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. While the process was extensive and took quite some time, in 2022 Version 9.0 of the curriculum was released.

This new version of the curriculum introduces changes, improvements, and refinements across every subject – including Digital Technologies. 

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.

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What is Digital Technologies in the Australian Curriculum?

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

What is Digital Technologies Version 9?

As mentioned, Digital Technologies Version 9 is the newest version of the Digital Technologies curriculum as of 2022.

Version 9 was designed after a major review 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.

As a piece of background information, 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 version 8.4 of the curriculum.

Thus, while Version 9.0 may receive small updates in the future, it’s expected this version will be good for many years.

As of late 2022, Version 9 is available for early adopters. However, full rollout will be required by 2025.

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

Although Version 8.4 and Version 9 share many similarities when it comes to Digital Technologies, ACARA definitely changed some things around. So, what changes should you expect when diving into Version 9 from Version 8.4?

Below, we’ll discuss the most notable changes and the logic behind them.

Content Descriptions Will Be Clearer

One finding of ACARA’s review of 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, Version 9 of the curriculum revised 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 was 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 duplicated contents and subjects across Mathematics and Digital Technologies regardless.

Version 9.0 of Digital Technologies reduces these duplications further, with a focus 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. 

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

ICT Capability Will Be Replaced With Digital Literacy

Version 9.0 of the curriculum replaces Version 8.4’s ICT Capability strand of the Digital Technologies curriculum with a new sub-strand: Digital Literacy. This new strand incorporates elements of ICT Capability – but integrates new content to develop online safety skills. 

Likewise, content in Digital Literary puts a greater focus on 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 revising the content of the curriculum, Version 9.0 of Digital Technologies also refines the achievement standards. Specifically, achievement standards are now aligned much more closely to content descriptions within the Digital Technologies curriculum. 

Through this change, the hope is that it will strengthen the achievement standards themselves and help give teachers clearer guidance for learning goals and assessments. 

In addition, the new achievement standards are designed 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

Version 9.0 of the Digital Technologies curriculum pays special attention to learning in Foundation and the early years. From Version 8.4, new Foundation-appropriate content is introduced to better support Digital Technologies learning in those critical younger ages. 

Moreover, the number of technologies contexts and concepts for Foundation to Year 4 is reduced and streamlined in Version 9.0. 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? 

As mentioned, ACARA’s curriculum review has now finished after years of extensive research and analysis, drafting revision proposals, and consulting teachers on these new revisions. Although some final tweaks may arise, Version 9.0 has been approved, analysed, and mostly finalised in partnership with the Institute for Social Science Research at the University of Queensland and education ministers.

Thus, any willing teacher or school is welcome to start exploring Version 9.0 in the classroom. This includes content descriptors, the new achievement standards, and much more.

However, teachers and schools do not have to adopt Version 9.0 of the curriculum immediately. Individual states and territories will have the freedom to implement the Australian Curriculum Version 9.0 according to their own timelines.

As such, Version 8.4 will remain available for teachers throughout this transition period. 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.

That being said, there is an expectation the entire country will have transitioned by 2025 – so there is a deadline for the transition period.

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 introduces a wide range of revisions and changes to how the subject is taught. Given that many of the 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 currently available, its changes will not take effect immediately. A generous transition period means that teachers will have plenty of time to read up on Version 9.0 of Digital Technologies to understand its new changes and how that personally affects their own teaching methodology.

Likewise, this transition period gives learning platforms a chance to catch up as well – such as Zenva Schools which has already begun mapping lesson plans to Version 9.0. Thus, this transition period is a great time to analyse and update your learning resources to make sure they’re ready for the inevitable.

We hope this information has helped you with navigating Version 9.0 of the Digital Technologies curriculum. However, we encourage you to check out the links below to learn more about version 9, how it affects specific years, and learning resources that will help you revise your lesson plans for the future.

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