Life is a curriculum unique to every studentJoyce Rachelle
Curricula are decisions made on what students should learn, and in Australia, we have developed a national curriculum that defines what all Australian students should learn at school. In this course, you will be learning about one of the eight learning areas of the Australian Curriculum, the Technologies Learning Area. While the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) has some advice on the Technologies curriculum, in general, Queensland follows the Australian Curriculum: Technologies learning area as developed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).
As a teacher you will be expected to teach your students what is detailed in the curriculum, and report through student assessment on how effective this has been. How you teach, your pedagogy, is generally up to individual teachers, though some schools have developed common approaches, and in larger schools you may need to conform to a group approach with other teachers of your year level.
This week we will be exploring the Technologies learning area curriculum.
Optional readings/video clips not addressed by the weekly quiz are shaded with a grey background.
While Design Technologies has existed in schools for some time, it has evolved from a tradition of arts and craft to have a formal design focus, and more recently, on developing Design Thinking. It leads into subjects such as agriculture, industrial design and home economics, containing many of the developmental knowledge and skills for these subjects.
Digital Technologies is a new subject, and quite different to how computing has been taught in most schools where the focus has been on ICT and ICT integration into all learning areas. ICT refer to tools – software, hardware and communication tools. This ICT aspect of computer education is now contained in the ICT General Capabilities that are taught in all subjects. Digital Technologies is more closely aligned with computer science and software development (programming), and not how to use ICT tools.
The key difference between the Digital Technologies curriculum and the ICT general capability is that the capability helps students to become effective users of digital technologies (ICT) while the Digital Technologies curriculum helps students to become confident developers of digital solutions.
The introduction of a new subject into the compulsory (that all students learn) school curriculum is reasonably rare, last occurring in the 60’s with Geography. So why do we have this new Technologies curriculum and a new subject of Digital Technologies? Essentially, student interest in Computer Education has been in decline since the turn of the century, with numbers decreasing in senior subjects and similar impact in tertiary studies, and this has occurred despite widespread adoption of digital technologies by all industries and acknowledgement that most newly created jobs will require an in-depth understanding of computing.
This has largely been a systemic failure resulting from our focus on ICT education and integration, where the learning of applications such as the office suite, multimedia, the internet, etc. became trivialised, with students seeing little value in studying subjects to learn things they were readily teaching themselves.
In response, the Digital Technologies subject has been developed, differentiating Computing from Design and Technology, but acknowledging the similarity in processes by encompassing both subjects in a learning area of Technologies.
Digital Technologies is the study of how modern technologies work and the creation of solutions to problems through the development of digital technologies. It is different to previous ICT studies that taught students how to use technology, now the expectation is that students will create their own digital technologies. Learning how to use digital technologies is now distributed across all Learning Areas through the ICT General Capabilities, including Digital Technologies (so you can still teach students how to use a particular tool – when it is useful to their studies of the subject, such as a programming language), but the focus of the subject is not on learning how to use technology – including technologies such as robotics and programming languages, but how we can create with technology – particularly the creation of solutions to problems.
This is a huge change in thinking and one that will take teachers a while to come to terms with, but whichever approach is taken by teachers, the Technologies Learning Area is primarily concerned with students creating solutions to problems, not learning how to use ICT tools.
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 and who can independently and collaboratively develop solutions to complex challenges and contribute to sustainable patterns of living. Technologies can play an important role in transforming, restoring and sustaining societies and natural, managed and constructed environments.
The Australian Curriculum: Technologies ensures that all students benefit from learning about and working with traditional, contemporary and emerging technologies that shape the world in which we live. By applying their knowledge and practical skills and processes when using technologies and other resources to create innovative solutions, independently and collaboratively, they develop knowledge, understanding and skills to respond creatively to current and future needs.
The practical nature of the Technologies learning area engages students in critical and creative thinking, including understanding interrelationships in systems when solving complex problems. A systematic approach to experimentation, problem-solving, prototyping and evaluation instils in students the value of planning and reviewing processes to realise ideas.
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. Students need opportunities to consider the use and impact of technological solutions on equity, ethics, and personal and social values. In creating solutions, as well as responding to the designed world, students consider desirable sustainable patterns of living, and contribute to preferred futures for themselves and others.
The Australian Curriculum: Technologies aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to ensure that, individually and collaboratively, students:
- investigate, design, plan, manage, create and evaluate solutions;
- are creative, innovative and enterprising when using traditional, contemporary and emerging technologies, and understand how technologies have developed over time;
- make informed and ethical decisions about the role, impact and use of technologies in the economy, environment and society for a sustainable future;
- engage confidently with and responsibly select and manipulate appropriate technologies − materials, data, systems, components, tools and equipment − when designing and creating solutions; and
- critique, analyse and evaluate problems, needs or opportunities to identify and create solutions.
Discipline vs General Capabilities
- ICT vs Digital Technologies
- DT focus on Computational Thinking
- Critical and Creative Thinking vs Design and Technologies
- D&T focus on Design Thinking
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
In the Australian Curriculum, students develop Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capability as they learn to use ICT effectively and appropriately to access, create and communicate information and ideas, solve problems and work collaboratively in all learning areas at school and in their lives beyond school. ICT capability involves students learning to make the most of the digital technologies available to them, adapting to new ways of doing things as technologies evolve and limiting the risks to themselves and others in a digital environment.
To participate in a knowledge-based economy and to be empowered within a technologically sophisticated society now and into the future, students need the knowledge, skills and confidence to make ICT work for them at school, at home, at work and in their communities. Information and communication technologies are fast and automated, interactive and multimodal, and they support the rapid communication and representation of knowledge to many audiences and its adaptation in different contexts. They transform the ways that students think and learn and give them greater control over how, where and when they learn.
The nature and scope of ICT capability is not fixed, but is responsive to ongoing technological developments. This is evident in the emergence of advanced internet technology over the past few years and the resulting changes in the ways that students construct knowledge and interact with others.
Students develop capability in using ICT for tasks associated with information access and management, information creation and presentation, problem-solving, decision-making, communication, creative expression and empirical reasoning. This includes conducting research, creating multimedia information products, analysing data, designing solutions to problems, controlling processes and devices, and supporting computation while working independently and in collaboration with others.
Students develop knowledge, skills and dispositions around ICT and its use, and the ability to transfer these across environments and applications. They learn to use ICT with confidence, care and consideration, understanding its possibilities, limitations and impact on individuals, groups and communities.
Critical and Creative Thinking
In the Australian Curriculum, 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 involves students thinking 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.
Thinking that is productive, purposeful and intentional is at the centre of effective learning. By applying a sequence of thinking skills, students develop an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the processes they can use whenever they encounter problems, unfamiliar information and new ideas. In addition, the progressive development of knowledge about thinking and the practice of using thinking strategies can increase students’ motivation for, and management of, their own learning. They become more confident and autonomous problem-solvers and thinkers.
Responding to the challenges of the twenty-first century – with its complex environmental, social and economic pressures – requires young people to be creative, innovative, enterprising and adaptable, with the motivation, confidence and skills to use critical and creative thinking purposefully.
This capability combines two types of thinking: critical thinking and creative thinking. Though the two are not interchangeable, they are strongly linked, bringing complementary dimensions to thinking and learning.
Critical thinking is at the core of most intellectual activity that involves students learning to recognise or develop an argument, use evidence in support of that argument, draw reasoned conclusions, and use information to solve problems. Examples of critical thinking skills are interpreting, analysing, evaluating, explaining, sequencing, reasoning, comparing, questioning, inferring, hypothesising, appraising, testing and generalising.
Creative thinking involves students learning to generate and apply new ideas in specific contexts, seeing existing situations in a new way, identifying alternative explanations, and seeing or making new links that generate a positive outcome. This includes combining parts to form something original, sifting and refining ideas to discover possibilities, constructing theories and objects, and acting on intuition. The products of creative endeavour can involve complex representations and images, investigations and performances, digital and computer-generated output, or occur as virtual reality.
Concept formation is the mental activity that helps us compare, contrast and classify ideas, objects, and events. Concept learning can be concrete or abstract and is closely allied with metacognition. What has been learnt can be applied to future examples. It underpins the organising elements.
Dispositions such as inquisitiveness, reasonableness, intellectual flexibility, open- and fair-mindedness, a readiness to try new ways of doing things and consider alternatives, and persistence promote and are enhanced by critical and creative thinking.
Knowledge and Understanding, Processes and Production, Thinking Skills
- Strands of Knowledge and Understanding and Processes and Production
- Integration via Systems, Futures and Strategic Thinking
- Creating Solutions focus
Design and Technologies
Knowledge and understanding
Technologies and society
- the use, development and impact of technologies in people’s lives
- technologies and design across a range of technologies contexts
Processes and production skills
Creating designed solutions by:
- investigating and defining
- generating and designing
- producing and implementing
- collaborating and managing
Knowledge and understanding
- the components of digital systems: hardware, software and networks and their use
Representation of data
- how data are represented and structured symbolically
Collecting, managing and analysing data
Creating digital solutions by:
- investigating and defining
- generating and designing
- producing and implementing
- collaborating and managing
Attend the tutorial to further explore the concepts presented this week. This week you will not have prepared lesson plans to share and receive feedback on, and then simulate using SimSchool. Instead we will explore how SimSchool works, how you should develop your lesson plans, and conduct some classroom activities that you can use as stimulus in developing your lesson plans for next week.
Introduction to SimSchool
In tutorial this week you will learn about the simSchool simulation. You will need to create an account. 10 seconds in SimSchool represents 1 minute in real time.
Digital Technologies Activity
Preparation for Week 2
Create two lessons plans, one for Design & Technologies and one for Digital Technologies. You will share these in tutorial next week and conduct simulated teaching of your lessons. These count 0.5% each to your Log of Learning Activities.
While you are free to develop Lesson Plans on any Australian Curriculum: Technologies topics you wish, if you are stuck for ideas, prepare a Digital Technologies lesson to teach Year 1 students to Follow, describe and represent a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve simple problems (ACTDIP004), using BeeBot robots, and/or a Design and Technologies lesson to teach Year 4 students to Investigate how forces and the properties of materials affect the behaviour of a product or system (ACTDEK011), using a Tower Design task.
Week 2 Digital Technologies Lesson Plan
In tutorial small groups you will share the Digital Technologies lesson plan you have developed for next week.
Submit your Digital Technologies lesson plan developed for the Week 2 tutorial by the start of next weeks tutorial. It counts 0.5% towards your Log of Learning Activities.
Week 2 Design and Technologies Lesson Plan
In tutorial small groups you will share the Design and Technologies lesson plan you have developed for next week.
Submit your Design and Technologies lesson plan developed for the Week 2 tutorial by the start of next weeks tutorial. It counts 0.5% towards your Log of Learning Activities.