For many years, Australia has used the Digital Technologies Curriculum to prepare students for the future. While most teachers are familiar with Version 8.4, ACARA has recently reviewed the curriculum released Version 9 – which is set to provide numerous improvements for teachers and students.
Given that all schools are expected to switch to Version 9 by 2025, it is important for teachers to prepare themselves for the switch. This is especially the case for Years 7 and 8 which saw some of the most significant changes.
In this article, we’re going to dive into Version 9 of the Digital Technologies Curriculum as it relates to years 7 & 8. We’ll look not only at what to expect when teaching these subjects, but how the curriculum has changed from Version 8.4 for experienced teachers.
Without further delay, let’s dive in.
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What Is Digital Technologies Years 7-8 Curriculum Version 9?
As those coming from version 8.4 know, the Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum provides content descriptions so teaching resources can be accurately and correctly matched to expected learning outcomes suitable for the digital age.
For years 7-8 students, the Digital Technologies Curriculum focuses on advancing their skills to meet secondary school standards.
To ensure that these students have a smooth transition to Secondary School, version 9 of the Digital Technologies Curriculum makes several improvements, including making the content descriptions easier to understand, removing content duplicates and much more.
Version 9 applies these changes to multiple topics within the two major content strands: Knowledge and Understanding and Processes and Production skills. They apply the changes to the sub-strands within, with each one gaining improvements, so the more complex teachings become easier to understand.
At current, Version 9 is out and available for early adopters who want to get a head start on learning and adapting to these new curriculum standards. Full roll-out, however, is expected by 2025 at the latest to make sure the entire country is operating at peak efficiency.
What Content Is Available For Years 7-8 Within Version 9 Of The Digital Technologies Curriculum?
Although you now know some of the general goals of version 9 of the Digital Technologies Curriculum for years 7-8, you need to learn more about the specific content included within the new curriculum.
Here are the main goals for the years 7-8 content in version 9 of the curriculum.
- It will provide students with more opportunities to apply computational thinking to problems. Specifically, it will show them how to use computational thinking to identify and completely deconstruct real-world issues. Moreover, it shows them how to do this by making algorithms (and editing them) and using programming languages to implement them.
- It makes students become more familiar with the divide and conquer method of problem-solving. The divide and conquer approach involves breaking down a problem into all its components.
- It can teach students to improve how they interpret data. For example, students will improve how they decipher the meaning of specific data and learn how to validate it. Additionally, in years 7-8, students can learn how to use spreadsheets and databases to model data effectively.
- Years 7-8 students can learn how to improve design thinking and apply it to various problems. Specifically, they can learn how to apply specific methods to issues; some of these methods include graphic organisers, mind mapping and more. Additionally, students can use design criteria they apply to a problem to evaluate future issues.
- The curriculum will teach years 7-8 students how to apply systems thinking to real-world problems. The main goal of systems thinking is to make students understand the links between hardware capabilities and the tasks they want the hardware to perform. Additionally, they can learn how hardware transmits and receives data. They can also learn about personal security controls, including multi-factor authentication.
Now that you know the goals for version 9 of the years 7-8 Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum, you need to know the specific content and what students will gain from it.
Digital systems consist of two curriculum objectives.
The first one involves explaining to students how particular hardware specifications can affect the performance of a hardware product. Additionally, it entails describing how to choose the best hardware for a specific task or project and understanding what different hardware products specialise in (large workload tasks, for example).
The first sub-strand also highlights how hardware specs can affect First Nations communities (shared access to internet service can be slower with weaker hardware).
The second sub-strand includes learning how hardware products transmit data. Specifically, students will discover the difference between data transmission in a secured and unsecured server. Additionally, they can learn about basic algorithms for encryption and decryption and find out why they are essential for data transmission.
The data representation sub-strand has two objectives that mainly concern digital systems.
The first objective is to show students how a digital system represents certain variables, such as text, audio and images. For example, when focusing on text, the objective is to explain how a digital system represents it using number sequences.
The second objective is to focus on digital systems representing integers in binary. It will focus on how they do this and why. It will go into the most detail on how digital systems do this; it will focus on converting a character into binary by first converting it into its Unicode value.
Acquiring, Managing and Analysing Data
The acquiring, managing and analysing data strand takes up a significant portion of the Processes and Production Skills strand and consists of three curriculum objectives.
The first curriculum objective involves showing students how to acquire data. Additionally, it will show them how to store it once they acquire and validate it.
When it comes to acquiring data, it will specifically show students where they can obtain it from and how they can do it; it will show them how to get data using database and spreadsheet platforms.
The second curriculum objective focuses on analysing and visualising data. To show years 7-8 students how to do this, the curriculum shows methods of visualisation on spreadsheet and database software. Additionally, it explains in detail how spreadsheets and databases are the best methods for analysing and visualising data because you can easily find trends.
The third curriculum objective surrounds the use of structured data. Specifically, using it to query and model the attributes of objects.
Investigating And Defining
The Investigating and Defining sub-strand has one primary curriculum objective; it aims to teach years 7-8 students how to define real-world problems, deconstruct them and investigate how to solve them.
Specifically, it will frame a real-world problem as a puzzle that students need to solve; they will need to determine why the issue is important and what the best possible solution outcome is.
To achieve the curriculum objective, the sub-strand includes information that helps students to understand how to define problems using user story creation and design criteria.
Generating And Designing
The Generating and Designing sub-strand is another extensive focal topic with several curriculum objectives.
The first Generating and Designing curriculum objective involves teaching students how to create basic designs for algorithms; this includes making them with nested control structures (control structures that are within other control structures). Additionally, the objective involves showing students how to represent algorithms with pseudocode and flowcharts.
The second Generating and Designing curriculum objective is to show students how to track algorithms. It also shows them why this is important; it is brilliant at finding potential errors within a system because you can predict the output for a particular input.
The third Generating and Designing curriculum objective is creating a brilliant User Interface (UI) for a digital system. It focuses on showing students all the essential digital tools they need to create a UI and will show them how to think like a customer so they can make a UI that will solve customer problems.
Additionally, it will focus on how UIs changed over time and what modern UIs do that is so successful.
The fourth and final Generating and Designing curriculum objective involves showing students how to create alternative designs. Additionally, it demonstrates how to take these designs and edit them, share them with others and evaluate them.
Producing And Implementing
The Producing and Implementing sub-strand is smaller than the others because it only has one curriculum objective.
The main focus of the sub-strand is to show students how to implement a digital program properly; it also demonstrates how to modify and edit programs and remove bugs from them.
Additionally, the curriculum objective provides crucial information on control structures and how to use the essential functions of several programming languages.
The Evaluating strand is self-explanatory; it is all about looking at existing solutions for problems and evaluating them to determine whether they work.
To ensure that students know how to evaluate solutions effectively, the sub-strand also details how to use design criteria, the potential future impact of a solution and user stories to correctly assess it and determine if it works.
Collaborating And Managing
The collaborating and Managing sub-strand is highly relevant as it focuses on skills students can use in their professional lives; it contains two curriculum objectives.
The first Collaborating and Managing curriculum objective focuses on using digital tools to perform various tasks, including creating new content, locating existing content and communicating it to others. Additionally, it will ensure that students understand common conventions when creating new content (for example, using headings and paragraphs for organisation).
The second Collaborating and Managing curriculum objective builds on the first but mainly focuses on using digital tools for communicative and collaborative purposes. For example, it provides information on how to share online content using digital tools and how to plan projects for small and large teams.
Privacy And Security
The Privacy and Security strand may be less exciting for year 7 or 8 students. Still, it is vital because it can help them protect themselves online and secure any digital products they make.
The first Privacy and Security curriculum objective delves into multi-factor authentication. Specifically, it makes students understand how multi-factor authentication works and how it can secure a digital system. Additionally, it can show students how to find potential cyber threats to security systems (such as phishing attacks).
The second Privacy and Security curriculum objective involves understanding the digital footprint of digital systems. Additionally, it has information to show them how to find and evaluate data to determine if it is vital to a digital system’s footprint.
What Are The Desired Outcomes For Years 7-8 During The V9 Digital Technologies Curriculum
Now you know all the main teachings within the years 7-8 Digital Technologies curriculum, you need to know what achievements the curriculum expects for students who reach the end of year 8.
End of year 8 digital tech students should know how to:
- Deconstruct real problems and create digital solutions to solve them (and evaluate current solutions).
- Obtain, decipher and model data to represent it with binary and integers (using spreadsheets).
- Create and trace complex algorithms and use programming languages to implement them.
- Select high-level hardware to solve problems.
- Understand data transmission.
- Identify cyber security risks and threats.
- Choose digital tools for planning, creating, collaborating on and managing projects.
- Manage their digital footprint.
What Are The Changes Between Version 9 And Version 8.4 Of The Years 7-8 Digital Technologies Australian Curriculum?
As well as the content itself being different for years 7-8 students in version 9 of the Digital Technologies Curriculum, there are also plenty of other differences.
Here are some changes for years 7-8 students within V9 of the digital technologies curriculum.
Easier To Understand Content Descriptions For Years 7-8
The most straightforward change for Version 9 of the Digital Technologies Curriculum is that the content descriptions are more concise.
The content descriptions in version 8.4 of the curriculum were considered too confusing and often didn’t focus on a specific objective. In contrast, the new content descriptions are easy for even students to understand and have more focus.
Duplicated Teaching Resources Will Be A Much Smaller Problem For Years 7-8
A problem with some curriculum objectives in the old version is that they repeat some teachings and ideas from other subjects.
The new curriculum avoids this problem, so years 7-8 students will get all the information from digital tech subjects without reading any information they already learned from a different one.
They Will Link Achievements Much Closer To Years 7-8 Teaching Content
A significant problem with the old version of the Digital Technologies Curriculum for years 7-8 is that it doesn’t have clear achievements that link directly to the teaching objectives; the achievements are too broad and could fit any curriculum objective description.
In contrast, the curriculum achievements for V9 link very closely to the content descriptions because they directly relate to the teachings; they are not too broad and vague.
The Content Will Highlight How Years 7-8 Digital Technologies Strands Link Together
The two strands of the Digital Technologies curriculum closely link together. However, version 8.4 of the curriculum doesn’t highlight the links between the strands as much as it should.
In contrast, version 9 uses the information from the Knowledge and Understanding strand and builds upon them with the teachings from the Processes and Production skills strand. For example, the first strand will explain digital systems to students, and the second will explain how to design specific elements for them (algorithms, UI, etc.).
Where Can You Find Years 7-8 Version 9 Digital Technologies Resources?
Although many current resources for digital technologies will still be good for Version 9, it doesn’t hurt to reevaluate what you’re using – especially if it’s to make sure everything still matches the expected outcomes.
Zenva Schools is a fantastic place to start if you’d like modern and relevant teaching resources that will suit Australian Curriculum standards.
In terms of Digital Technologies, the platform offers a ton of course content focused on: coding, game development, digital literacy, STEAM, data analysis, and more. Additionally, all the course content is suitable for multiple different learning types, as they come with video lessons, written summaries of course content, downloadable source files, quizzes, interactive activities, and beyond.
Zenva Schools also offers teachers their own professional development area so they can use the same courses to improve their own skillsets.
How do you know these resources match Version 9, though? Well, Zenva Schools provides pre-mapped lesson plans for both Version 8.4 and, now, Version 9 of the Digital Technologies Curriculum. Thus, you can be assured each course matches the content descriptors provided by the standards.
Zenva Schools doesn’t stop there though. With analytics for tracking student progress and classroom management tools to organize your students, it’s a feature-fulled platform that will surely keep your classroom running efficiently.
With up-to-date content, these courses are well-prepared for the transition to Version 9 and will make sure you’re ready for the next wave of students.
Conclusion: What Does The Australian Curriculum Review Mean For Years 7-8 Digital Technologies Students And Teachers?
The switch to Version 9 of the Digital Technologies Curriculum will usher in a new age for years 7/8 – one that is better equipped to handle the needs of the future.
With this version, it will be clearer than ever what you, as a teacher, need to focus on. The transparent descriptions, closer achievement matching, and more will help you pick great resources for your lesson plans, all with the aim of providing students with a quality education.
Plus, plenty of platforms like Zenva Schools are already on top of mapping content to Version 9, so now is a great time to start looking to the future.
Hopefully, this information has prepared you, but you can follow up by visiting the main site for Version 9.
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