Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum Version 9 Guide

On 12 June 2020, education ministers decided that the current version of the Australian Curriculum (Version 8.4) should be reviewed and updated from Foundation to Year 10. This new curriculum, Version 9.0, will introduce changes, improvements, and refinements across every subject – including Digital Technologies. 

With Digital Technologies Version 9 being released sometime in 2022, along with the rest of the new curriculum, many teachers are now preparing to adapt to the new changes. But what exactly will Digital Technologies Version 9 mean for teachers, schools, and students? This guide will explain everything we know so far about Version 9 of the Australian Curriculum.

Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum Version 9: Everything You Need To Know

What Is Digital Technologies In The Australian Curriculum?

Digital Technologies in the current version 8.4 of the Australian Curriculum encompasses a wide range of subjects relating to technology and its place in society. Digital Technologies aims to develop students’ knowledge, understanding, and skills relating to technology. 

The subject is structured across two strands: Knowledge and Understanding, and Processes and Production Skills. The Knowledge and Understanding strand is designed to help students learn about the components of digital systems (such as hardware, software, and networks) and how data is used, represented and structured.

Meanwhile, the Processes and Production Skills strand focuses on creating digital solutions by evaluating and understanding a problem, designing a solution, and evaluating its success. 

Through these two strands, students are expected to learn a variety of skills, such as:

  • Computational thinking 
  • Data collection and representation 
  • Design, evaluation, and creative thinking
  • Analytical thinking
  • Ethical understanding relating to technology’s place in society

What Is Digital Technologies Version 9?

Digital Technologies Version 9 is the next version of the Digital Technologies curriculum. This new version will be launched sometime in 2022, along with the rest of the new Version 9 of the Australian Curriculum. 

Version 9 of Digital Technologies and the broader curriculum will be based on a major review being carried out by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). This review began in 2020 and involved extensive research and analysis alongside various educational organisations. The review also implemented a consultation with teachers in July 2021 to collect feedback and further insights.

The last major curriculum review was in 2014, which created version 8.0 of the curriculum. This was followed by a smaller update in 2015, creating the current version 8.4 of the curriculum. Version 9 is expected to be published in 2022, although no exact date has been given yet.

Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum Version 9: Everything You Need To Know

What Will The Australian Curriculum Version 9 Change In Digital Technologies?

ACARA has not yet released its full curriculum review or published the changes that version 9 will introduce. However, they have provided details about the Digital Technologies review’s scope, aims, and general intentions. 

Some of the most significant details of Digital Technologies Version 9 include the following.

Content Descriptions Will Be Clearer

One finding of ACARA’s review into the Digital Technologies curriculum was that while current content descriptions are reasonably concise, they often discuss multiple concepts simultaneously. This presents a challenge for teachers by making content descriptions too complicated and unfocused.

As a result, the new version of the curriculum will revise content descriptions to improve clarity, giving teachers a better idea of what exactly they need to teach in each module. 

Duplicate Content In Mathematics Will Be Reduced

Another issue identified by ACARA in Digital Technologies version 8.4 is that many of the modules concerning data had a significant crossover with the Mathematics curriculum. While version 8.4 was designed to reduce this content duplication, many content descriptions still duplicate contents and subjects across Mathematics and Digital Technologies.

The new version of the curriculum will aim to reduce these duplications further, focusing specifically on content from Foundation through to Year 6. In doing so, ACARA aims to streamline and simplify both subjects to give further clarity to teachers. 

ICT Capability Will Be Replaced With Digital Literacy

The new version of the curriculum is set to replace the current ICT Capability strand of the Digital Technologies curriculum with a new sub-strand: Digital Literacy. This new strand will incorporate elements of ICT Capability and integrate new content to develop online safety skills. 

This will involve more content exploring privacy, security and safety issues in technology, particularly the internet. This change aims to ensure students develop the skills and understanding to stay safe online and critically evaluate safety or privacy issues in the technologies they use.

Achievement Standards Will Be More Closely Linked To Content

As well as reviewing the content of the curriculum, the new version of Digital Technologies will also involve refinements to its achievement standards. Specifically, achievement standards will be aligned much more closely to content descriptions within the Digital Technologies curriculum. 

The new curriculum will strengthen the alignment of its achievement standards to content descriptions to help give teachers clearer guidance for learning goals and assessments. 

In addition, the new achievement standards will aim to highlight the relationship between the Knowledge and Understanding strand and the Processes and Production Skills strand. In doing so, the new achievement standards will help to bind together the two strands more closely and provide a more holistic curriculum.

Early Years Content Will Be Refined

The new version of the Digital Technologies curriculum will pay special attention to learning in Foundation and early years. New Foundation content will be introduced to better support Digital Technologies learning in early years. 

Moreover, the number of technologies contexts and concepts for Foundation to Year 4 will be reduced and streamlined. This will improve the manageability of primary school Digital Technologies content, helping teachers to deliver lessons with greater clarity.

Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum Version 9: Everything You Need To Know

When Does Australian Curriculum Version 9 Begin For Digital Technologies? 

ACARA’s curriculum review is currently in its final stages, having completed extensive research and analysis, drafted revision proposals, and consulted teachers on these new revisions. Results from the consultation period are currently being analysed in partnership with the Institute for Social Science Research at the University of Queensland to finalise the revisions.

Once the revised curriculum has been finalised, it will be provided to education ministers for approval. Once approved, the new curriculum will be published on a new Australian Curriculum website sometime in 2022.

However, teachers and schools do not have to adopt the new curriculum immediately. Individual states and territories will have the freedom to implement the Australian Curriculum Version 9 according to their own timelines. As such, Version 8.4 will remain available for teachers throughout this transition period. 

In other words, while Version 9 of the Digital Technologies curriculum is due to be made available later this year, Digital Technologies teachers will not have to put it into action in their classrooms right away. The transition period from version 8.4 to 9 is expected to take a few years, giving teachers plenty of time to adapt their lesson plans accordingly.

Conclusion: What Does The Australian Curriculum Review Mean For Digital Technologies Teachers?

As with every other subject in the Australian Curriculum, Version 9 of the Digital Technologies curriculum will introduce a wide range of revisions and changes to how the subject is taught. Given that many of the proposed revisions are centred on streamlining content and giving greater clarity within the curriculum, these are likely to be welcome changes for most teachers. 

However, while the revised curriculum is due to be published this year, its changes will not take effect immediately. A generous transition period means that teachers will have plenty of time to read up on the new curriculum to understand its new changes. 

As such, Digital Technologies teachers don’t need to worry about any sudden changes. It’s likely that the new curriculum’s revisions will be introduced gradually, giving ample time to adapt lesson plans and assessments ready for the next generation of Digital Technologies students. So, resources like Zenva Schools and others listed below will still be relevant in the next version.

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