The Australian Curriculum: Technologies describes two distinct but related subjects:
- Design and Technologies, in which students use design thinking and technologies to generate and produce designed solutions for authentic needs and opportunities
- Digital Technologies, in which students use computational thinking and information systems to define, design and implement digital solutions.
[Video & Extract: Australian Curriculum]
What are Digital Technologies?
Digital technologies are part of our everyday lives. We use them all the time. We use them for work and at home. They make our lives easier, efficient and incredibly time saving. They help us to make informed decisions on everything from what to wear, when and how we perform daily chores like the washing to the cooking.
Digital Technologies are the handy apps or the computerised washing machines that beeps when the cycle is done to becoming dependent on Siri to ask all sorts of questions like what the weather will be on the day so you know how to dress for the day!
Do the following everyday activities involving digital technologies sound familiar?
- Wake up by your alarm app on your phone
- Your toaster beeps when the toast is ready
- Use your weather app to decide what to wear
- Know when to hang the washing as your machine plays music when the cycle is finished
- Check emails on your phone, tablet or laptop
- Listen to music on your Ipod
- Budget your finances using a budgeting app
- Get news alert messages on your phone as events unfold
The list is endless ….. we are very much reliant and dependent on these handy digital technologies to help us live and function every day.
Although many of us are eager users of digital technologies, we have little understanding of HOW they work, and HOW they are actually created.
- How is a smart phone actually made?
- How does information get sent to my phone, and a text message like notifications pops up to alert me of breaking news?
- How can we become creators of digital technologies and not just users?
What’s the change in the Australian curriculum for Digital Technologies?
Previous schooling curriculum focused on digital literacy rather than digital technologies. Digital literacy is more about how we can use digital technology whereas digital technologies is about how we can become creators of digital technology solutions.
There is now a strong awareness for children to understand HOW digital technologies work and HOW they are created, and the underpinning thinking required to develop new digital technologies.
There is a strong emphasis on giving children the opportunity to become not just users of digital technologies but creators of digital technology.
The curriculum features computational thinking which is the way of thinking and problem solving, critical for developing new digital technologies.
The aim of the national curriculum is to strengthen this way of thinking so that children can solve and think about every day problems effectively, and to also apply them to the creation of digital technologies.
Why learn Digital Technologies?
Digital technologies is not just about sitting in a room playing with a computer – it is so much more than that.
Digital Technologies is about changing the world.
I quote from my studies on digital technologies, an extract:
The study of digital technologies and computational thinking into Australian classrooms ensures that Australian youth move from being users of technology, produced elsewhere, to becoming world leaders in developing new technological innovations and solutions.
Code plays an important role in the creation of digital technologies but more critically, the study of digital technologies equips students to develop fundamental skills that will become crucial for creating code and solutions.
[Source: Learnings from F-6 Digital Technologies: Foundation]