Understand the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies

7-8
Band 7-8
Band Description

Learning in Digital Technologies focuses on further developing understanding and skills in computational thinking such as decomposing problems and prototyping; and engaging students with a wider range of information systems as they broaden their experiences and involvement in national, regional and global activities.

By the end of Year 8, students will have had opportunities to create a range of digital solutions, such as interactive web applications or programmable multimedia assets or simulations of relationships between objects in the real world.

In Year 7 and 8, students analyse the properties of networked systems and their suitability and use for the transmission of data types. They acquire, analyse, validate and evaluate various types of data, and appreciate the complexities of storing and transmitting that data in digital systems. Students use structured data to model objects and events that shape the communities they actively engage with. They further develop their understanding of the vital role that data plays in their lives, and how the data and related systems define and are limited by technical, environmental, economic and social constraints.

They further develop abstractions by identifying common elements while decomposing apparently different problems and systems to define requirements, and recognise that abstractions hide irrelevant details for particular purposes. When defining problems, students identify the key elements of the problems and the factors and constraints at play. They design increasingly complex algorithms that allow data to be manipulated automatically, and explore different ways of showing the relationship between data elements to help computation, such as using pivot tables, graphs and clearly defined mark-up or rules. They progress from designing the user interface to considering user experience factors such as user expertise, accessibility and usability requirements.

They broaden their programming experiences to include general-purpose programming languages, and incorporate subprograms into their solutions. They predict and evaluate their developed and existing solutions, considering time, tasks, data and the safe and sustainable use of information systems, and anticipate any risks</associated with the use or adoption of such systems.

Students plan and manage individual and team projects with some autonomy. They consider ways of managing the exchange of ideas, tasks and files, and techniques for monitoring progress and feedback. When communicating and collaborating online, students develop an understanding of different social contexts, for example acknowledging cultural practices and meeting legal obligations.

Achievement Standard

By the end of Year 8, students distinguish between different types of networks and defined purposes. They explain how text, image and audio data can be represented, secured and presented in digital systems.

Students plan and manage digital projects to create interactive information. They define and decompose problems in terms of functional requirements and constraints. Students design user experiences and algorithms incorporating branching and iterations, and test, modify and implement digital solutions. They evaluate information systems and their solutions in terms of meeting needs, innovation and sustainability. They analyse and evaluate data from a range of sources to model and create solutions. They use appropriate protocols when communicating and collaborating online.

Abstraction
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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
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Investigate how data is transmitted and secured in wired, wireless and mobile networks, and how the specifications affect performance (ACTDIK023)

Systems

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

Networks

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

Security

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

Specifications and Performance

How well digital systems perform tasks is dependent on the characteristics of the components of a system.

Students can explain how different specifications, such as RAM available, CPU/GPU, network media etc impact performance of a system. Since systems are made up of lots of parts, the overall performance of any system - whether stand-alone or networked - is dependent on the specifications of all of its components.

Transmit Data

Sending and receiving data to and from digital systems.

Students can describe how data is transmitted through a network, and the technical solutions used to mitigate potential errors or problems the network may experience.

Forming Networks

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

Students can explain how the design of networks is affected by many things, including the media used in their construction. They understand that networks can be wired, wireless or mobile, and some of the limitations, implications and benefits of each.

Data Security

Making sure the data can only be accessed by the people it is intended for.

Students can explain how the movement of data through networks creates a situation where it would be possible for that data to be accessed by another party. This creates a need for security to be factored into the network design, and students should understand the general principles of securing data.

Data representation
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Investigate how digital systems represent text, image and audio data in binary (ACTDIK024)

Representation

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

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

Binary

Binary representation of data involves reducing that data into a format comprised of just two symbols, and is necessary for all computing applications.

Students can explain why computers can only process data using two states due to how hardware works, and all data needs to be converted to binary for processing. This can be achieved with data of any type.

Text

Text data is represented as numbers in digital systems.

Students can provide examples of how Unicode represents all characters in all languages as different numbers, including emoji.

Image

Image data involves representing each pixel as numbers.

Students can demonstrate how digital systems represent images as pixels, each of which has a different number associated with red, green and blue. These numbers are 0-255 as a consequence of their binary representations. There are other representations of image pixels for different purposes.

Audio

Digital systems use numbers to represent an audio wave.

Students can describe how audio data is represented by approximating an analog audio wave as a sequence of whole numbers that correspond to the voltage level.

The content descriptions do not explicitly address Compression in band 7-8.
Data collection
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Acquire data from a range of sources and evaluate authenticity, accuracy and timeliness (ACTDIP025)

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, using a range of sources.

Evaluate Data

Ensuring data is not only correct, but from a reliable source and relevant/current for the problem being solved.

Students can explain why the source of the data and the method used to acquire it is important - that data from unreliable or out-of-date sources should not be used for making conclusions or determining action.

Data interpretation
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Analyse and visualise data using a range of software to create information, and use structured data to model objects or events (ACTDIP026)

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.

Analyse Data

Examine data methodically and in detail to explain or interpret it.

Students can perform a variety of methodical calculations and manipulations of data (such as filtering, or working with subsets) to gain greater insight into its meaning and/or information.

Data Modelling

To reorganise or restructure data to highlight different properties, or to enable new or alternative means of processing or analysing it.

Students can explain why not all data is atomic (i.e. stand-alone), and how sets of data often infer some kind of relatedness (e.g. weather data for a location over a period of time). They think about how the way that data is structured (e.g. in tables) helps to communicate its meaning and allow for better analysis.

Visualise Data

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

students can generate visualisations programmatically or dynamically (i.e. that respond to change) using either pre-existing software tools or their own software.

Specification
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Define and decompose real-world problems taking into account functional requirements and economic, environmental, social, technical and usability constraints (ACTDIP027)

Problem definition

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

Constraints

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 describe and investigate problems that draw on their life experiences and that have meaning to them. These problems could have multiple outcomes depending on the inputs / choices made while solving them.

Decompose Problems

Breaking a problem down into smaller, simpler problems that can be solved separately.

Students can investigate large enough problems such that solving them requires the students to think about individual elements of the problem that can be solved separately to make the main problem more approachable/solvable.

Requirements and Constraints

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

Students can define problems in terms of their purpose (i.e. what they are trying to solve), and do so taking into account limitations that their solution may face. Limitations may take the form of financial or technology constraints, or may consider things such as the impact any solution may have on the local environment or population.

Algorithms
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Design algorithms represented diagrammatically and in English, and trace algorithms to predict output for a given input and to identify errors (ACTDIP029)

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.

Evaluate Algorithms

Verifying the correctness and reliability of the result of following sequence of steps. Includes testing of known inputs/outputs and likely edge cases.

Students can follow the state of values through an algorithm, and predict what the output would be given an input. Students should understand the desired output of the algorithm to be able to tell when an error has occurred based on this information.

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 change an existing algorithm to suit a new set of requirements that differs from the original intent, and identify when it is more appropriate to develop a new solution to the problem.

Represent algorithms

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

Students can design and represent algorithms in multiple forms, such as diagrams like flowcharts and informal pseudocode.

The content descriptions do not explicitly address Algorithm constructs in band 7-8.
Implementation
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Implement and modify programs with user interfaces involving branching, iteration and functions in a general-purpose programming language (ACTDIP030)

Complexity

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

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 code in a general purpose programming language without any scaffold or starting code.

Modify Digital Solutions

When presented with the code of an existing computer program, changing that code to produce either a different result or an improved outcome.

Students can make modifications to non-trivial programs, reading and interpreting an existing code base.

User Interfaces

Defines what the user can do and how they interact with the computer program. Includes things like buttons, sliders and text prompts that allow the user to provide input.

Students can construct user interfaces that use intuitive design and clear directions to interface with users.

Branching

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 complicated examples of branching that evaluate multiple conditions and use a variety of logical comparisons.

Iteration

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 write different types of loops in a general-purpose language to solve a range of problems.

Functions

A block of computer programming code with a defined purpose that can be accessed or called from another part of the computer program. Used to organise and structure code inside a more complicated computer program.

Students can define and use their own functions to make programs more modular. The functions they develop can produce different return values based on input parameters.

General-Purpose Programming

Using a text-based programming language that is capable of solving a variety of problems from many domains to create a digital solution. The language chosen must not be platform-, application- or domain-dependent.

Students can develop software in a general purpose programming language, and use these skills across multiple domains to solve a range of problems.

Impact
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Evaluate how student solutions and existing information systems meet needs, are innovative, and take account of future risks and sustainability (ACTDIP031)

Information systems

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

Users

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 develop their own solutions using more flexible approaches and variation, drawing on previous problem-solving experiences and experimenting with new techniques.

Information systems

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

Students can draw upon a range of different systems that are both complementary and oppositional that challenge their understanding of how systems are designed and operated. This is a good opportunity to demonstrate alternative solutions to very similar problems, and to analyse how these differences impact other considerations such as cost, aesthetics, user experience and technical decisions.

The content descriptions do not explicitly address Users in band 7-8.
Needs

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

Students can draw on their understanding of how existing systems meet the immediate needs of users to better understand how their own solutions could address these or other immediate needs. Understanding that timeliness is an important factor in the uptake of systems, and making this part of their thinking process, is a critical precursor to enterprising thinking. Solutions are only successfully adopted at large scale when they can evolve to not only meet the needs of their target audience now but also well into the future. An understanding of what potential future needs may exist (or how current needs will evolve) informs flexible design that extends the life of the systems usefulness.

Innovation and enterprise

The application of digital technologies to either new problems, or existing problems in alternative or new ways. The concept of innovation should be interpreted with respect to what students know and understand - innovation for a student could be development of a solution similar to an existing one if the application of the concepts is new for them.

Students can identify opportunities for creativity and innovation in the development of solutions, and explain how alternative implementations of solutions to these problems address needs more effectively..

Sustainability

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 analyse the question of sustainability of both their own and larger, existing systems from multiple angles. Questioning their existing ideas or implementation and asking them to think about the implications of these decisions in the medium- to long-term on things such as cost and technological development is just as important as environmental issues. Drawing on case studies (such as the NBN) is also encouraged.

Risk

There are always unintended consequences of developing or introducing new technologies and/or systems, and being able to identify potential problems is key to understanding the impact they are likely to have on individuals, the environment and broader society.

Students can explain the risks involved in implementing systems through the realisation of unintended consequences. Making sure students understand the concept of risk - in terms of things such as adoption, cost blowouts, resourcing, maintenance and other factors - ensures they understand how important it is that you look at both the problem and solution from a high-level perspective as well as the detail.

Interactions
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Design the user experience of a digital system, generating, evaluating and communicating alternative designs (ACTDIP028)

Plan and manage projects that create and communicate ideas and information collaboratively online, taking safety and social contexts into account (ACTDIP032)

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 solve problems that require solutions that work with multiple data sets and more complex models of data. Through the use of a broader set of inputs, students gain greater insight into not only the problem they're solving, but problems related to or associated with it, and this informs their thinking and/or conclusions.

Plan Projects

Developing an approach or strategy to solve a problem or create a solution that considers the sources of data, resources available and potential timeframes or deadlines.

Students can develop plans for solutions with greater autonomy, relying on their previous experiences to guide their thinking and approach. They should plan both individual and collaborative tasks, and supported to better understand how the dynamics of group activities changes the planning process.

Manage Projects

Using techniques, strategies and approaches to monitor progress towards development of a solution, and to re-evaluate or alter strategies to ensure deadlines are met and outcomes achieved within the resources available.

Students can collaborate effectively, thinking about the many facets of managing the exchange of ideas as well as the assets and resources of their projects. This includes regular monitoring of progress, and the provision of feedback to other members of any collaborative activity.

Collaborate Online

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

Students can collaborate effectively online, discussing strategy, approaches to solving problems, and engage in shared document / asset creation, such as managing cloud storage and common code repositories. Applications designed specifically for online collaboration become a key part of the working toolset.

Safety

Developing clear rules, structures and restrictions around collaborative processes that ensure the wellbeing, security and physical health of all participants.

Students can outline risks associated with online collaboration, and suggest ways they can mitigate these risks through careful selection and appropriate use of tools and platforms. This includes the management of relevant security protocols (such as permissions on assets) and knowing how their data is protected through transmission and storage. It also involves taking appropriate personal actions, like communicating only with known/trusted people and restricting the data they share through their collaborative processes.

Social Protocols

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

Students can explain how their decisions about their solutions and collaboration practices impact the experiences and beliefs of others not just within, but outside of their social circles. This social sensitivity and empathy should be factored into all aspects of their solution design and presentation.

User Experience

Encompasses all details of the user's interaction with the system, not just the physical or on-screen elements. Considers the practical aspects such as ease of use, as well as emotive aspects such as how enjoyable it is to use.

Students can incorporate functional and aesthetic requirements, factors such as the expertise and background of users, accessibility and usability requirements into the overall impact use of the solution has on the user's enjoyment and experience of the solution.

Generating Designs

Developing multiple prototypes or models that express either a range of design ideas, or alternative approaches to a single problem.

Students can generate a range of possible designs that may favour particular functions, features or use cases.

Evaluating Designs

Comparing and contrasting different approaches or solutions to a problem in a systematic way to determine the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.

Students can analyse multiple designs to gain insight into the most important features of the user experience. This allows for an iterative and more thorough approach to development of the chosen solution which may borrow elements from all proposals.