"Program or be programmed"
- Douglas Rushkoff
Modern 'digital' technologies continue to transform all aspects of our students lives, and their world is changing at a much faster rate than that experienced by their teachers growing up. Preparing students for this change, to take control of change rather than just be subject to it, is a daunting challenge, but understanding digital technologies is now fundamental in the education of all Australian students.
Leading the world, for the first time in Australia computing will be studied in depth at all levels of schooling. Digital Technologies takes the next step beyond previous ICT studies where students learnt how to use digital technologies, to where students will learn to create using digital technologies, understanding not just how to use technologies, but why they work, can be improved, and new technologies developed.
This text unpacks the Australian Curriculum: Technologies learning area subject of Digital Technologies. Together with Design and Technology, these two subjects guide student understanding and skill development in their exploration of technology during their schooling, and provide a curriculum foundation upon which more detailed exploration of Computational Thinking, and the activities teachers can do with their students at each year grouping,
Dr Jason Zagami
Digital Technologies examines the Australian Curriculum learning area of Technologies, and the subject Digital Technologies within this learning area. Curriculum documents are written for teachers in a specific genre that can take some time to understand. Just as with other genres in the legal, medical or scientific professions, curriculum documents are written specifically for educators and assume familiarity with the genres style and structure. These popup summaries highlight some important aspects of the curriculum document but are only a summary and many aspects will only be understood when delving into the curriculum in detail.
Many teachers find it much easier to read curriculum documents in reverse, starting with the detailed expectations and elaboration of what students should be able to demonstrate at various years levels to make more concrete the abstract rationale, aims and structure descriptions. It is important though that teachers have an understanding and feel for where these specific activities and capabilities fit within the overall developmental curriculum from Foundation to Year 10 in order to set the expectations for Year Band activities at the right level, incorporating what students should already be able to do, and preparing students for what they will be expected to be able to do in subsequent years.
Summary to be read in conjunction with Digital Technologies (below) or the PDF version.
The rationale explains why all Australian students from Foundation to Year 10 are taught about technology and the influence this learning will have on their lives.
Key points include:
The aims set out what teachers are to ensure students develop.
Key points include:
The Technologies learning area is organised into two subjects of Design and Technology, and Digital Technologies; and within these there are strands of: Knowledge and Understanding, and Process and Production Skills; with the curriculum detailed in year level bands of F-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10 with a spiral curriculum of concept and skill development. Both subjects will develop in students 1. an understanding that we can see the world as complex systems that we can influence through our understanding of these systems to create the future that we prefer, and 2. such influence often involves complex projects that require management to be successful. Achievement standards describe what students should be able to demonstrate at the end of each band and will eventually include samples of annotated student work to assist teachers in making these judgements. Teachers will also need to consider student diversity, general capability development, cross-curriculum priorities, and how the technologies link to other learning areas when planning and teaching about technologies.
Key points include:
The Digital Technologies (DT) subject rationale explains why all Australian students from Foundation to Year 10 are taught about Digital Technologies and the influence this learning will have on their lives.
Key points include:
The aims set out what teachers are to guide students in developing.
Key points include:
The Digital Technologies (DT) subject is organised into two strands: 1. knowledge and understanding (KU) of information systems: how data is stored and used; the software, hardware and networks involved; and the social impact of digital systems; and 2. the processes and production (PP) involved in creating digital solutions to problems and opportunities: creating information by collecting, managing and interpreting data; using a range of digital systems to solve problems; and safely creating and communicating online information.
Key points include:
From Foundation to Year 2 students explore different types of data and develop computational thinking skills through play, exploring patterns and repetitions.
Specific examples and approaches are presented in Digital Technologies: Foundation to Year 2.
By the end of Year 2, students should be experimenting with patterns in data, programming sequences of steps; becoming familiar with simple information systems; creating information; and safely sharing in restricted online environments.
Key points include:
From Year 3 to Year 4 students will continue to develop their computational thinking skills by automating simple programing and data processing tasks.
Specific examples and approaches are presented in Digital Technologies: Year 3 to Year 4.
By the end of Year 4, students should be able to explore abstractions by interpreting models of real world systems to describe how they work; understand the characteristics of different data; and be able to program with user input and branching (IF) commands.
Key points include:
From Year 5 to Year 6 students should continue to develop their computational thinking skills, using digital systems to analyse data and automate increasing complex tasks.
Specific examples and approaches are presented in Digital Technologies: Year 5 to Year 6.
By the end of Year 6 students should be moving from visual programming interfaces to text-based instructions, confidently detecting and correcting errors in algorithms and using repeating structures (loops) in their programming.
Key points include:
From Year 7 to Year 8 students will continue to develop their computational thinking skills, preferring automated solutions, structuring data in ways to help computation, and understanding why current computer systems require unambiguous instructions.
Specific examples and approaches are presented in Digital Technologies: Year 7 to Year 8.
By the end of Year 8 students should have a technical and considered understanding networks, be able to extract data from a database using the SQL query language using SELECT commands, define simple database relationships, describe computational instructions through diagrams (e.g. flowcharts) and in words (Pseudocode). Programming should now include involve modularisation (subprograms), with students becoming confident at decomposing apparently different programs and system to recognise their similarities and reusability for other solutions; and use HTML and manual CSS for creating websites.
Key points include:
From Year 9 to Year 10 students will begin to specialise their studies with increasingly sophisticated computational skills to automate complex tasks, analyse and manipulate data for computation, and understanding why digital technologies fail when instructions do not match their intentions.
Specific examples and approaches are presented in Digital Technologies: Year 9 to Year 10.
By the end of Year 10 students should have an understanding of data compression and encoding, operating systems, and data visualisation; use data arrays, interpret schema, and query across multiple tables; be able to confidently decompose problems and systems into multi-level abstractions of often standard elements such as searching and sorting algorithms; have a broad understanding of the importance of quality data and be removing bias from their data collection processes; be confidently using pseudocode and diagrams to identify logic errors, and error checking and test cases to validate their algorithms; and using object oriented programming languages and scripting environments and effective debugging techniques.
Key points include:
Technologies enrich and impact on the lives of people and societies globally. Australia needs enterprising individuals who can make discerning decisions about the development and use of technologies. It needs people who can independently and collaboratively develop innovative solutions to complex problems and contribute to sustainable patterns of living. Technologies, in their development and use, are influenced by – and can play an important role in transforming, restoring and sustaining – our societies and our natural, managed, constructed and digital environments.
The Technologies learning area draws together the distinct but related subjects of Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies. The Australian Curriculum: Technologies will ensure that all students benefit from learning about and working with traditional, contemporary and emerging technologies that shape the world in which we live. The ubiquity of digital technologies provides new ways of thinking, collaborating and communicating for people of all ages and abilities. A comprehensive education in Technologies provides opportunities for students to progress from creative and directed play through to the consolidation of knowledge, understanding and skills. This learning area provides opportunities for students to apply practical skills and processes when using technologies and resources to create innovative solutions that meet current and future needs.
All young Australians should develop capacity for action and a critical appreciation of the processes through which technologies are developed and how technologies can contribute to societies. They need opportunities to shape and challenge attitudes to the use and impact of technologies. They will do this by evaluating how their own solutions and those of others affect users, equity, sustainability, ethics, and personal and social values. In creating solutions, as well as responding to the designed world, they will contribute to sustainable patterns of living for themselves and others.
The Australian Curriculum: Technologies aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to ensure that, individually and collaboratively, students:
The Australian Curriculum: Technologies Foundation to Year 10 is written on the assumption that all students from Foundation to Year 8 will study two subjects: Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies.
At Years 9 to 10, the Australian Curriculum: Technologies is written on the assumption that school authorities will decide whether students can choose to continue in one or both subjects and/or if technologies specialisations that do not duplicate these subjects will be offered.
The curriculum for each of Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies describes the distinct knowledge, understanding and skills of the subject and, where appropriate, highlights their similarities and complementary learning. This approach allows students to develop a comprehensive understanding of the nature of traditional, contemporary and emerging technologies. It also provides the flexibility – especially in the primary years of schooling – for developing integrated teaching programs that focus on both Technologies subjects and other learning areas.
Knowledge, understanding and skills in each subject is presented through two related strands:
Within each strand, key concepts and processes as outlined in Table 1.2.1 provide the focus for presentation of expected knowledge, understanding and skills across F–10.
It is intended that when implementing the curriculum, teachers will select technologies-specific content from the Knowledge and understanding strand and ask students to apply the skills in the Processes and production skills strand to that content.
The common strand structure provides an opportunity to highlight similarities across the two subjects that will facilitate integrated approaches to teaching. While the content descriptions are different for each subject there are clear relationships between the two strands in each subject. For example, ‘the use, development and impact of technologies/information systems in people’s lives’.
The Technologies curriculum focuses on systems thinking to develop the technologies knowledge, understanding and skills to provide a method for identifying and moving towards ethical, socially responsible and sustainable patterns of living. Systems thinking is a holistic approach where parts of a system are analysed individually to see the whole, the interactions and interrelationships between the parts and how these parts or components influence the system as a whole.
In both Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies this provides opportunities for students to engage in predicting outcomes and impacts of technological decisions for current and future generations and their environments. Students creatively and actively design solutions to meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Both subjects acknowledge the strong connection with the Australian Curriculum: Sustainability cross-curriculum priority.
The Technologies curriculum ensures that students are explicitly taught how to manage projects. This includes planning; evaluating processes; considering constraints; risk assessment and management; decision-making strategies; quality control; developing resource, finance, work and time plans; and collaborating and communicating with others at different stages of the process. Every technologies project involves the use of resources and it is critical that there is planning for sustainable use of resources when managing projects.
Technologies projects involve ethical, health and safety considerations. They are designed for the different needs (including consideration of personal and social beliefs and values) of consumers and clients, and for commercial realities. Students learn that when they and others engage in design thinking and technologies processes, they are responsible and accountable for their designs and solutions.
Project management is an essential element in building students’ capacity to successfully innovate in both Technologies subjects. Project work and project management occur as a part of everyday life and are critical to many fields of technologies employment. Technologies education allows students to develop skills to manage projects from identification of need or opportunity through conception to realisation. Project management is addressed in all years of schooling as individuals and groups of students plan how they will work to bring a design idea to fruition.
Assessing and managing risk in Technologies learning addresses the safe use of technologies and the risks that can impact on project timelines. It covers all necessary aspects of health, safety and injury prevention at any year level and in any technologies context when using potentially dangerous materials, tools and equipment. It includes ergonomics, safety including cyber safety, data security, and ethical and legal considerations when communicating and collaborating online.
The curriculum for each Technologies subject is written in bands of year levels:
Band level descriptions provide an overview of the content at each level. They also emphasise the interrelated nature of the two strands and the expectation that planning will involve integration of content from across the strands.
The Australian Curriculum: Technologies includes content descriptions at each band level. These describe the knowledge, understanding and skills that teachers are expected to teach and students are expected to learn. Content descriptions do not prescribe approaches to teaching in the Technologies subjects. The content descriptions have been written to ensure that learning is ordered appropriately and that unnecessary repetition is avoided. However, a concept or skill introduced in one band level may be revisited, strengthened and extended in later band levels.
Content descriptions are grouped to illustrate the clarity and sequence of development of concepts through and across the band levels. They support the ability to see the connections across strands and the sequential development of concepts from Foundation to Year 10.
Content elaborations are provided for Foundation to Year 10 as support material to illustrate and exemplify what is to be taught and to assist teachers in developing a shared understanding of the content descriptions. They are not intended to be comprehensive content points that all students need to be taught nor do they encompass every aspect of a content description.
Across Foundation to Year 10, achievement standards indicate the quality of learning that students should typically demonstrate by a particular point in their schooling.
The sequence of achievement standards in each Technologies subject describes progress in the learning area, demonstrating a broad sequence of expected learning. This sequence provides teachers with a framework of growth and development in each Technologies subject.
An achievement standard describes the quality of learning (the depth of conceptual understanding and the sophistication of skills) that would indicate the student is well-placed to commence the learning required at the next level of achievement.
The achievement standards for Technologies reflect the distinctive practices of each subject along with aspects of learning that are common to all Technologies subjects. Subject-specific terminology and organisation reflect the essential characteristics of learning in each subject.
The achievement standards also reflect differences in the nature and scope of the learning in each Technologies subject, as well as the relationship between the interrelated strands: Knowledge and understanding and Processes and production skills.
Achievement standards will be accompanied by portfolios of annotated student work samples that illustrate the expected learning and help teachers to make judgments about whether students have achieved the standard.
The Australian Curriculum: Technologies is based on the principle that all young Australians are entitled to engage fully in a range of technologies and to be given a balanced and substantial foundation in the special knowledge and skills base of each.
Complementing the band level descriptions of the curriculum, this advice describes the nature of learners and the curriculum across the following year-groupings:
Students bring to school diverse backgrounds and a range of experiences in Technologies. The Technologies curriculum builds on these as rich resources for further learning about each of the technologies subjects.
In Foundation to Year 2, the Technologies curriculum builds on the Early Years Learning Framework and its key learning outcomes: children have a strong sense of identity; children are connected with, and contribute to, their world; children have a strong sense of wellbeing; children are confident and involved learners; and children are effective communicators.
In the early years play is important in how students learn; it provides a form of engagement and a sense of purpose to their activities. In Technologies, students have opportunities to learn through purposeful and directed play to develop attitudes of care in relation to the places and resources they use. Through these processes they identify relationships between imagined and virtual worlds and the real world, between people and products, and between resources and environments. They explore materials and technologies and use drawing and modelling to communicate their design ideas. Students will learn about and experience connections between technologies and the designed world. They will begin to learn the importance of preparing precise instructions when solving problems using digital systems, creating ideas and information and sharing them online with known people.
Through the primary years, students draw on their growing experience of family, school and the wider community to develop their understanding of the world and their relationships with others. During these years of schooling, students’ thought processes become more complex and consistent, and they gradually become more independent. Students also develop their capacity to work in teams. They develop a sense of social, ethical and environmental responsibility and are interested in and concerned about the future. Students may talk about changes in their own thinking and making, giving reasons for their actions and explaining and demonstrating their organisation and sequence of ideas. They begin to recognise, appreciate and value the different ways in which others think and respond to problems and situations, including those with a regional perspective. They respond resourcefully to a range of design and computing problems and situations using creative and innovative ideas to realise solutions. They communicate and record their ideas in diagrams and drawings using manual and digital technologies. They explain the main functions of their solutions and the materials, systems and technologies which could be used.
In these years, learning in Technologies occurs both through integrated curriculum and Technologies subject-specific approaches. Students’ motivation to play in the early years develops into an interest in learning technologies thinking, processes and production. Students in these years increasingly recognise the connections between Technologies and other learning areas.
As students move into adolescence, they undergo a range of important physical, cognitive, emotional and social changes. Students often begin to question established community conventions, practices and values. Their interests extend well beyond their own communities and they develop their concerns about wider social, ethical and sustainability issues. Students in this age range increasingly look for and value learning they perceive as relevant, consistent with personal goals, and leading to important outcomes. Increasingly they are able to work with more abstract concepts and are keen to examine evidence and ideas.
In the Technologies learning area, students use technologies knowledge and understanding, technologies processes and production skills and design, systems and/or computational thinking to solve and produce creative solutions to problems, needs or opportunities. They communicate and record their ideas using a range of media and technologies. These specialised problem-solving activities will be sophisticated, acknowledge the complexities of contemporary life and may make connections to related specialised occupations and further study.
Increasingly, students develop a global perspective, with opportunities to understand the complex interdependencies involved in the development of technologies and between the developer and user in their technologies solutions, and how these can contribute to preferred futures. Students will develop an understanding of the interdependence of technologies development, values, beliefs and environment. Through undertaking technologies processes students develop design, computational and systems thinking; and organisational and project management skills.
ACARA is committed to the development of a high-quality curriculum for all Australian students that promotes excellence and equity in education.
All students are entitled to rigorous, relevant and engaging learning programs drawn from the Australian Curriculum: Technologies. Teachers take account of the range of their students’ current levels of learning, strengths, goals and interests and make adjustments where necessary. The three-dimensional design of the Australian Curriculum, comprising learning areas, general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities, provides teachers with flexibility to cater for the diverse needs of students across Australia and to personalise their learning.
More detailed advice has been developed for schools and teachers on using the Australian Curriculum to meet diverse learning needs. It is available under Student Diversity on the Australian Curriculum website.
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 require education and training service providers to support the rights of students with disability to access the curriculum on the same basis as students without disability.
Many students with disability are able to achieve educational standards commensurate with their peers, as long as the necessary adjustments are made to the way in which they are taught and to the means through which they demonstrate their learning.
In some cases curriculum adjustments are necessary to provide equitable opportunities for students to access age-equivalent content in the Australian Curriculum: Technologies. Teachers can draw from content at different levels along the Foundation to Year 10 sequence. Teachers can also use the extended general capabilities learning continua in Literacy, Numeracy and Personal and social capability to adjust the focus of learning according to individual student need.
Students for whom English is an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) enter Australian schools at different ages and at different stages of English language learning and have various educational backgrounds in their first languages. While many EAL/D students bring already highly developed literacy (and numeracy) skills in their own language to their learning of Standard Australian English, there are a significant number of students who are not literate in their first language, and have had little or no formal schooling.
While the aims of the Australian Curriculum: Technologies are the same for all students, EAL/D students must achieve these aims while simultaneously learning a new language and learning content and skills through that new language. These students may require additional time and support, along with teaching that explicitly addresses their language needs. Students who have had no formal schooling will need additional time and support in order to acquire skills for effective learning in formal settings.
A national English as an Additional Language or Dialect: Teacher Resource has been developed to support teachers in making the Australian Curriculum: Foundation to Year 10 in each learning area accessible to EAL/D students.
Teachers can use the Australian Curriculum: Technologies flexibly to meet the individual learning needs of gifted and talented students.
Teachers can enrich student learning by providing students with opportunities to work with learning area content in more depth or breadth; emphasising specific aspects of the general capabilities learning continua (for example, the higher-order cognitive skills of the Critical and creative thinking capability); and/or focusing on cross-curriculum priorities. Teachers can also accelerate student learning by drawing on content from later band levels in the Australian Curriculum: Technologies and/or from local state and territory teaching and learning materials.
In the Australian Curriculum, the general capabilities encompass the knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions that, together with curriculum content in each learning area and the cross-curriculum priorities, will assist students to live and work successfully in the twenty-first century.
There are seven general capabilities:
In the Australian Curriculum: Technologies, general capabilities are identified wherever they are developed or applied in content descriptions. They are also identified where they offer opportunities to add depth and richness to student learning through content elaborations.
Initials or abbreviations of titles indicate where general capabilities have been identified in Technologies content. Teachers may find further opportunities to incorporate explicit teaching of the capabilities depending on their choice of activities. Students may also be encouraged to develop capabilities through personally relevant initiatives of their own design.
The following descriptions provide an overview of how general capabilities are addressed in the Australian Curriculum: Technologies, noting that the emphasis on each general capability will vary from one Technologies subject to another. Detailed general capabilities materials, including learning continua, can be found on the Australian Curriculum website.
Students become literate as they develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions to interpret and use language confidently for learning and communicating in and out of school and for participating effectively in society. Literacy involves students in listening to, reading, viewing, speaking, writing and creating oral, print, visual and digital texts, and using and modifying language for different purposes in a range of contexts.
Students develop literacy capability as they learn how to communicate ideas, concepts and detailed proposals to a variety of audiences; recognise how language can be used to manipulate meaning; read and interpret detailed written instructions for specific technologies, often including diagrams and procedural writings such as software user manuals, design briefs, patterns and recipes; prepare accurate, annotated engineering drawings, software instructions and coding; write project outlines, briefs, concept and project management proposals, evaluations, engineering, life cycle and project analysis reports; and prepare detailed specifications for production.
By learning the literacy of Technologies students understand that language varies according to context and they increase their ability to use language flexibly. Technologies vocabulary is often technical and includes specific terms for concepts, processes and production. Students learn to understand that much technological information is presented in the form of drawings, diagrams, flow charts, models, tables and graphs. They also appreciate the importance of listening, talking and discussing in technologies processes, especially in articulating, questioning and evaluating ideas.
Students become numerate as they develop the knowledge and skills to use mathematics confidently across other learning areas at school and in their lives more broadly. Numeracy involves students in recognising and understanding the role of mathematics in the world and having the dispositions and capacities to use mathematical knowledge and skills purposefully.
The Technologies curriculum provides opportunities for students to interpret and use mathematical knowledge and skills in a range of real-life situations. Students use number to calculate, measure and estimate; interpret and draw conclusions from statistics; measure and record throughout the process of generating ideas; develop, refine and test concepts; and cost and sequence when making products and managing projects. In using software, materials, tools and equipment, students work with the concepts of number, geometry, scale, proportion, measurement and volume. They use three-dimensional models, create accurate technical drawings, work with digital models and use algorithmic thinking in decision-making processes when designing and creating best-fit solutions.
Students develop ICT capability as they learn to use ICT effectively and appropriately to access, create and communicate information and ideas, solve problems and work collaboratively, and in their lives beyond school. The capability involves students in learning to make the most of the digital technologies available to them. They adapt to new ways of doing things as technologies evolve, and limit the risks to themselves and others in a digital environment.
While much of the explicit teaching of ICT occurs in the Digital Technologies subject, key ICT concepts and skills are strengthened, complemented and extended in Design and Technologies as students engage in a range of learning activities with ICT demands.
In Digital Technologies, students create solutions that consider social and environmental factors when operating digital systems with digital information. They develop and apply an understanding of the characteristics of data, digital systems, audiences, procedures and computational thinking. They apply this when they investigate, communicate and create purpose-designed information solutions. Students learn to formulate problems, logically organise and analyse data and represent it in abstract forms. They automate solutions through algorithmic logic. Students determine the best combinations of data, procedures and human and physical resources to generate efficient and effective information solutions.
In Design and Technologies students learn how to operate specific software tools and digital hardware to assist them to realise their design ideas. This occurs when they investigate, research and analyse information and evaluate design ideas. They communicate and
collaborate online. Students develop innovative and creative design ideas; generate plans and diagrams to communicate their designs and produce solutions using digital technologies, for example creating simulations, drawings and models and manufacturing solutions (from basic drawing programs to computer-aided design/manufacture and rapid prototyping).
Students develop capability in critical and creative thinking as they learn to generate and evaluate knowledge, clarify concepts and ideas, seek possibilities, consider alternatives and solve problems. Critical and creative thinking are integral to activities that require students to think broadly and deeply using skills, behaviours and dispositions such as reason, logic, resourcefulness, imagination and innovation in all learning areas at school and in their lives beyond school.
Students develop capability in critical and creative thinking as they imagine, generate, develop, produce and critically evaluate ideas. They take into account sustainability and changing economic, environmental and social needs and concerns. They develop reasoning and abstract thinking capabilities through challenging problems that do not have straightforward solutions. Students analyse problems, refine concepts and reflect upon the decision-making process by engaging in computational, design and systems thinking. They identify, explore and clarify technologies information and use that knowledge in a range of situations and challenges.
Students think critically and creatively about possible, probable and preferred futures. They consider how technologies, data, information, materials and systems (past and present) impact upon our lives, and how these elements might be better designed and managed. Experimenting, drawing, modelling, designing and working with digital tools, equipment and software assists students to build their visual and spatial thinking and to create solutions, products, services and environments.
Students develop personal and social capability as they learn to understand themselves and others, and manage their relationships, lives, work and learning more effectively. The capability involves students in a range of practices including recognising and regulating emotions; developing empathy for others and understanding relationships, establishing and building positive relationships; making responsible decisions; working effectively in teams, handling challenging situations constructively and developing leadership skills.
Students develop personal and social capability as they engage in project management. They direct their own learning, plan and carry out investigations, and become independent learners who can apply design thinking, technologies understanding and skills to decisions they will have to make in the future. Through collaborating with others, students develop their social and employability skills. They learn to work cooperatively in teams, make group decisions, resolve conflict and show leadership. Designing and innovation involve a degree of risk-taking and resilience, as students work with the uncertainty of sharing new ideas they develop resilience.
The Technologies learning area enhances personal and social capability by developing students’ social awareness. This includes awareness of diversity, which students gain
through researching and identifying user needs. Students consider past and present impacts of decisions on people, communities and environments. They develop social responsibility through understanding, tolerance of and empathy and respect for others and themselves.
Students develop the capability to behave ethically as they identify and investigate the nature of concepts, values, character traits, and principles, and understand how reasoning and consideration of the rights of others can assist ethical judgment. Ethical behaviour involves students in building a strong personal and socially oriented ethical outlook that helps them to manage context, conflict and uncertainty, and to develop an awareness of the influence that their values and behaviour have on others.
Students develop the capacity to understand and apply ethical principles and social responsibility when collaborating, creating, sharing and using technologies, materials, data, processes, tools and equipment. Using an ethical lens, they will investigate past, current and future local, national, regional and global technological priorities. They will evaluate their findings against the criteria of legality, environmental sustainability, economic viability, health, social and emotional responsibility and cultural awareness. They explore complex issues associated with technologies, consider possibilities and will be encouraged to develop informed values and attitudes.
They will learn about their own roles and responsibilities as discerning citizens, including detecting bias and inaccuracies. Understanding the protection of data, intellectual property and individual privacy in the school environment assists students to become ethical digital citizens. Students will learn about safe and ethical procedures for investigating and working with data, materials, people and animals, and will consider the rights of others and their responsibilities in using sustainable practices that protect the planet and its life forms.
Students develop intercultural understanding as they learn to value their own cultures, languages and beliefs, and those of others. They come to understand how personal, group and national identities are shaped, and the variable and changing nature of culture. The capability involves students in learning about and engaging with diverse cultures in ways that recognise commonalities and differences, create connections with others and cultivate mutual respect.
In the Technologies learning area students consider how technologies are used in diverse communities at local, national, regional and global levels. This includes their impact and potential to transform people’s lives. Students explore ways in which past and present practices enable people to use technologies to interact with one another across cultural boundaries. Students investigate how cultural identities and traditions influence the function and form of solutions, products, services and environments designed to meet the needs of daily life.
In their interactions with others, students consider the dynamic and complex nature of cultures, including values, beliefs, practices and assumptions. They recognise and respond to the challenges of cultural diversity. Students take responsibility for securing positive outcomes for members of all cultural groups including those faced with prejudice and misunderstanding.
There are three cross curriculum priorities in the Australian Curriculum:
The cross curriculum priorities are embedded in the curriculum and will have a strong but varying presence depending on their relevance to each of the learning areas.
In the Australian Curriculum: Technologies the priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures provides creative, engaging and diverse learning contexts for students to value and appreciate the contribution by the world’s oldest continuous living cultures to past, present and emerging technologies.
Students identify and explore the rich and diverse knowledge and understandings of technologies employed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in past, present and future applications. They understand that the technologies of the world’s first and most continuous culture often developed through intimate knowledge of Country/Place and Culture.
Students identify, explore, understand and analyse the interconnectedness between technologies and Identity, People, Culture and Country/Place. They explore how this intrinsic link guides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in sustaining environments, histories, cultures and identities. Students apply this knowledge and understanding within Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies to create appropriate and sustainable products, services and environments to meet personal, local, national, regional and global demands.
In this learning area, students explore how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ capacity for innovation is evident through the incorporation and application of a range of traditional, contemporary and emerging technologies and practices to purposefully build and/or maintain cultural, community and economic capacity. Students apply this knowledge and understanding throughout the processes of observation, critical and creative thought, action, experimentation and evaluation.
In the Australian Curriculum: Technologies the priority of Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia provides diverse and authentic contexts to develop knowledge and understanding of technologies processes and production and related cultural, social and ethical issues. It enables students to recognise that interaction between human activity and the diverse environments of the Asia region continues to create the need for creative solutions and collaboration with others, including Australians, and has significance for the rest of the world.
The Australian Curriculum: Technologies provides opportunities for students to explore traditional, contemporary and emerging technological achievements in the countries of the Asia region. Students apply this knowledge and understanding to create appropriate and sustainable products that reflect intercultural, creative and critical thinking to meet identified needs. In this learning area, students appreciate the diversity of the Asia region. They examine contributions that the people of the Asia region have made and continue to make to global technological advances. They consider the contributions that Australia has made and is making to the Asia region. Students explore Australia’s rich and ongoing engagement with the peoples and countries of Asia to create appropriate products and services to meet personal, community, national, regional and global needs.
In the Australian Curriculum: Technologies the priority of sustainability provides authentic contexts for creating preferred futures. When identifying and critiquing a need or opportunity, generating ideas and concepts, and producing solutions, students give prime consideration to sustainability by anticipating and balancing economic, environmental and social impacts.
The Australian Curriculum: Technologies prepares students to take action to create more sustainable patterns of living. The curriculum focuses on the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to design for effective sustainability action. It reflects on human need and equity of access to limited resources. The curriculum recognises that actions are both individual and collective endeavours shared across local and global communities. The curriculum provides a basis for students to explore their own and competing viewpoints, values and interests. Students work with complexity, uncertainty and risk; make connections between disparate ideas and concepts; self-critique; and propose creative and sustainable solutions.
In this learning area, students focus on the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to choose technologies and systems with regard to costs and benefits. They evaluate the extent to which the process and designed solutions embrace sustainability. Students reflect on past and current practices, and assess new and emerging technologies from a sustainability perspective.
Learning in Technologies involves the use of knowledge, understanding and skills learned in other learning areas, particularly in English, Mathematics, Science, Geography, The Arts and Health and Physical Education.
In schools across Australia there is strong support for linking learning in Technologies with learning literacy skills. Learning in Technologies places a high priority on accurate and unambiguous communication. The Australian Curriculum: Technologies is supported by and in turn reinforces the learning of literacy skills. Students need to describe objects and events; interpret descriptions; read and give instructions; generate and explore ideas with others; write design briefs and specifications, marketing texts, evaluation and variation reports; and participate in group discussions.
The Technologies curriculum provides contexts within which Mathematics knowledge, understanding and skills may be applied and developed. In Technologies, students process data using simple tables, lists, picture graphs, simple column graphs and line graphs. In Mathematics, students' data analysis skills will develop to include scatter plots, linear graphs and the gradient of graphs. This will enhance their ability to analyse patterns and trends in data as part of technologies investigations.
Students develop their use of metric units in both the Mathematics and Technologies curriculums. The ability to convert between common metric units of length and mass and their use of decimal notation in Mathematics will enable them to represent and compare data in meaningful ways in Technologies. Technologies provide tools for automating mathematical processes which reinforce Mathematics concepts. In Mathematics, students learn statistical methods that may be applied to the quantitative analysis of data required in Technologies. Students apply knowledge of geometry, shapes and angles in Technologies.
When considering systems at a vast range of scales in Technologies, students use their mathematical knowledge of timescales and intervals. Students’ mathematical ability to solve problems involving linear equations can be used in Technologies when investigating quantitative relationships and designing algorithms. The development of computational thinking skills in Digital Technologies will complement the problem-solving and reasoning proficiency strands in Mathematics.
The Technologies curriculum closely complements the Science curriculum. Design and Technologies draws upon concepts from biological, chemical and physical sciences to solve problems and design solutions to meet human needs and opportunities. Links with the Science curriculum allow for applications of scientific concepts through designing real-world solutions that are meaningful to students. An example would be applying scientific concepts when designing in an engineering context. Students apply knowledge of material properties and characteristics and do appropriate scientific tests of materials, processes and prototypes. Design and Technologies contextualises learning in Science through engagement with authentic projects. It allows for critiquing, applying prior knowledge and evaluating outcomes.
The Digital Technologies curriculum provides many techniques and technologies for automating the collection, storage and analysis of authentic scientific data in the Science curriculum. Digital technologies such as data loggers, spreadsheets, databases, simulations and imaging technologies are central to modern science. They are used to collect and organise scientific measurements and to derive information by filtering, analysing and visualising large volumes of numerical, categorical and structured data. Digital Technologies provides students with the skills to represent data in ways that enable computational analysis. Scientists use digital technologies to develop software for simulating and modelling natural systems and phenomena. Digital technologies give students the skills to implement simple simulations and gain a deeper understanding of Science concepts and models by interacting with simulations.
History provides another avenue to understand how technologies develop and how their developments are a source of historical facts and artefacts. In the Knowledge and understanding strands students will develop increasingly sophisticated knowledge and understanding, drawn from contemporary and historical sources. It is important that students learn that technologies have developed through the gradual accumulation of knowledge over many centuries; that all sorts of people – including people like themselves – use and contribute to the development of technologies. Historical studies of technologies in a range of societies including the peoples and countries of Asia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures extending to modern times will help students understand the contributions of people from around the world.
The Geography curriculum provides a range of opportunities for students to consolidate their Technologies knowledge, understanding and skills. From the early years students sort information, find patterns and interact with digital systems as they develop spatial understandings, particularly as they create, interpret and use maps. They use directional language; understand scale and distance; and record data related to weather. They create products and systems that measure and further develop their understanding of the influences of climate and weather conditions. They use digital tools to collect and sort information and data and there is a significant emphasis on digital and spatial technologies.
Students strengthen their Technologies understanding and skills as they study the environmental characteristics of places, processes and human significance. During their investigations they collect and convert data into useful forms using spreadsheets, graphs and distribution maps. Students consolidate their understandings of sustainability as they investigate human significance of the biophysical environment and design and manage projects that enhance their understanding of the fine balance between the environment and human endeavour.
Through Design and Technologies, concepts and learning that are addressed in Geography are contextualised through the design and production of products, services and environments through specific targeted projects that relate to sustainability, the environment and society. They critique, design and produce solutions for managed and constructed environments. Learning is further enhanced through authentic activities that focus on enterprising and innovative solutions to perceived needs.
The Technologies curriculum complements The Arts curriculum, particularly in the application of the elements and principles of design in Visual Arts and in the use of digital technologies in Media Arts. Through the Technologies curriculum aspects of aesthetics such as line, shape, form, colour, texture, proportion and balance are incorporated into the design processes in Technologies learning activities. This occurs when students design products and environments. Knowledge of materials, tools and equipment and the ways they can be used to create designed solutions provides links between Technologies and two and three-dimensional design in Visual Arts. Skills developed in Visual Arts such as representing and exploring creative ideas through sketching and drawing complement processes used in Design and Technologies to generate ideas to create solutions.
Students learn about multimedia across the Australian Curriculum. In Digital Technologies the focus is on the technical aspects of multimedia, and privacy and intellectual property concerns. In Media Arts students use digital technologies to tell stories, represent and communicate ideas and explore concepts. Making in Media Arts involves designing, planning, producing, capturing and recording, choosing, combining and editing, and representing and distributing.
The Australian Curriculum: Technologies will take account of what students will learn in Health and Physical Education. Students will explore how systems work together to produce energy and movement and be able to apply this in technologies contexts. They will develop and practise technical skills which will assist students in developing manipulative skills in Technologies and apply learning particularly in relation to nutrition.
In the Australian Curriculum students may be taught about food and nutrition in both Health and Physical Education and in the Technologies learning area through Design and Technologies. The focus in the Health and Physical Education curriculum is on understanding healthy choices in relation to nutrition, understanding the range of influences on these choices, and developing and applying the knowledge, understanding and skills to make healthier choices in relation to food and nutrition. In Technologies students will learn how to apply nutrition knowledge through the preparation of food. Beyond Year 8 students may choose to study a food-related subject offered by states and territories.
In the Australian Curriculum: Technologies the two strands, Knowledge and understanding and Processes and production skills, are interrelated and inform and support each other. When developing teaching and learning programs, teachers combine aspects of the strands in different ways to provide students with learning experiences that meet their needs and interests. There are opportunities for integration of learning between Technologies subjects and with other learning areas.
Engaging learning programs will provide opportunities for students to:
Although the individual Technologies subjects of Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies form the basis of the Australian Curriculum: Technologies, students explore how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ capacity for innovation is evident through the critical processes of observation, action, experimentation and evaluation. These processes reflect traditional, contemporary and emerging technologies which produce a range of products, services and environments. This learning involves exploration of traditional, contemporary and emerging technologies from different societies, including from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. Such technologies might:
While content descriptions do not repeat key skills across the band levels, it should be noted that many aspects of Technologies curriculum are recursive, and teachers need to provide ample opportunity for revision, ongoing practice and consolidation of previously introduced knowledge and skills.
Students learn at different rates and in different stages. Depending on each student’s rate of learning or the prior experience they bring to the classroom, not all of the content descriptions for a particular band level may be relevant to a student in those year levels.
Some students may have already learned a concept or skill, in which case it will not have to be explicitly taught to them in the band level stipulated. Other students may need to be taught concepts or skills stipulated for earlier band levels. The content descriptions in the Australian Curriculum: Technologies enable teachers to develop a variety of learning experiences that are relevant, rigorous and meaningful and allow for different rates of development, in particular for younger students and for those who require additional support.
Some students will require additional support to develop their skills in specific Technologies subjects.
In the Australian Curriculum: Technologies it is expected that appropriate adjustments will be made for some students to enable them to access and participate in meaningful learning, and demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skills across the Technologies subjects. To provide the required flexibility teachers need to consider the abilities of each student and adopt options for curriculum implementation that allow all students to participate. This might involve students using modified tools, materials or equipment to create solutions.
Teachers use the Australian Curriculum content and achievement standards first to identify current levels of learning and achievement and then to select the most appropriate content (possibly from across several year levels) to teach individual students and/or groups of students. This takes into account that in each class there may be students with a range of prior achievement (below, at or above the year level expectations) and that teachers plan to build on current learning. Organisation of the curriculum in band levels provides an additional level of flexibility that supports teachers to plan and implement learning programs that are appropriate for all students and make best possible use of available resources.
Teachers also use the achievement standards at the end of a period of teaching to make on balance judgments about the quality of learning demonstrated by the students – that is, whether they have achieved below, at or above the standard. To make these judgments, teachers draw on assessment data that they have collected as evidence during the teaching period. These judgments about the quality of learning are one source of feedback to students and their parents and inform formal reporting processes.
If a teacher judges that a student’s achievement is below the expected standard, this suggests that the teaching programs and practice should be reviewed to better assist individual students in their learning in the future. It also suggests that additional support and targeted teaching will be needed to ensure that students are appropriately prepared for future studies in specific Technologies subjects.
Assessment of the Australian Curriculum: Technologies takes place at different levels and for different purposes, including:
The Australian Curriculum has guidelines provided for the minimum amount of time that schools and teachers should allocate to teaching each learning area to achieve the outcomes described in the curriculum. Schools and teachers however have between 21% and 51% (depending on year) of the total available teaching time unallocated, and this can be used to increase the minimum (allocated) time that students are entitled to be taught. For example, schools could decide to focus additional time on the teaching of Digital Technologies, adding some of the unallocated time to the required (allocated) time. Such decisions will be made at various levels from states, schools and teachers, as determined by curriculum priorities, staffing, and timetabling requirements. Unallocated time will also include other activities such as public holidays (six days), student-free days (five days), NAPLAN testing in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 (three days), and sports carnivals.
Time Allocation percentages of available teaching time
In a world that is increasingly digitised and automated, it is critical to the wellbeing and sustainability of society, the economy and environments that the benefits of information systems are exploited ethically. This requires deep knowledge and understanding of digital systems and how to manage risks. Ubiquitous digital systems such as mobile and desktop devices and networks are transforming learning, recreational activities, home life and work. They have led to new ways of thinking, collaborating and communicating when developing social and intellectual capital. They are an essential problem-solving toolset in our knowledge-based society.
The Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies empowers students to influence skilfully and confidently how contemporary and emerging information systems and practices are applied to meet current and future needs. It empowers students to shape change. A deep knowledge and understanding of information systems enables students to be creative and discerning decision-makers when they select, use and manage data, information, processes and digital systems to meet needs and shape preferred futures.
Digital Technologies provides students with practical opportunities to be innovative developers of digital solutions and knowledge. It will assist students to become effective users of digital systems and critical consumers of information conveyed by digital systems.
Digital Technologies provides students with authentic learning challenges that foster curiosity, confidence, persistence, innovation, creativity, respect and cooperation. These are all necessary when using and developing information systems to make sense of complex ideas and relationships in all areas of learning. Digital Technologies assists students to be regional and global citizens capable of actively and ethically communicating and collaborating.
This rationale complements and extends the rationale for the Technologies learning area.
In addition to the overarching aims for the Australian Curriculum: Technologies, Digital Technologies more specifically aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to ensure that, individually and collaboratively, students:
The Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies comprises two related strands:
Within each strand, key concepts provide the focus for content and present a sequence of development of knowledge, understanding and skills across the bands. The content is described in bands.
Together, the two strands provide students with knowledge, understanding and skills through which they can safely and ethically exploit the capacity of information systems (people, data, processes, digital systems and their interactions) to systematically transform data into digital solutions that respond to the needs of individuals, society, the economy and the environment.
The strands are based on key concepts that provide a framework for knowledge and practice in Digital Technologies. The key concept of abstraction underpins all content, particularly Data and Specification and Implementation. Interactions and impact is common to both strands. For more information see Key concepts.
Although the curriculum is presented in two different strands, teaching and learning programs will typically blend these, as content in processes and production skills frequently draws on understanding of concepts in the knowledge and understanding strand. For example, designing and creating software to solve specific problems and to create new opportunities (processes and production skills) involves learning about data, digital systems and factors that influence solutions including human interactions with digital systems (knowledge and understanding). For more information see Learning in Digital Technologies.
This strand focuses on developing the underpinning knowledge and understanding of information systems: data, processes, digital systems, people, and their interactions. It also includes understanding of the impact of digital technologies in people’s lives.
The Digital Technologies knowledge and understanding strand focuses on:
This strand focuses primarily on defining and solving problems through using digital systems, critical and creative thinking and applying computational thinking – a problem-solving methodology. Students will develop and use increasingly sophisticated computational thinking skills, and processes, techniques and digital systems to create solutions to address specific problems, opportunities or needs. Students will also apply procedural techniques and processing skills when investigating, creating, communicating and sharing ideas and information and collaborating in online environments.
The Digital Technologies processes and production skills strand focuses on:
A number of key concepts underpin the Digital Technologies curriculum. These establish a way of thinking about information systems and provide a framework for knowledge and practice. The key concepts are:
These concepts span the key discoveries of computer science and information systems, with ideas about the organisation, representation and automation of information and communication that also correspond to the key elements of computational thinking. These key concepts can be explored in non-technical or digital contexts and are likely to underpin the future digital systems.
These concepts describe the ideas and approaches underpinning the Digital Technologies curriculum and provide a foundation for teachers to plan and assess evidence of progress in student learning. They also provide a language and perspective that students and teachers can use when discussing Digital Technologies.
Abstraction involves hiding details that aren’t relevant, to focus on a manageable number of aspects of an idea, problem or solution at one time. Abstraction is a natural part of communication: people rarely communicate every detail, because many details are not relevant in a given context. The idea of abstraction can be acquired from an early age. For example, when students are asked how to make toast for breakfast, they do not mention all steps explicitly, assuming that the listener is an intelligent implementer of the abstract instructions.
In the same way, the complexity and details of information systems makes them difficult to understand. In digital systems, everything must be broken down into simple instructions. The ability to ‘temporarily ignore’ the internal details of subcomponents that make up larger specifications, algorithms, systems or interactions, is central to managing the complexity of information systems.
Abstraction is the underpinning concept that organises thinking in Digital Technologies and is evident in the two strands, particularly in the concepts of data representation and specification, algorithms and implementation.
Data collection, representation and interpretation
Data focuses on the nature and properties of data, how they are collected and represented, and how they are interpreted in context to produce information. It builds on a corresponding sub-strand in the Mathematics curriculum, providing a deeper understanding of the nature of data and their representation, and computational skills for interpreting data. It provides rich opportunities for authentic data exploration in other learning areas while developing data processing and visualisation skills.
Data collection describes the numerical, categorical and textual facts measured, collected or calculated as the raw material for creating information and its binary representation in digital systems. Data collection is addressed in the Processes and production skills strand. Data representation describes how data are represented and structured symbolically for storage and communication, by people and in digital systems, and is addressed in the Knowledge and understanding strand. Data interpretation describes the processes of imposing or extracting meaning from data and is addressed in the Processes and production strand.
Specification and implementation focuses on the precise and elegant definition and communication of problems and their solutions, beginning with describing tasks in daily life and culminating in accurate definitions of computational problems and their algorithm solutions. This concept draws from logic, algebra and the language of Mathematics, and can be related to the scientific method of documenting experiments in Science.
Specification describes the process of defining and communicating a problem precisely, unambiguously and succinctly. An algorithm is a precise description of the steps and decisions needed to solve a problem. Anyone who has followed or given instructions, for example a recipe or navigated using directions, has used an algorithm. These generic skills can be developed without programming. Implementation describes the automation of an algorithm, typically by writing a computer program. These concepts are addressed in the Processes and production skills strand.
The Digital systems concept focuses on the components of digital systems: hardware, software, and networks and the internet. (The broader definition of an information system that includes data, people, processes and digital systems falls under the interactions and impact concept below.) Digital systems is divided into hardware and software, covering computer architecture and the operating system; and networks and the internet, covering wireless, mobile and wired networks and protocols. Digital systems is addressed in both strands.
These concepts focus on all aspects of human interaction with and through information systems, and the enormous potential for positive and negative economic, environmental and social impacts enabled by these systems. Interactions and impact are addressed in both strands.
Interactions refers to all human–information systems interactions, especially user interfaces, and human–human interactions; and communication and collaboration mediated by digital systems. Information systems include the interaction between people and digital systems, and data and processes. Interactions also addresses methods for protecting stored and communicated data and information. Impact describes: analysing and predicting the extent to which personal, ethical, economic, environmental and social needs are met through existing and emerging digital technologies; and appreciating the transformative power of digital technologies in people’s lives. It also involves consideration of the relationship between information systems and society and in particular the legal obligations of individuals and organisations regarding ownership and privacy of data and information.
In the Australian Curriculum, information and communication technology (ICT) is the focus of two subjects: Digital Technologies and Media Arts. Some aspects of ICT are general and students develop this knowledge and skills across all learning areas as described in the ICT general capability. Some aspects of the ICT general capability are explicitly included in the Digital Technologies curriculum, for example security, privacy and intellectual property. The study of Digital Technologies will ensure that ICT capability is developed systematically and conceptually to be applied across other learning areas.
While much of the explicit teaching of ICT occurs in the Digital Technologies subject, key ICT concepts and skills are strengthened, complemented and extended in Design and Technologies as students engage in a range of learning activities with ICT demands.
There is a clear relationship between the Digital Technologies curriculum and the ICT general capability. The capability assists students to become effective users of ICT. The Digital Technologies curriculum assists students to become confident developers of digital solutions. While some specific ICT knowledge and skills are likely to develop only within Digital Technologies learning programs, key ICT concepts and skills are strengthened, made specific and extended across all learning areas. This occurs as students engage in a range of learning activities with ICT requirements. In each learning area, including Technologies, students apply appropriate social and ethical protocols and practices while managing and operating ICT to investigate, create and communicate ideas, concepts and knowledge.
The Digital Technologies curriculum requires students to operate and manage digital systems, data and processes and to apply computational thinking when creating solutions. These solutions take into account current and predicted economic, environmental and social factors. Students develop and apply an understanding of the characteristics of data, audiences, procedures, digital systems and computational thinking to create and evaluate purpose-designed digital solutions. They learn to formulate problems, logically organise and analyse data and represent it in abstract forms. Students automate solutions through algorithmic logic. They control and monitor processes and devices. Students collaborate and communicate with others when developing and sharing ideas and information. They determine the best combinations of data, procedures and human and physical resources to generate efficient and effective solutions.
Students learn about multimedia across the Australian Curriculum.
In Digital Technologies multimedia is only one of a range of contexts. The subject focuses on the technical aspects of digital multimedia solutions, and privacy and intellectual property. The technical aspects cover the digital representation of multimedia and text artefacts as a form of structured data and the digital systems required to capture and display those data. It also includes the algorithms required to create or manipulate them, and human interaction with devices and digital media.
The operational mechanics of producing images, animations, videos and audios are a focus in Media Arts, whereas the automated interaction with digital media and the digital representation of multimedia are addressed in Digital Technologies.
Digital Technologies takes a technical and computational approach to digital solutions featuring multimedia such as the design and development of web pages and computer games. For example, it looks at the digital representation of a web page that includes digital media, the representation of a document (its structure) from the formatting (its appearance), and how web pages are transmitted.
Digital Technologies considers security and ethical protocols related to online communication when using blogs, messaging, information sharing and creation sites and social networking.
Computer games generally automatically respond to user input, often simulate the real world, and store and manipulate data representing the current game state. They are almost always implemented by some form of computer programming (including simple visual programming environments).
The knowledge, understanding and skills learned in the Digital Technologies curriculum serve students in two discrete, but interrelated ways. The curriculum supports the pursuit of specialised knowledge and understanding in the field of information systems (Digital Technologies). It also equips students with a set of critical and creative thinking skills and ICT capabilities that will support learning anytime, anywhere, as well as participation in a knowledge-based society.
At the core of the Digital Technologies curriculum is the development of knowledge, understanding and skills that support the integration of human thinking with the capabilities of digital systems. This involves students defining a problem precisely, specifying needs, describing the steps and processes required to create the solution, realising it by applying digital systems and evaluating success against stated needs. Accurate interpretations of the associated data and contexts are critical to meeting current needs and preferred futures. As the sophistication of the underpinning concepts increases through the stages of schooling, adequate time needs to be devoted to the explicit teaching of knowledge and skills. Consideration of human interaction with and through digital systems is critical to ensuring innovative solutions that are accessible and appealing are created.
In Digital Technologies students develop understanding of the relationship and interconnectedness between the components of information systems in authentic situations. They analyse these systems for their impact on society. Students use reason and logic when predicting the likely impact of changes to information systems and they consider how these changes may contribute to preferred futures. They develop and apply conceptual, collaborative and technical skills to systematically create solutions. They automate the transformation of data into information and manipulate data to communicate ideas and information for known and unknown audiences. The selection of software appropriate for each of these broad solution areas is a school decision based on available resources and student needs. Students develop project management skills in allocating tasks, resources and time.
Teaching and learning programs should balance and integrate the two strands Digital Technologies knowledge and understandings and Digital Technologies processes and production skills. The emphasis given to each will vary depending on the stages of school and the context of learning programs. For example, in the early years students can develop knowledge and skills about abstraction and algorithms as a result of personal, family and community experiences and express these using simple digital systems. In the later years students can create complex and innovative interactive digital solutions.
When communicating online, students develop and apply safe and ethical protocols and practices. They learn knowledge, understanding and skills to maximise the capabilities of hardware, software and networks when creating solutions, communicating, and locating data and information. They transfer knowledge to adapt to emerging developments. Working individually and collaboratively, students develop skills in managing the security and organisation of their data and information and in regulating their social behaviour.
Play in the Technologies learning area
In Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies the imaginative and purposeful application of play is foregrounded in the early years. In play, children create imaginary situations in which they change the meaning of objects and actions as they invent new ideas and engage in futures thinking (for them). They also explore real-world concepts, rules and events as they role-play what is familiar and of interest to them. Play is deepened and imagination and creativity are better harnessed for learning when play is relevant and purposeful, and when children and teachers engage in shared, sustained thinking. Play includes the purposeful application of creativity and imagination to learning situations in both Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies.
Digital Technologies solutions have been separated into two broad areas:
Automation covers any process of transforming and manipulating data that does not require manual intervention. For instance, spreadsheets allow for automated processing of data – once the formulas are defined, data can be replaced or updated, and the results are recalculated automatically; running a program allows for automated execution of algorithms.
Communications covers processes and artefacts that communicate information and ideas, or evoke emotions. For instance, processes include systems such as instant messaging, social media and video conferencing; and artefacts include documents and digital media presentations.
Automation and communications interact with each other: information created through automation needs to be communicated and communication processes may be automated, for example mail merge or animation tools.
Solutions for automation and communications intersect, to various extents, with the key concepts. Automation is strongly associated with data, representation, interpretation, specification, algorithms and implementation; communications is strongly associated with interpretation, specification, implementation, interactions and impact. Abstraction underpins both automation and communications.
Teaching and learning programs will typically blend content from each strand. Content from the Processes and production skills strand frequently draws on understanding of concepts in the Knowledge and understanding strand. For example, learning to acquire, interpret, manipulate, store and communicate data and information to meet a range of purposes (processes and production skills) involves an understanding of the representation of data, the raw material for creating solutions (knowledge and understanding); learning to select and use the most appropriate digital systems for specific tasks with consideration of users and interface (processes and production skills) draws on knowledge of the capabilities and capacities of digital systems (knowledge and understanding); learning to create, communicate and collaborate in a digital society (processes and production skills) involves understanding legal obligations, constraints, and social and technical protocols (knowledge and understanding); learning to identify opportunities and anticipate consequences of future information systems (processes and production skills) involves understanding the settings in which information systems are used and the factors that influence the interactions between the system components and the settings (knowledge and understanding).
The Digital Technologies curriculum comprises two interrelated strands: Knowledge and understanding and Processes and production skills. Teaching and learning programs should balance and integrate both strands. Together the strands focus on developing students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in computational thinking and on students building on their personal experiences of using digital systems and data in their immediate environments.
In F–2, students begin thinking computationally by using the power of digital systems in their play with, for example robotic toys or when performing everyday, repetitive tasks with greater efficiency. They develop their ability to solve problems through abstraction and begin to manage time, tasks and data when using digital systems to create information individually and in groups. With support from others they begin to conceptualise steps and sequences of steps for moving their robots or they think abstractly about elements, and elements within systems, to solve problems or achieve personal or group goals.
In projects, they explore different types of data, learn about their purposes and begin to experiment with different forms of representation. They use software to manipulate a range of data and share the ideas and information they create in safe online environments.
Students and teachers discuss and use safe and ethical practices to protect children and their information as they interact online for learning and communicating. Safe practices underlie all experiences in the study of Digital Technologies.
Recognise and play with patterns in data and represent data as pictures, symbols and diagrams
Describe how people use different information systems safely to meet personal and family communication and recreation needs
Collect, use and play with personal, family and classroom data (including numerical, categorical, text, image, audio and video data) and understand why it was collected and use digital systems to present the data
Identify, explore, and use digital systems (hardware and software components) for personal and classroom needs
Follow, describe, represent and play with a sequence of steps and decisions needed to solve simple problems
Work with others to organise and create ideas and information in the form of text, images and audio using information systems, and share these with known people in safe online environments
By the end of Year 2, students experiment with different ways of representing patterns in data. They describe how familiar information systems are used to meet personal, classroom and family needs.
Students suggest and use a sequence of steps to decide how to solve simple problems. They safely use familiar digital systems when experimenting with alternative ways of displaying familiar data to convey meaning, and when organising and creating ideas and information, and sharing these in restricted online environments.
The Digital Technologies curriculum comprises two interrelated strands: Knowledge and understanding and Processes and production skills. Teaching and learning programs should balance and integrate both strands. Together the strands focus on developing students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in computational thinking and on students becoming more aware of the social and environmental use of information systems in local and global communities.
In Years 3 and 4, students think computationally by using digital systems to automate simple tasks and data processing. They explore abstractions by interpreting models of simple real-world systems and describing elements of problems and systems. They further develop their understanding of the characteristics of data through exploring different ways that common data can be represented. They expand their usage of software to include user input and branching. This includes visual programming languages that use graphical elements rather than text instructions.
Students are aware of appropriate ways to manage their time and focus. With teacher guidance, they identify and list the major steps needed to complete a task. They begin to manage time, tasks and data when problem-solving individually and in teams and appreciate the importance of planning when creating solutions.
When sharing ideas and communicating in online environments they develop an understanding of why it is important to consider the feelings of their audiences and apply safe and ethical practices that demonstrate respectful behaviour. Safe practices underlie all experiences in the study of Digital Technologies.
Recognise a variety of different types of data and explore different representations for the same data
Investigate how well information systems meet home, classroom and community needs and envisage new applications for existing information systems
Collect, access and present different types of family, classroom and community data using simple spreadsheets, databases and other software to create information and solve problems
Use a range of digital systems and peripherals for diverse purposes, and transmit different types of data
Define simple problems, and follow and describe the algorithms (sequence of steps and decisions) needed to solve them
Design and implement simple visual programs with user input and branching
Manage the creation, sharing and exchange of information with known audiences and apply agreed social protocols to protect people when communicating online
By the end of Year 4, students demonstrate different ways of representing a variety of familiar types of data. They make judgments about the usefulness of common information systems and suggest creative applications.
Students define simple problems, follow and describe simple algorithms, and develop simple digital solutions involving branching. They collect and access data from different sources and use a range of digital systems and peripherals when creating information and digital solutions. Students apply agreed social protocols and safely use appropriate information systems when creating, managing and sharing information with known audiences.
The Digital Technologies curriculum comprises two interrelated strands: Knowledge and understanding and Processes and production skills. Teaching and learning programs should balance and integrate both strands. Together the strands focus on developing students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in computational thinking and on students considering the role and impact of information systems across local, national and global communities for a range of purposes and audiences.
In Years 5 and 6, students think computationally by using digital systems to automate tasks and analyse data, which are organised in a manner that helps computation. They learn to develop abstractions by identifying common elements across similar problems and systems and develop an understanding of the relationship between models and the real-world systems they represent. They further develop their skills of defining problems by following the instructions and decisions in their algorithms to detect errors, and making modifications to increase the likelihood of creating working digital solutions. They broaden their techniques for recording algorithms to include text-based instructions. They increase the sophistication of their abstract thinking by identifying repetition and develop their skills by incorporating repeat instructions/structures including through visual programming.
Students work collaboratively with others to identify and sequence steps needed for a task. In doing so they learn to negotiate and develop plans to complete tasks. They take safety into account and use plans to complete tasks safely, making adjustments when necessary. They learn to manage and operate digital technologies, for example devising file naming conventions that are meaningful and determining safe storage locations.
Students progress from following given social protocols to working with other students to develop an agreed set of protocols that acknowledge factors such as social differences and privacy of personal information. Safe practices underlie all experiences in the study of Digital Technologies.
Explain how digital systems represent whole numbers as a basis for representing all types of data
Describe the internal and external components of common digital systems, their functions and interactions, and identify different connections for digital networks
Examine the opportunities and consequences including sustainability of using information systems to meet community and national needs and suggest new applications of these systems
Acquire, store and validate different types of data, and interpret and visualise data in context to create information
Define problems in terms of data and functional requirements, and describe common characteristics and elements of similar problems
Follow, modify and describe simple algorithms involving sequence of steps, decisions, and repetitions that are represented diagrammatically and in plain English
Design and implement digital solutions using visual programs with user input, branching and iteration
Use a range of communication tools and agreed social protocols when collaborating on projects and creating, communicating and sharing ideas and information online
By the end of Year 6, students explain how digital systems may represent numbers and letters using binary numbers. They describe the functions of digital system components and identify how different networks are connected. Students make judgments about whether information systems meet community and national needs and suggest new applications.
Students apply a range of techniques to acquire, validate, interpret and visualise data. They define problems in terms of their data and functional requirements. They follow, describe and modify algorithms, and implement digital solutions with simple user interfaces, involving branching, repetition or iteration. They co-develop social protocols and demonstrate respectful behaviour when collaborating on projects and creating and communicating ideas and information in online environments.
The Digital Technologies curriculum comprises two interrelated strands: Knowledge and understanding and Processes and production skills. Teaching and learning programs should balance and integrate both strands. Together the strands focus on developing students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in computational thinking and on students engaging with a wider range of information systems as they broaden their experiences from personal and local to national, regional and global.
In Years 7 and 8, students think computationally by preferring automated solutions, structuring data in a manner that helps computation, and understanding why digital systems require unambiguous instructions. They develop abstractions by identifying common elements while decomposing apparently different problems and systems, and recognise that abstractions hide irrelevant details for particular purposes. They further develop their understanding of the vital role that data play in their lives, and that their quality and availability directly impact on the success of their problem-solving when working computationally.
Students learn to describe step-by-step computational instructions. They practise stating key decisions in diagrammatical form, typically through flowcharts, and in plain English such as by using pseudocode. They progress from using visual programming in Year 6 to general-purpose programming languages when implementing and modifying programs that involve branching, iteration and subprograms.
Students identify the sequences and steps involved in tasks, with some autonomy. They develop plans to manage tasks, including safe and responsible use of information systems, and apply management plans to successfully manage their time, tasks and data when problem-solving individually and in teams.
Students develop an understanding of how different social contexts impact on how they should approach communicating in online environments. They consider ways of managing the exchange of ideas and files when working in online teams, focusing on the application of technical protocols such as file management and techniques for monitoring progress and feedback.
Students apply practices that comply with legal obligations, particularly with respect to the ownership of information, and demonstrate an understanding of respect when communicating and collaborating in online environments. Safe practices underlie all experiences in the study of Digital Technologies.
Digital Technologies knowledge and understanding
Explain how raw text, image and audio data are represented in binary
Explain how data are transmitted and secured in wired, wireless and mobile networks, and understand how the specifications of hardware components impact on applications
Evaluate the extent to which information systems meet personal, local, regional and global information and communication needs, and anticipate future risks and benefits for economic, environmental and social sustainability
Collect and acquire data from a range of sources and evaluate authenticity, accuracy and timeliness
Analyse and visualise data (including numerical, categorical, audiovisual and text data) using appropriate software
Model processes and objects using structured data
Define real-world problems and decompose them taking into account usability and technical, economic, environmental and social constraints
Trace algorithms to predict output for a given input and to identify errors, and describe algorithms diagrammatically and in plain English
Develop and modify programs with user interfaces involving branching, repetition or iteration and subprograms in a general-purpose programming language
Manage the sequence of tasks, the types of processes and the resources needed to develop software that meets user requirements
Select and apply generally accepted social and technical protocols when creating and sharing information online, and collaborating with local, regional and global audiences, taking into account social contexts
By the end of Year 8, students differentiate between hardware and software components appropriate for designated purposes, and explain some ways in which data are represented, transmitted and secured in common networks. Students evaluate information systems suggesting how to minimise risks, maximise benefits and promote sustainability for local, national and global communities.
Students select quality data from appropriate data sources, and manipulate and structure data to model phenomena and draw logical conclusions to solve problems. They use given techniques to define and analyse problems and decompose these into subprograms considering constraints, and trace and test algorithms and programs with branching, repetition or iteration and subprograms. They implement these using a general-purpose programming language. They create web-based information that meets specific needs, consider social differences and ethical dilemmas when managing collaborative online projects and apply practices to protect identity and the security and integrity of personal data.
The Digital Technologies curriculum comprises two interrelated strands: Knowledge and understanding and Processes and production skills. Teaching and learning programs should balance and integrate both strands. Together the strands focus on developing students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in computational thinking and on students engaging in more specialised programs in preparation for vocational training or learning in the senior secondary years.
In Years 9 and 10, students think computationally by seeking opportunities to automate complex tasks and analyse data, manipulate data to help computation, and understand what happens when instructions do not match their intention. They learn how to decompose problems and systems into multilevel abstractions, identify standard elements such as searching and sorting in algorithms, and explore the trade-off between the simplicity of a model and the faithfulness of its representation. They broaden their understanding of the importance of quality data by exploring techniques that remove bias from the data collection process.
Students consolidate their skills in methods of expressing solutions such as by using pseudocode and diagrams, and broaden their skills to improve the accuracy and logic of their algorithms. They practise appropriate methods including desk checking to predict the relationship between inputs and outputs and develop test cases to validate the capacity of algorithms to meet requirements. Students build on their knowledge of modular, digital solutions to complex problems through using visual, object-oriented and/or scripting tools and environments. They further develop skills in identifying and correcting errors using debugging techniques.
Students progressively become more skilled at identifying the steps involved in planning the creation of solutions and developing detailed time and action plans to manage a range of tasks safely. They learn to use management plans to manage their time, tasks and data when problem-solving individually and in teams, changing direction when necessary.
Students consolidate practices that comply with legal obligations, particularly with respect to the ownership of information, and demonstrate an understanding of respect when communicating and collaborating in online environments. Safe practices underlie all experiences in the study of Digital Technologies.
Explain how text, audio, image and video data are stored in binary with compression
Explain the role of software and hardware components for managing and controlling access, data and communication in networked digital systems
Critique information systems and policies, and anticipate future risks and opportunities for transforming lives and societies
Develop systematic techniques for acquiring, storing and validating quantitative and qualitative data from a range of sources, considering privacy and security requirements
Use appropriate software to analyse and visualise data (including numerical, categorical, text, audiovisual and relational data) to create information and address complex problems
Model processes, objects and their relationships using structured data
Precisely define and decompose real-world problems, taking into account functional and non-functional requirements and including interviewing stakeholders to elicit needs and assumptions
Trace complex algorithms to predict output for a given input, develop test cases to validate algorithms against their specifications, and describe algorithms diagrammatically and in plain English
Collaboratively develop modular digital solutions, applying appropriate algorithms and data structures using visual, object-oriented and/or scripting tools and environments
Use agile development techniques to iteratively and collaboratively develop (design, implement and test) software that meets user requirements
Manage online projects taking into account social contexts and legal responsibilities, and evaluate their success in creating enterprising and social opportunities
By the end of Year 10, students develop strategies and techniques to obtain and validate the integrity of data and derive accurate information to meet opportunities and perceived future needs. They describe the role of hardware and software components in the management and control of data in networked information systems. Students evaluate information systems and policies, anticipating future risks, ethical dilemmas and opportunities for sustainably transforming lives and societies.
Students apply techniques to acquire relevant data for manipulation, meeting privacy and security requirements. They select appropriate data structures and model relationships between entities. Students precisely define real-world problems by eliciting requirements, validate modular algorithms against specifications, and collaboratively develop modular digital solutions including using object-oriented programming. They manage and evaluate projects, demonstrate social sensitivity, and are aware of their legal responsibilities. They use software tools appropriately and ethically to implement strategies to improve the efficiency of managing design, production and evaluation processes in creating digital solutions that create enterprising opportunities and transform lives and societies.
agile development techniques
augmented reality (AR)
cloud-based bookmarking tools
a collection of data organised so the contents can be easily accessed, managed and updated
drawing and modelling standards
exploded view drawing
file transfer protocol (FTP)
food and fibre production
general-purpose programming language
graphics and modelling
hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP)
life cycle thinking
low-input sustainable agriculture (LISA)
object-oriented programming language
radiofrequency identification (RFID)
structured query language (SQL)
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)