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DT Challenges

Australian Digital Technologies Challenges for Year 5 and 7

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Australian Digital Technologies Challenges for Year 5 and 7

The Australian DT Challenges are free in-classroom activities designed to address the most technically challenging aspects of the Year 5-6 and 7-8 bands of the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies, including algorithms, implementation (that is, programming or coding), data representation and data interpretation.

The DT Challenges are focused on solving problems in:

  • visual programming environments: Blockly and Snap!
  • general-purpose programming languages: Python, Javascript, and Arduino (a subset of C++).

The DT Challenges require roughly 4 weeks of classroom time (2 hours per week), with extra material for advanced students. However, timing varies enormously depending on a student's existing experience.

Some of the DT Challenges will be Digital Technologies + X, where X is another learning area. For example, the Blockly + Maths Challenge for Year 7 and 8 covers geometry content from the Year 7 Australian Curriculum: Mathematics in addition to data representation, algorithms and implementation.

The content within each Challenge is Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licensed (except where noted), so teachers are free to reuse and adapt the materials to suit their students.

A screenshot of the Blockly Year 5-6 Challenge, Project 2.
A screenshot of the Blockly Year 5-6 Challenge, Project 2: Word Chain
A screenshot of the Year 7-8 Arduino Challenge, Module 3: Automatic torch.
A screenshot of the Year 7-8 Arduino Challenge, Module 3: Automatic torch.

What a DT Challenge contains

Each Challenge will provide the following resources:

  • multimodal learning materials (interactive notes and videos);
  • engaging, authentic, real-world coding problems and projects;
  • sample solutions and commentary, and manual marking rubrics;
  • unplugged activities similar to CS Unplugged;
  • examples from industry of the concepts in the real world; and
  • 1-3 hours of modular lesson plans per week.

A professional development version of the Challenge will also provide:

  • deeper technical detail and explanation of the learning materials;
  • explanation of prerequisite and subsequent content in each thread;
  • incorrect student submissions for a teacher to practice fixing;
  • accreditation for completing the Challenge as professional development.

Learning platform and automated marking

The DT Challenges are currently hosted in the Grok Learning platform. As well as hosting the notes and problems, Grok Learning provides intelligent, automated marking to provide instant feedback to students and teachers on correctness and hints for each problem.

This allows the Challenges to be self-pacing and differentiated, as the system gives students feedback as they need it to progress onto the next concept or problem.

Students can see their progress and scores as they complete the problems. Teachers can monitor student progress with real-time learning analytics and drill down into their individual submissions to the system.

Teachers can print certificates for students who complete a Challenge.

Access to the platform

The Australian Government Department of Education and Training has funded all Australian teachers, and Year 5 and 7 students, to have free access to the DT Challenges in the Grok Learning platform until 31 December, 2020.

Students in other years can access the Challenges within the platform by purchasing a Grok Learning subscription.

A screenshot of the Year 7-8 Blockly + Maths with automated marking.
A screenshot of the Year 7-8 Blockly + Maths with automated marking.

DT Challenges

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5-6 Blockly challenge

5-6 Blockly

7-8 Python challenge

7-8 Python

7-8 Arduino challenge

7-8 Arduino

7-8 Maths Blockly challenge

7-8 Maths Blockly