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Apr 27, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

New Zealand's Ministry of Education recently partnered with New Zealand's professional IT organization, IT Professionals NZ, to offer New Zealand students an opportunity to compete in digital technology. 

They designed the Tahi Rua Toru Tech Challenge to help teachers introduce the new Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum content to kids--and get them excited about digital technology.

The challenge? To identify and solve real-world problems in their local community or school, with help from industry mentors and teachers. 

In an article in New Zealand's bizEdge, IT Professionals CEO Paul Matthews said, "The 123Tech challenge is for all students from Year 0 to 13, with kids working in small teams to solve real problems leading to a national championship.

"Intermediate and Secondary students (Year 7–13) identify real-world problems then plan and solve them using digital technologies, for example, they could create an app or an animated video, or a digital infrastructure project or lots of other options.

"The challenge is for Primary school students too, with a set of digital technologies-related activities that will earn a CREST certificate from the Royal Society Te Apārangi, the best teams can choose to go onto one of 10 regional championships, with a national championship celebration in November."

IT Professionals and the Ministry of Education created the new Digital Technologies content to link with the Hangarau Matihiko curriculum and hope to have all schools embracing both pieces by 2020.

They've also partnered with hundreds of mentors from Kiwi tech companies including Datacom, eStar, and Xero to help partner school work through the challenge.

Learn more about digital technology in New Zealand.

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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