In Digital Technologies, students are actively engaged in the processes of analysing problems and opportunities, designing, developing and evaluating digital solutions, and creating and sharing information that meets a range of current and future needs. Students learn to safely and ethically exploit the capacity of information systems to create digital solutions. These solutions and information are created through the application of computational, design and systems thinking, and technical skills.
Underpinning the learning in Digital Technologies is a set of key concepts (outlined below) that establish a way of thinking about problems, opportunities and information systems and provide a framework for knowledge and practice.
The key concepts of abstraction, data collection, representation and interpretation, specification, algorithms and development correspond to the key elements of computational thinking. Collectively these concepts span the key ideas about the organisation, representation and automation of digital solutions and information. They can be explored in non-digital or digital contexts and are likely to underpin future digital systems and provide a language and perspective that students and teachers can use when discussing Digital Technologies.
|Abstraction||Abstraction involves hiding details of an idea, problem or solution that are not relevant, to focus on a manageable number of aspects. 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. Central to managing the complexity of information systems is the ability to ‘temporarily ignore’ the internal details of the subcomponents of larger specifications, algorithms, systems or interactions. In digital systems, everything must be broken down into simple instructions.|
|Data collection, representation and interpretation|
The data concepts focus on the properties of data, how they are collected and represented, and how they are interpreted in context to produce information.
|Specification, algorithms and development|
The concepts of specification, algorithms and development focus on the precise definition and communication of problems and their solutions. This begins with the description of tasks and concludes in the accurate definition of computational problems and their algorithmic solutions. These concepts draw from logic, algebra and the language of mathematics, and can be related to the scientific method of recording experiments in science:
The digital systems concept focuses on the components of digital systems:
The broader definition of an information system that includes data, people, processes and digital systems falls under the interactions and impacts concept.
|Interactions and impacts|
The interactions and impacts concept focuses 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:
When students are problem-solving and creating and communicating information, they will apply skills and protocols to meet their legal, safety, cultural and ethical obligations and responsibilities. For example, protocols such as using acceptable language, acknowledging different cultural practices, and using passwords and privacy settings on social media sites are applied to increase the security of personal data and to respect participants in online environments.
Students draw on the content of the Data and Information, and Digital Systems strands when applying processes and technical skills pertaining to the Creating Digital Solutions strand. Within this strand, students apply the interrelated processes of analysing, designing, developing and evaluating to create digital solutions. The processes can be applied using an agile or sequential approach.
As problems become more complex, and solutions more sophisticated, it becomes increasingly necessary for students to develop skills in abstraction. Solutions may be developed using combinations of readily available hardware and software applications, and/or specific instructions provided through programming. Students may also engage in learning activities that do not require the full use of all of the processes. This means there is greater flexibility about when different content descriptions are introduced into the learning program within a band.
There are strong connections between Digital Technologies and some other discipline-based learning areas.
The Digital Technologies curriculum provides contexts within which Mathematics understanding, fluency, logical reasoning, analytical thought and problem-solving skills can be applied and developed. In particular, computational thinking draws on mathematical understanding and skills. An understanding of data and data analysis skills will enhance students’ abilities to analyse patterns and trends, and logical reasoning will support the design of algorithms.
The Digital Technologies curriculum complements many aspects of the Science curriculum. Digital Technologies equips students with many techniques and skills for facilitating the collection, organisation, storage, analysis and presentation of qualitative and quantitative scientific data to enable evidence-based conclusions to be drawn from investigations. Digital Technologies enables students to use simulations and animations to support the development of their understanding of scientific concepts and models and to test predictions about scientific phenomena that may be difficult to explore through first-hand investigations.
The Digital Technologies curriculum complements aspects of the Geography curriculum. In Digital Technologies students learn how to collect, sort, validate, represent and manipulate data and information, as well as recognise patterns in datasets. These skills are applied in Geography, for example, when students develop spatial understandings through creating, interpreting and using maps, and collecting fieldwork data and processing them.
The Digital Technologies curriculum complements aspects of The Arts curriculum, particularly with respect to design and using digital systems. In Digital Technologies students engage in design thinking as part of the Creating Digital Solutions stand. These skills are also applied in The Arts as students generate alternative ideas, select and apply design principles and elements and sequence decisions and events. In Digital Technologies students learn about the functionality of a range of digital systems, and these skills are applied when transforming ideas into art forms.
Information Communication Technologies (ICT) are powerful tools that can support student learning. Students can develop and demonstrate their understanding of concepts and content in Digital Technologies through using a range of ICT tools. It is also important that students know how to use these ICT efficiently and responsibly, as well as learning how to protect themselves and secure their data.
Details of how ICT can support student learning in Digital Technologies is set out in the attached Information Communication Technologies and Digital Technologies pdf.