The Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies (AC:DT) has been around in draft or final form for five years. Before the Digital Technologies curriculum, there was the ICT General Capabilities, which some schools used to guide their student engagement with technologies. These provide different learning; the General Capabilities are those skills and dispositions that students should be deploying across all subject areas. The Digital Technologies curriculum is a subject in its own right, but one would expect some of the skills developed here would make their way into a student’s scholastic and personal skillset. There is some overlap between the two, as there is some overlap with the Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies Curriculums.
Many primary schools do not have the luxury of having a technology specialist modelling best practice, researching and developing innovative technology use or even taking technology sessions for classroom teachers. Some schools have a tech-minded teacher who has a full load but still has the passion to help others upskills and provide students with engaging technology-based sessions. Some schools have base-level technology expertise, so much so that even the ICT General Capabilities are foreign to the classroom teacher. How do all of these different schools deploy curriculum-mapped, robust and engaging Digital Technologies learning without having to unnecessarily decode the curriculum documents?
The answer is Switched On Computing, ‘a new scheme of work to support ICT Digital Technology.’ Switched On Computing has ready to use units of work, including ‘programming, coding, information technology and digital literacy.’ Everything a classroom teacher needs to teach the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies. Planning, demonstrations and use of free software resources takes the guesswork out of the AC:DT, saves time and frustration and ensures that the AC:DT is being taught thoroughly.
For example, in Years Five and Six, students are required to:
‘Design, modify and follow simple algorithms involving sequences of steps, branching, and iteration (repetition) (ACTDIP01)’
One elaboration of this Description determines that students are:
‘following, modifying and describing the design of a game involving simple algorithms represented diagrammatically or in English, for example creating a flowchart with software that uses symbols to show decisions, processes and inputs and outputs’
The best way is to use planning and resources that have been mapped and tested by experts and delivered in a format that all teachers can leverage for a thorough learning experience.
To cover the ACTDIP01 elaboration highlighted above, teachers can guide their students through Switched On Computing Unit 6.5 – We are App Developers.
‘Students … create a working app. They write down their algorithms and use a programming toolkit to code them.’
The unit also has suggested subject links for Design and Technology, English and Maths, whereby teachers can embed technology in other learning areas. Also, students can create an app that demonstrates their learning in other subject areas. The Switched On Computing teacher resource provides guidance on E-Safety for all units, suggested home tasks, learning expectations, lesson plans and assessment guidance.
So if a primary school is at the beginning of the AC:DT journey and needs a total teaching solution ‘out of the box’, Switched On Computing provides the solution. Schools who have dipped the toe but want further support from expert technology educators without breaking the bank can also find tremendous value in these teacher resources.
Bill Gillespie, an experienced educator and technology reviewer, has provided a thorough review of Switched On Computing which effectively outlines the resources contained within each teacher resource. Any teacher who brings Switched On Computing into a primary school will be providing their fellow teachers with a successful way to cover the AC:DT.
Matthew Jorgensen is a resident of the Gold Coast and is Director of eLearning at St Stephen’s College. In 2016 he was the Microsoft Teacher Ambassador for Queensland and QSITE Emerging Leader. He has a Master’s degree in Education and is currently a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and CoSpacesEdu Ambassador. In 2017, he was the first teacher in Australia (and probably the world) to use Roblox Studio to deliver the Digital Technologies curriculum. He has a long history of using game based learning in the classroom, including Kodu, Scratch, CoSpaces, Minecraft and Roblox. Matthew recently sold his robloxedu.com domain name and associated social media accounts to Roblox. You can connect with Matthew via: