Does the new Digital Technologies curriculum require students to use an extensive range of digital devices?
The Digital Technologies curriculum is as much about using different ways of thinking when problem-solving as it is about applying technical skills to operate digital devices. It is estimated that 50 percent of the curriculum can be taught without students using digital devices (this is often referred to as 'unplugged' activities), hence it is not technology demanding.
It is recommended that before schools consider purchasing new digital systems they conduct an audit of existing resources and match these against the types of technology specified in content descriptions. For example, depending on the level, three different types of programming languages are stated in the content descriptions:
- Levels 4-6 visual
- Levels 7-8 general-purpose
- Levels 9-10 object oriented
What is the difference between the Digital Technologies curriculum and ICT as a capability?
Digital Technologies focuses on developing students' thought processes in order to unravel problems, and then design and generate digital solutions to them. Whereas ICT as a general capability in the Australian Curriculum is about equipping students with technical skills and understandings of safe and secure digital practices to access, exchange and manipulate information that supports their learning in a range of endeavours.
Digital Technologies is underpinned by key principles of computer science. The curriculum involves students learning how to create digital solutions through the use of information systems and specific ways of thinking about problem-solving. Mainly through the application of logical reasoning (computational thinking), students learn how to tackle problems by breaking them down into appropriate chunks and then creating a set of steps and decisions (algorithmics) that can be carried out using a digital device to create a solution. Its emphasis is more on developing students' ability to think computationally, rather than on the use of a range of digital devices to produce information.
ICT as a general capability primarily involves students using digital devices to effectively communicate, collaborate and create resources using digital systems. The development and application of these capabilities is almost impossible to achieve without the use of digital devices. This contrasts starkly with the Digital Technologies curriculum where much learning occurs unplugged, however, students will still apply their ICT capabilities to help their learning in Digital Technologies.
More information about the relationship between Digital Technologies and ICT as a general capability can be found in the
Learning Areas and Capabilities and
Learning in Digital Technologies
What are the differences between Digital Technologies in the Victorian Curriculum and the Australian Curriculum version?
Some changes have been made to the Victorian Curriculum version of Digital Technologies, but they are more to do with structure rather than content. Points of comparison include:
In the Victorian Curriculum the content descriptions are organised around three strands: Digital Systems, Data and Information and Creating Digital Solutions, whereas in the Australian Curriculum there are two strands: Knowledge and Understandings, and Processes and Production Skills.
The names of the processes in the Victorian Curriculum are different to the Australian Curriculum version.
In Digital Technologies the processes are:
In the Australian Curriculum the processes are:
- Investigating and defining
- Generating and designing
- Producing and implementing
- Collaborating and managing
In the Victorian Curriculum, there is one set of achievement standards written in three paragraphs to align with the three strands. In the Australian Curriculum, there are two sets of achievements standards; one solely for Digital Technologies and one that incorporates both Digital Technologies and Design and Technologies.
Minor changes have been made to content descriptions.
More information about the strand structure can be found on the Structure
page of the Victorian Curriculum F–10 site.
Does Digital Technologies need to be offered as a stand-alone subject in secondary schools?
Schools in Victoria have flexibility in determining how a curriculum is implemented. Regardless of the delivery models selected by individual schools (for example, integrated or standalone offerings) explicit teaching of the content descriptions needs to occur. By level 7-8 in Digital Technologies, the content becomes quite technical and specialised, so schools need to be confident that whatever choice is made, students should have the best opportunities to progress in their learning of this curriculum.
Some guiding questions to help make this decision include:
- Who is best equipped to explicitly teach the content in a manner that is pedagogically appropriate to the area?
- Are there any timetable constraints that might affect the availability of human and physical resources?
- Are there opportunities to offer coherent learning programs that incorporate more than one learning area?