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The Effects Of Technological Change On The Taught Curriculum Since The 1980's

2081 words - 9 pages

In order to evaluate the effects of technological change on the taught curriculum since the 1980’s we have to unpack some important developments. This essay will focus on the developments of the taught curriculum particularly how it is enacted by teachers, and concurrently the technological changes that have brought about those developments. To do this well, we will need to cover quite a bit of ground concerning the motivations, purposes and effects of curriculum development as a response to technological change. In the grand scope of this essay it will be fairly straight forward to map out the motivations and purposes that have directly influenced the trajectory of curriculum development in New Zealand as these are explicitly set out in the curriculum document. The challenge of this essay will be in the evaluation of the effects of technology on the taught curriculum. The lines of personal opinion and academic discourse could be blurred at this point, but hopefully this awareness means that this won’t be an issue. The ultimate thrust of this essay is to explore the ways in which, whether we are aware of it or not, technology shapes our teaching and instead have our teaching shape technology. Before we can make any claims on the effect of technology on the taught curriculum we have to first look at curriculum development.

Curriculum development in the 1980’s has been referred to as “a decade of documents” by McGee (2001, p. 98). This is a significant decade in the overall scope of curriculum development in New Zealand and the Ministry of Education was driving the change. In the 1980’s there were two reviews and a national curriculum statement. These reviews resulted from the governments set up of a review group. The group was made up by a wide range of stakeholders, including teachers (McGee, 2001). In 1984, there was a review about the core curriculum, essentially asking the question, “Which subjects are most important?” The curriculum review of 1986 took the 1984 review one step further with a public consultation around six questions (McGee, 2001, p. 99). The curriculum review of 1986 is significant because it points to a growing awareness of the government and the public about the issues that were present in education at the time. Some of the issues highlighted in the public consultation of around 20,000 submissions were, whether or not the content of the curriculum was relevant and useful for all people and the recognition that there were inherent inequalities in the education systems that affected students adversely in some cases. In 1988 the government developed a national curriculum statement that “set out a draft curriculum framework” (McGee, 2001). The draft curriculum framework was an attempt to put meat on the 1986 review; however McGee (2001) laments that despite this decade of documents none of the reviews were in fact implemented.

In many ways curriculum development in the 1990’s was a continuation of the 1980’s with more...

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