Digital Technologies Curriculum – What are we already doing in the lower years?

Three pieces of work completed in Prep – Year 2 over this past year are useful to use as examples to show our teachers the outcomes they are already meeting in the new Digital Technologies Curriculum in the lower years.  With a very cluttered curriculum already,  it is important to be able to reassure teachers that the implementation of this curriculum is not going to necessarily mean another time allocation to yet another curriculum area.  This is especially so in the younger years.

One could easily think that this new curriculum is only about coding – but it’s much more than this.  I think the notion of coding has been something tangible and news-worthy the media (and government) has been able to easily use to further their causes.  And I think it’s fantastic that coding is being considered to be important because after all, our job as educators is to prepare students for their future and their future is almost certainly going to involve the use of technologies and computer systems in some way.   But really, the coding element up until Year 3 is essentially computational thinking and this is all about building a basic grounding or understanding before coding is approached.   And this can easily be worked into maths and other curriculum areas in ways that enhance engagement, problem solving and creativity.

So, this post is not about the coding element of the Digital Technologies Curriculum.   There is much creative work to do in this area and much though to be applied to how this area can be approached strategically so that engagement is high and application across the curriculum is clear.    This post is about the other components of this curriculum which are equally important to understand. The continuing journey our school is on means that many of these areas are already embedded in what we are doing in other curriculum areas.  With just a few minor tweaks,  meeting these particular outcomes is going to be very achievable.


Three Billy Goats Gruff – Prep

Year One – Pigeon Digital Text

Year Two – Water Conservation at out school

Recognising and Exploring Digital Systems for a purpose (ACTDIK001) – this content description can be see in one or more of the above examples through:

  • the way the children have played with digital systems to capture data, for example, all of the samples above contain the recording of audio with the Year 2 example containing photos that the students have captured from a walk around the school.
  • the way the children manipulated the devices to take images, store them and then retrieve them for the purpose intended.

Collect, Explore and Sort Data and use Digital Systems to present data creatively (ACTIDIP003) – this content description can be seen in one or more of the above examples through:

  • the purposeful use of visual data (Year 2 example) – the photos of water conservation
  • the use of common apps to present data creatively – iBook, movie, and screen recording (puppet show)

In deciding to upload and share any of these creations, and particularly the Year Two example which contains images of the school and the children,  the children and the teacher could discuss why and how to do this.   The content description ACTDIP006 “Create and organise ideas and information using information systems independently and with others, and share these with known people in safe online environments” can be demonstrated here.  Concepts associated with Digital Citizenship, Social Media and Internet Safety are key to this description.

Minor tweaks and/or additions to the above activities to all an even deeper coverage of this curriculum area might include:

  • data could have been collected from the Year 1 children about the types of pigeon stories they were generating and this could have been displayed in different ways including graphs (picture graphs)
  • the data collected from the Year 2 Water Conservation activity could have been displayed in different ways which might have included some graphs
  • this same data could have been sorted in different ways when the children were back in the classroom
  • some mind mapping could have been part of the activity for Year 2 to display their data.

As a school, there are many decisions we need to make about the way we will approach the implementation of this curriculum.  It’s a useful activity first however, to look at what we are already doing and to unpack this as it relates to the elaborations of the content descriptions.      Although ICT as a General Capability is quite different to the content contained in the Digital Technologies curriculum, the approach ACARA has taken with ICT means that for many schools, the excellent work being done already just needs to be understood, appreciated, mapped and then expanded upon in order for further progress to be made.

A challenge for schools is to decide on what path they will take to implement the rest of the curriculum – that which they can’t already map and that which is new.   Should all teachers have an understanding of coding??  Or will forcing this upon teachers mean that that the kids they work also end up with a negative view of the skills and knowledge involved?  Or should we instead, support teachers to do what they already do very well – support them to expand on these skills, encouraging them to make language, processes and outcomes more explicit and consistent as related to ICT use across the school.    Then, alongside this, utilise the very specific expertise and skills that some of our teachers already have to support the development of a coding mindset in our young people.  This kind of mindset would encourage an understanding of computational thinking and its power to solve problems and to make an impact on the world around them.

Interesting questions………..

 

 

 

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