has extensive experience in both primary and secondary schools and has been teaching Computer science overseas and here since 2011. Ginette continues to work with students both face to face and online and is an accredited facilitator, able to support schools on this journey.

Ginette has co-authored a book Level 2 Digital Technologies Learning Workbook and published Learning digital technologies in years 6–9 with Raspberry Pi for the Strengthening Digital Technologies | Hangarau Matihiko Project


Key takeaways from this interview:


  • Computer science related activities can and do engage learners with different learning needs
  • Computer science has helped to create a window of accessibility for students otherwise disengaged in the curriculum, and resulted in higher engagement and retention over longer periods of time.
  • Design process is a critical element to embedding Computer science - either unplugged or using digital technologies.
  • There are some simple activities to teach algorithms, testing, debugging, coding, inputs, outputs, programming, understanding and using data; that primary teachers can easily integrate into their curriculum design.

Looking for ideas to start implementing Digital Technologies for your year level? Please feel free to add any comments or questions for Ginette in this discussion thread below. smiley We'd love to hear from you.



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e-Learning: Technologies

e-Learning: Technologies

Where we explore how different technologies can support learning.