Understand the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies

Band 5-6
Band Description

Learning in Digital Technologies focuses on further developing understanding and skills in computational thinking such as identifying similarities in different problems and describing smaller components of complex systems. It also focuses on the sustainability of information systems for current and future uses.

By the end of Year 6, students will have had opportunities to create a range of digital solutions, such as games or quizzes and interactive stories and animations.

In Year 5 and 6, students develop an understanding of the role individual components of digital systems play in the processing and representation of data. They acquire, validate, interpret, track and manage various types of data and are introduced to the concept of data states in digital systems and how data are transferred between systems.

They learn to further develop abstractions by identifying common elements across similar problems and systems and develop an understanding of the relationship between models and the real-world systems they represent.

When creating solutions, students define problems clearly by identifying appropriate data and requirements. When designing, they consider how users will interact with the solutions, and check and validate their designs to increase the likelihood of creating working solutions. Students increase the sophistication of their algorithms by identifying repetition and incorporate repeat instructions or structures when implementing their solutions through visual programming, such as reading user input until an answer is guessed correctly in a quiz. They evaluate their solutions and examine the sustainability of their own and existing information systems.

Students progress from managing the creation of their own ideas and information for sharing to working collaboratively. In doing so, they learn to negotiate and develop plans to complete tasks. When engaging with others, they take personal and physical safety into account, applying social and ethical protocols that acknowledge factors such as social differences and privacy of personal information. They also develop their skills in applying technical protocols such as devising file naming conventions that are meaningful and determining safe storage locations to protect data and information.

Achievement Standard

By the end of Year 6, students explain the fundamentals of digital system components (hardware, software and networks) and how digital systems are connected to form networks. They explain how digital systems use whole numbers as a basis for representing a variety of data types.

Students define problems in terms of data and functional requirements and design solutions by developing algorithms to address the problems. They incorporate decision-making, repetition and user interface design into their designs and implement their digital solutions, including a visual program. They explain how information systems and their solutions meet needs and consider sustainability. Students manage the creation and communication of ideas and information in collaborative digital projects using validated data and agreed protocols.

Unpack >

Hiding details of an idea, problem or solution that are not relevant, to focus on a manageable number of aspects.

Abstraction does not appear explicitly in the content descriptions.

However, abstraction underpins the design and progression of content descriptions between band levels for each concept.

Digital systems
Unpack >

Examine the main components of common digital systems and how they may connect together to form networks to transmit data (ACTDIK014)


Systems explores the composition of systems and their use in all aspects of our lives.


Networks describes how we connect devices together and use them to transmit data.


Security is concerned with how we protect the data stored in and transmitted by systems.

Peripherals and Components

Components are the parts of digital systems. Peripherals connect to digital systems to extend their functionality.

Students can explain how digital systems are made up of other parts e.g. tablets contain things like screens, batteries and processors that together make the device useful.

Forming Networks

Different systems can be connected to one another, allowing them to send information between them.

Students can describe how networks are formed by connecting separate devices together.

Transmit Data

Sending and receiving data to and from digital systems.

Students can describe how data is sent through a network, and how the data is transferred indirectly from the source to the destination, often through many other devices on its way to the end point. Different devices on the network contribute to this process in different ways.

The content descriptions do not explicitly address Security in band 5-6.
Data representation
Unpack >

Examine how whole numbers are used to represent all data in digital systems (ACTDIK015)


Representation explores how we model, construct and describe data.

Types of data

Types of data are concerned with how and why we select different forms of representation for different purposes.


Compression examines the methods we use to alter our representations to reduce their size for optimised communication and storage.

Whole Number Representation

All data can be represented as whole numbers, regardless of its original form.

Students can describe how all systems convert data into numeric values, such as whole numbers used to map to characters in Unicode.

Data Types in Digital Systems

The same data can be represented in different ways, and the way it is represented has implications for how it can be used by digital systems.

Students can explain different representations of data as they appear in digital systems, and understand that even things such as movies need to be converted into numbers to be processed.

The content descriptions do not explicitly address Compression in band 5-6.
Data collection
Unpack >

Acquire, store and validate different types of data, and use a range of software to interpret and visualise data to create information (ACTDIP016)

Acquire data

Acquire data examines how we collect and access data from a variety of sources.

Manage data

Manage data is concerned with the processes we use to facilitate how we use data.

Acquire data

Generate or obtain data from existing or potential data sources.

Students can generate data of various types through their own experiments and investigations.

Store Data

Record data in a format that allows it to be easily accessed or obtained.

Students can describe how the data they have acquired can be stored in different ways using different representations and/or software, and select the most suitable representation is important.

Validate Data

Ensuring data is "clean" - i.e. correct and useful to the problem being solved.

Students can determine, after collecting the data, whether it is correct (e.g. did people answer questions properly) and how well it addresses the problem they were attempting to solve.

Data interpretation
Unpack >

Acquire, store and validate different types of data, and use a range of software to interpret and visualise data to create information (ACTDIP016)

Organise data

Organise data explores the ways we order, sort and arrange data to assist us with interpretation in different contexts.

Visualise data

Visualise data describes the many ways we present data in its raw and summarised form for communication and further analysis.

Interpret Data

Organise data to answer questions.

Students can work with data that requires some simple processing using software. This could be in the form of things such as simple spreadsheet calculations or using data in code. They draw conclusions about the data as a result of this processing.

Visualise Data

Display data in various ways that either assists with understanding its meaning or allows for new meaning to be inferred.

Students can develop visualisations through software tools, such as heat maps, infographics or other forms of communication, as well as producing graphs or tables to present data.

Unpack >

Define problems in terms of data and functional requirements drawing on previously solved problems (ACTDIP017)

Problem definition

Problem definition is the process we follow and considerations we make to determine and describe the problems we intend to solve.


Constraints describe the restricting factors we face when solving problems, and how we factor these into our planned solutions.

Describe Problems

Determining the nature and description of a problem to be solved.

Students can define problems that are similar to those they are familiar with, allowing them to draw on their previous experiences. In this band, problems should have more than one outcome (i.e. they should include a decision that will lead to a result that differs from another)

Requirements and Constraints

The parameters and limitations that help to define the boundaries or restrictions of the problem's scope.

Students can articulate the details of the problem that is being solved (i.e its purpose) as well as the data they need to be able to solve it.

Unpack >

Design, modify and follow simple algorithms involving sequences of steps, branching, and iteration (repetition) (ACTDIP019)

Follow algorithms

Follow algorithms is the process of performing the steps required to solve a problem.

Design algorithms

Design algorithms captures the solution design we undertake to develop an automated solution to a problem.

Algorithm constructs

Algorithm constructs are the building blocks we use to define our algorithms in a form digital systems can execute.

Follow algorithms

Follow an ordered sequence of steps to solve a simple problem or complete a task.

Students can follow an algorithm and understand how the problem is being solved.

Design and modify algorithms

Changing a sequence of instructions to alter the resulting output from the same inputs the next time the sequence is followed.

Students can take an existing algorithm and change it so that it solves a derivative problem from the original one. This may include expanding the scope of the problem (e.g. adding additional conditions to branching statements) or changing some of the steps to generate a variant of the output.

Represent algorithms

Represent a clear, ordered sequence of steps using words and images.

Students can represent algorithmic solutions using greater sophistication and more detail for each step in the algorithm, and use additional features such as iteration.

Sequence of steps

An sequence of steps (instructions) where order might or might not matter.

Student can describe the sequence of steps in an algorithm in more detail, breaking the task down into smaller, more specific steps.

Branching (decisions)

Branching involves following different steps based on a yes/no decision.

Students can develop decisions in algorithms that deal with more generalised cases and account for edge-cases and multiple requirements (for example, making any type of sandwich, factoring in dietary requirements)


Specifying that a sequence of instructions are to be repeated as long as the result of testing a specific condition is true.

Students can describe algorithms in greater detail by using iteration (doing things multiple times) to ensure that a task is complete before moving onto the next task. For example, keep spreading the butter until the whole piece of bread is covered.

Unpack >

Implement digital solutions as simple visual programs involving branching, iteration (repetition), and user input (ACTDIP020)


Complexity is an indication of the scope and difficulty of the solution being implemented as a digital solution.

Programming constructs

Programming constructs are the fundamental principles of program control flow we use in programming languages.


Programming describes the process of constructing a digital solution using a form of computer-understandable instructions.

Implement Digital Solutions

Create a digital solution that addresses a problem or need using a programming language.

Students can write the code to solve a simple problem.


Implementing a decision in a programming language, usually using a construct such as an if or if-else statement, that leads to a different result/output

Students can implement decisions in their programs that include multiple outcomes (else-if statements) and nested logic.

User Input

Receiving data from the user (via a sensor or direct input with a keyboard, mouse of other input device) and using that data inside a computer program to generate an outcome

Students can accept input from the user through the keyboard or other peripherals, and store that input in a variable that can be used to affect program execution.


Implementing a block of instructions in a programming language that is repeated based on some kind of test condition. These include looping constructs such as while, for and repeat until.

Students can implement loops in their program that repeat a given number of times, continue until a certain condition is met, and may include variables and values that change inside the loop and trigger its exit condition.

Visual Programming

Implementing a digital solution using programming constructs presented in a visual form, usually some kind of block-based interface

Students can create programs using visual programming languages that contain complex logic and behave correctly with greater variations in input and user interaction.

Unpack >

Explain how student solutions and existing information systems are sustainable and meet current and future local community needs (ACTDIP021)

Information systems

Information systems describe the solutions developed by people that make use of data and systems.


Users are the people who benefit from or control information systems.

Evaluation considerations

Evaluation considerations is concerned with how we factor the intended and unintended impacts of our solutions into our designs and implementation strategies.

Student solutions

The answers and products students develop themselves as solutions to problems.

Students can evaluate the effectiveness of their own solutions to address the identified problem, or how the solution improves an aspect of their lives.

Information systems

A combination of digital systems, data, processes, and people that interact to create, control, and communicate information

Students can investigate a wider range of systems that help society operate through undertaking their own research.

Current Users

People and groups that are using the system now to meet a present need

Students can explain how the design of a solution takes into account the characteristics of the people who will be most likely to use it.

Future Users

People and groups that are likely to want to use the system in the future, possibly to address an as yet undetermined need, or a change in current needs

Students can predict the expected long-term requirements of a solution by extrapolating who the potential users will be in the future, and how this informs the flexibility and adaptability of the design to account for any likely changes.


The impact digital systems have had on our ability to solve a range of problems that enrich and enhance our lives

Students can explain how existing systems meet the immediate needs of users, and how this influences their design and implementation. This is best achieved through study of existing systems, and explicit teaching when developing their own solutions. Introducing the idea that systems need to be designed for any foreseeable change helps students identify who potential future users are, but also how they might need to introduce flexibility or breadth of scope into their designs.


A broad interpretation of sustainability looks at many aspects of digital systems that make them viable over the long term, including their environmental impacts, economics and profitability, technical developments and changes, and social perceptions.

Students can understand how a broad interpretation of sustainability must be considered when evaluating the effectiveness of a solution. Scaffolding and prompting them to help understand a range of issues is likely to be necessary in this band. Asking very specific questions is a good strategy to help them understand that long term viability of systems hinges on a range of factors.

Unpack >

Design a user interface for a digital system (ACTDIP018)

Plan, create and communicate ideas and information, including collaboratively online, applying agreed ethical, social and technical protocols (ACTDIP022)

Create and communicate

Create and communicate involves using digital systems to present and communicate ideas and information.

Collaborate and manage

Collaborate and manage involves organising and controlling processes, people and resources in the development of solutions.

Human-computer interaction

Human-computer interaction describes the considerations and design decisions we make when building interfaces to digital systems.

Create and communicate ideas and information

Using digital technologies to manipulate data and present a product.

Students can reflect on their progress against their plan and explain how what they learn and discover changes from their initial thinking is a part of the creation process. Students should be challenged to check the correctness of their conclusions at each stage of the process, ensuring their understanding of ideas and information is deeper and more thorough than may otherwise be the case.

Plan Ideas and Information

Developing an approach, strategy or identifying sources useful to investigate a problem and/or develop a solution.

Students can describe their plans by specifying the steps they intend to take to solve their problem and how long it might take to find the answers to questions they are investigating. This introduces the idea of projects being things that don't start and end immediately.

Collaborate Online

Using online tools that facilitate text, audio and video communication to interact with other people working on a common project.

Students can use online tools to collaborate both in real-time and asynchronously, and learn the benefits and challenges associated with each. They should be complementing online collaboration with face-to-face opportunities where possible, and those meetings could include discussion of the challenges they are learning about and how they may be addressed.

Ethical Protocols

Agreed upon rules and guidelines that encourage behaving with integrity and respect when interacting and communicating with others.

Students can act honestly and with integrity in their interactions with others, and consider the appropriateness of how data is used and the implications of poor data privacy for the users of solutions.

Social Protocols

Agreed upon rules and guidelines that allow all members to feel comfortable and safe when working together.

Students can explain how their actions have consequences for their relationships with others, and are empathetic to any social experiences and beliefs that may differ between members in the group. They consider how these need to be factored into both their solutions and their collaborative relationships.

Technical Protocols

Agreed upon rules and guidelines that determine the technologies and technical approaches the group will use to collaborate on a project, such as programming languages, development platforms and style guides.

Students can think deeply about the technical decisions they make when developing their solutions and collaborating. These include things such as decisions about how files are named and where they are stored (e.g. cloud vs local), platforms and programming languages they may be using to create their solutions, and the implications of their choices for their peers and users.

User Interfaces

Characteristics and elements of the digital system that determine how the user interacts with it. Includes things like buttons and prompts for text entry.

Students can demonstrate their thinking and understanding of how interactions could take place without the complexity of programming or application use that may be beyond their experience at this stage. The focus should be on how the interfaces they design facilitate interaction, and their ability to communicate the reasons behind their design decisions.