Pīkau 20: Create your DT learning programme

Getting started: Pīkau 20, 21, 22 and 23

This is the first of four pīkau | toolkits in this New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) series. They are designed to be done in order.



When you have completed these 4 pīkau, you will have created a learning programme including the digital technologies curriculum content AND aligning with the mandatory Technology strands and the NZC.

  • Pīkau 20 will support you to connect the digital progress outcomes with the Technology strands (achievement objectives) in your learning programme.
  • Pīkau 21 will support you to develop your learning programme by incorporating authentic contexts.
  • Pīkau 22 will see your learning programme include a design process.
  • Pīkau 23 will guide you to evaluate your learning programme.

Why this matters

To enable your students to be successful in their futures in a rapidly changing digital world you need be able to bring the revisions to the NZC (New Zealand Curriculum) to life in your classroom.

This includes pointing out which parts of the progress outcome statements and which of the Technology strands - the achievement objectives, you have included in your learning programme.

This pīkau will show you examples of what this looks like to support you to do it yourself.

You might already know some of this

It's likely you'll have developed learning programmes ( these might also be called units, course outlines ) and experienced the learning areas in the NZC. You can draw on that existing knowledge to help you develop a digital technologies programme.

“Where digital technologies is integrated into other learning areas, it is important for leadership to ensure that this is being taught within the Technology learning area conceptual framework, rather than only teaching digital skills.”



There are five revised technological areas in the Technology learning area of the NZC:

  • Designing and developing materials outcomes
  • Designing and developing processed outcomes
  • Design and visual communication
  • Computational thinking for digital technologies
  • Designing and developing digital outcomes

Each technological area has its own knowledge base and skill set.

The strands, along with the wider NZC supports, provide the overarching structure for planning and progression of your learning programmes.

  • Technological Practice
  • Technological Knowledge
  • Nature of Technology

The technological areas are the contexts in which the strands are taught.

Digital Concepts in the Progress Outcomes

The Technology learning area is intervention by design where students experience and apply many 21st century, future focused capabilities: creativity and imagination, critical thinking & problem solving, collaboration, communication, citizenship, and character education.

In addition, each of the five technological areas in the Technology learning area has its own knowledge base and skill set. For the two focussed on digital technologies - Designing and Developing Digital Outcomes, and Computational Thinking for Digital Technologies, their progress outcomes contain a number of concepts that you and your learners will need to be familiar with.

These concepts are presented below, grouped into

  • Computational Thinking for Digital Technologies ideas, and
  • Designing and Developing Digital Outcomes concepts.
Downloadable supporting resource

This A3 document of commonly used terms can be used to support individual/team/department understandings to build the digital knowledge, as you create your learning programme:

What are the Technology Strands?

Catherine and Neville discuss in very basic terms:

  • what the three strands are in the Technology learning area
  • introduce how this pīkau intends to support you to make connections to the digital progress outcomes,
  • and what the strands and progress outcomes are trying to provide for the students.

This downloadable document is provided to support discussions in teams/departments/faculties to gain a deeper understanding of the strands and how they underpin the digital progress outcomes.

Catherine and Neville discussed how this pīkau hopes to support you to connect the digital progress outcomes to the Technology Strands. It also describes what each of the Technology strands are and what the benefits are for students.

For further information on how this could look in your local context, see the blue Leading Local Curriculum Guide on NZ Curriculum Online. 

Teacher videos: Incorporating the strands in DT

Incorporating the strands of the Technology learning area

Heidi James from Motueka High School describes the place of the Technology strands in her teaching of Digital Technology in this short and sharp video.

Why are the strands of the Technology learning area important?

Watch Ruth Davey from Lincoln High School explaining why the strands are important.

The strands set the foundation for the Technology learning area - of which digital technologies are a part. The strands can be seen in the progress outcomes and should be taught as they occur naturally in your learning programme.

The Nature of Technology strand and game development

Watch Steve Rodkiss share how game development gives an opportunity to consider the Nature of Technology strand.

Activity: Identify the Strands in the Progress Outcomes

The Progress Outcome statements contain specific words that signal links to the strands of the Technology learning area, and concepts specific to digital technologies. In this activity you will identify the words/phrases in the progress outcome statements that link to the Strands of Technology learning area: Technological Practice, Technological Knowledge, and The Nature of Technology.

Start by checking your knowledge of what each Strand is about.

Activity - Identifying the Strands


Write the name of the Strand from the Technology learning area next to the definition.

a) Understanding people's relationships with technology and the environment - knowing why, is the ____ strand.

b) Finding solutions to problems, meeting an authentic need - knowing how, is the ____ strand.

c) Knowing how and why things work the way they do - knowing what, is the ____ strand.


a) Nature of Technology strand

b) Technological Practice strand

c) Technological Knowledge strand

Next, have a look at the example below to see what words/phrases from Progress Outcome 1 for Computational Thinking for Digital Technologies and Designing and Developing Digital Outcomes link to the Technological Practice Strand.

Drag the green bar to highlight the terms that link to the Technological Practice Strand.


If you look carefully, the strands can be seen in the progress outcomes.

Use the table below to use as a reference when identifying the links to the Strands in the progress outcome(s) most relevant to you.


Word/term in Progress Outcomes Strand it Connects to
In authentic contexts and taking account of end-users Technological Practice and Nature of Technology strands
Design (means a design process) Technological Practice strand
Technological challenges (unknown outcomes) Technological Practice strand
Learners identify digital devices and their purposes (why they are here) Nature of Technology strand and Technological Knowledge strand
Learners understand that humans make them (digital devices) Nature of Technology strand
Learners can identify the inputs and outputs of a system Technological Knowledge strand
Learners use their decomposition skills to break down simple non-computerised tasks into precise, unambiguous, step-by-step instructions (algorithmic thinking). (creating the instructions) Computational thinking for digital technologies (CTDT) 
Learners can give these instructions, identify any errors, and correct them (problem solving/debugging the instructions) Technological Practice strand
Learners understand that digital devices store content (how they work/function) Technological Knowledge strand

In the next two pīkau we will unpack the statement that appears in the Progress Outcomes:

“In authentic contexts and taking into account of end-users…”

and illustrate how these words link the statement to the Nature of Technology and Technological Practice strands and signal that the strands are inter-woven in ideal learning experiences for the students.

Disclaimer: The strands are interwoven. They underpin the progress outcomes. Aspects of the progress outcomes can exist in more than one strand. Some knowledge is specific to a Technological area and won't necessarily fit exclusively into one of the strands.

Identifying Digital Concepts in the Progress Outcomes

This activity is best done with a partner or in a small group.

  1. Look at the breakdown of the Progress Outcomes
  2. CTDT breakdown
  3. DDDO breakdown
  4. Make sure you can identify the following concepts in the progress outcomes.
Computational thinking for digital technologies
  • Algorithms
  • Data representation
  • Programming
  • Human-computer Interaction (HCI)
Designing and developing digital outcomes
  • Design and develop
  • Applications and software
  • Systems and components
  • Managing files and data storage
  • People and society

You may be discovering that the progress outcomes contain statements that connect to digital concepts and the Technology Strands. This is a good thing! Keep considering what these statements could mean for your students.

Remember the Progress Outcomes are indicating learning performance outcomes, the end result of learning. This should be approached holistically, not as a checklist to learn from.

Now that you have looked at these digital concepts in Progress Outcome 3 for both CTDT and DDDO, you could have a look at the other Progress Outcomes and see if you can spot them there.

Activity: Begin to create your DT learning programme

In this activity, we will step through how to incorporate components of the Technology learning area and the progress outcomes into your programme of learning.

To start with here in Pīkau 20, you'll be filling in the first 3 columns with the Technological Areas, Digital Technology progress outcomes, and Technology strands, (achievement objectives)

In pīkau 21 you'll learn about authentic contexts, and complete the 4th column.

In pīkau 22 you'll learn about design processes in practice, and complete the 5th column.

For this activity, you can use your own Technology learning programme (if you already have one ), or you can use our blank template, supported by one of our practice examples.

This activity has 2 steps:

  1. Download the blank learning template and the revised Technology learning area document on NZ Curriculum Online. We suggest you read the revised learning area document, highlight keywords and become familiar with its intent and content.
  2. Complete the first 3 columns:
    • Identify and select the Technological areas most relevant to your learning programme (by reading what they are about in the revised learning area)
    • Identify and select the Progress Outcomes most relevant to your learning programme (refer to the revised learning area doc)
    • Identify and select from the three Strands in the Technology learning area most relevant to your learning programme (Nature of Technology, Technological Practice, and Technological Knowledge)
      Here is a clip to help you see how to complete the first three columns.

Here is the example used in the clip for you to download, to support you to see what this could look like, as you are working through this activity.

If you are an experienced Technology expert there are in-depth examples of learning programmes for you to adapt straight from the example, in the Additional Resources section at the end of this pīkau.

Wrapping up and where to next?

In this pīkau you have identified the connections between the strands of the Technology learning area, and the progress outcomes for the Computational Thinking for Digital Technologies and/or Designing and Developing Digital Outcomes technological areas in one of your learning programmes.

In the next two pīkau we will look at the the statements that appears in the progress outcomes

“In authentic contexts and taking account of end-users…”

and illustrate what these words mean for you when you are developing a programme of learning.

Information for experienced technology teachers

For more experienced Technology teachers and experts, we have developed an example learning programme for Levels 2 and 4. These in-depth and detailed plans have been created to demonstrate possible coverage of the New Zealand Curriculum and planning in the Technology learning area.

There is a blank template for you to use, or you can use the example closest to the year level you work with, to support you to adapt an existing learning programme that you are developing.

If you have completed the first 3 columns of the basic template (covered earlier in this pīkau), you can use that information to copy into this template. You can then begin to develop the design of the learning and how that learning could meet the NZC requirements in the POs and the AOs.

These in-depth examples contain additional columns for learning intentions, learning outcomes, and assessment strategies.

As you move through the next 3 pīkau, continue adding to your in-depth template step by step.

To support you to consider how your school is covering the requirements of the NZC in a wider sense, we have produced a resource to show what it could look like across years 1 to 10, and a blank for you to use with your teams.

These are the other two resources mentioned in the learning programme examples: