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ICT and the Australian Curriculum

Read more about ICT and the Australian Curriculum and contribute to the discussion!

Download the position paper

The Australian Curriculum as presented by ACARA, acknowledges the importance of ICT as both a general capability (GC) and as a learning area in partnership with Design and Technology (the ‘Technologies’).

Currently there is no published curriculum documentation for ICT Competence as a GC. Rather its place in the Australian Curriculum is recognised within each of the four published learning areas through embedding in content descriptions and/or achievement standards.  As a learning area, work is just beginning on determining ICT’s ‘conceptual’ home and its content.

This paper discusses four key concerns about this current situation and proposes and justifies a solution whereby ICT would be a learning area in its own right, either within the framework of the Technologies or as a new learning area. Structurally this learning area would document the student learning expectations and standards for ICT as a GC as well as a discipline.

Concerns with current position

There are concerns relating to:

  • the curriculum articulation of ICT competence as a general capability (ICT in Education)
  • the developmental pathways of ICT as a learning area  
  • the relationship between both ICT competence and ICT as a learning area  
  • removal of reference to ICT in the Technologies Learning Area – should be Information and Communication Technologies, and Design and Technology

Please read the full paper and contribute to the discussion by leaving a comment below.

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Cathy Woods's picture

Cathy Woods (not verified) wrote:

27 March, 2013 - 18:39 Comment #: 1

Heartily agree with baju.korea "It is very important, in my opinion, that provision is made for, and distinctions are made between, the use of ICTs to assist in learning and the study of ICTs as a discreet academic study." As educators we have the general capability of ICT to be embedded in each subject area which is about using ICT to assist learning and then we need to look at what is reasonable to teach as an academic study of ICT. Tools and devices are changing rapidly so I am a firm believer in encouraging cross platform learning in classrooms. No-one should be with one version of software , operating system or device. We also need to look at things like app building, coding, social media, website building. Very few people can write the systems which run check out operation, ATM banking, social media sites like Flipboard, Facebook, Twitter. I therefore also agree with mhilkemeijer: "It is my belief that as ICT educators in schools, we should create interest in the ICT industry. " We cannot show students possibilities without offering opportunities to engage with real world ICT activities. I also agree we are starting to create some confusing labelling. ICT is what we are calling it in the national curriculum and ICT skills are what employers look for. Technologies or Technology Studies refers to what used to be Tech Studies in schools but that now incorporates CAD, robotics, electronics, digital photography, F1 and hence the national curriculum has called it Technology to refer to the part of Tech Studies which now incorporates digital approaches. Maybe they should be called ICT- technology studies . What then would we call coding or an academic study of ICT when we offer it? Presumably Digital Technologies. ..or would it come under Maths because students might be writing algorithms? Labelling clearly is obviously important now. We are getting it muddled. In terms of general capabilities in ICT , I have this to offer. We need to move past the button pushing , website clicking phase of cognitive interactivity - click and turn onto the next page, fill in a gap, go to a website, view content. As Salen and Zimmerman (2004) point out we need to move to the explicit interactivity phase where students are using content to author their own material digitally, learn to interact online and share it, make decisions relevant to the software , tools available and use the content to drive their ideas further. It then needs a feedback and review process. Content - share- feedback. Students need to be able to use their knowledge in a connected , interactive way and so the general capabilities in each subject area need to provide for that. I would then suggest by the end of year 10 students would be ready to tackle some of the more difficult digital learning since they would have seen what they like, relate to, where it fits and then know they need to know more. This would help them develop a sense of what ICT can actually do and where it can lead.

David Grover's picture

David Grover (not verified) wrote:

3 April, 2013 - 13:46 Comment #: 2

It is important that those commenting actually read the ACARA draft curricula available online before commenting.
Cathy's remark that "Maybe they should be called ICT- technology studies . What then would we call coding or an academic study of ICT when we offer it? Presumably Digital Technologies."
This is precisely what the draft curriculum for computer science-centric discipline is called!
Design and Technologies is a separate curriculum and deals with more traditional materials oriented technologies.
There are two curricula, they are compulsory to year 8. Years 9,10 are elective.
Years 11,12 curricula in Tech have not been started yet.
Cathy says "we are getting muddled".
Indeed!

Michael Hilkemeijer's picture

mhilkemeijer@ho... wrote:

22 March, 2013 - 17:30 Comment #: 3

This is my second note for this subject and I would like to further add to this. It is my belief that as ICT educators in schools, we should create interest in the ICT industry. With the new curriculum being revised currently, it important that those who decide on the curriculum need to address the needs of the ICT industry as stated by Alan Patterson, the CEO of ACS. He stated that ICT should be a subject in its own right, and that it should be mandatory as a subject up to year 10. I have just briefly read the draft curriculum and I can already see discrepancies in it. To me, naming a subject Technologies instead of ICT is already a disaster. Just walk down the street and see how many people actually know what ICT is.....very few. And the reason is because they were not educated in what it is. Nor do the students at schools as they will only know it as Technologies or computer studies, and NOT ICT which it should be. I believe in the ACCE statement on the curriculum and support the ACS stand on the fact that the draft curriculum does not have ICT mandatory as a subject up to Year 10, the level when they start to actually think about careers. Once again, they have let us down. Not to mention the students down and the economy as schools need to serve.

baju korea's picture

baju korea (not verified) wrote:

20 March, 2013 - 01:26 Comment #: 4

It is very important, in my opinion, that provision is made for, and distinctions are made between, the use of ICTs to assist in learning and the study of ICTs as a discreet academic study.

Having said this there needs to be clear documentation of what ICT competencies/digital literacies are needed as general capabilities. An excellent point in the position paper is that such skills are not effectively learned through osmosis.

Current documents do not encourage the explicit teaching of such competencies nor guarantee that students will in fact have them taught to them at all.

Michael Hilkemeijer's picture

Michael Hilkemeijer (not verified) wrote:

14 September, 2012 - 13:39 Comment #: 5

I stand firmly in the belief of this paper, that ICT should be a separate learning in itself. It is a good decision by ACCE to divide it into two strands - Digital Technologies and ICT - as it will no doubt help teachers focus more what the level of achievement is for students. I also see the need for ICT to be a compulsory subject along with Maths, English, and Science. The world we live in is becoming more and more structured around ICT, so why shouldn't we make it compulsory so that future members of society more digital literate. It is just as important to be able to count as it is to be ICT ready. ICT needs to be distinguished from the rest and we need to ensure that we inspire innovative ideas from our students. That is the key....otherwise, the use of ICT would be deemed as not a necessity but something that is just there in the background of our lives.

Cathy Woods's picture

Cathy Woods (not verified) wrote:

13 July, 2012 - 21:53 Comment #: 6

Wisdom begins in wonder.
Socrates

Ian Green and Allan Carrington at Adelaide University have been running workshops in Padology and training faculty at Australian Universities and now overseas which Allan Carrington has blogged about here. We need to deliver specific ICT needs as courses/workshops and perhaps consider the need to use online avenues when the NBN rollout is accessible to all. We need to ensure staff and students have the ICT skills and competencies for the 21st century and like Allan Carrington and Ian Green I think we need to tie that to Bloom's Digital Taxonomy as I blogged about here. It is some thing we are working on at school this year. At our school we have courses which focus on specifics in digital technology like the music Sound House , the digital art courses, CAD, other courses in Technology including robotics, digital photography, media studies and so forth. So we can incorporate digital competencies and specifics into the curriculum and the post about NSW schools supports that. We can also expect all teachers to be utilising ICT since it is a general competency. Across the urriculum I think we need to beef it up where we can and then expect ICT usage in all classrooms. Needs based learning at any given time or year can be done online or with workshops. There is then the Digital Technologies which comes up as part of the Technologies shape paper and that has certain expectations for various stages of learning and the implication could be that it is to be taught separately by teachers who have an expertise in those areas. We are currently almost to the stage where we are going to get all faculties to look at the expectations for the general capabilites and what comes out of that really ought to be fed back somewhere regional/national.The Digital Technologies as part of Technology has clear aims:

The Australian Curriculum: Technologies will aim to develop students who:
• are creative, innovative and enterprising when using traditional, contemporary and
emerging technologies
• effectively and responsibly select and use appropriate technologies, materials,
information, systems, tools and equipment when designing and creating socially,
economically and environmentally sustainable products, services or environments
• critique, evaluate and apply thinking skills and technologies processes that people
use to shape their world, and to transfer that learning to other technology situations
• individually and collaboratively plan, manage, create and produce solutions to
purposeful technology projects for personal, local, national and global settings
• engage confidently with and make informed, ethical decisions about technologies
for personal wellbeing, recreation, everyday life, the world of work and preferred
futures.

It is also clear in the Digital technologies paper what needs to be done e.g.:

At Years 9 and 10 (typically 14–16 years of age), Technologies curriculum will be
developed for two subjects: Design and technologies and Digital technologies. Students
may also choose to study additional technologies subjects that complement and do not
duplicate the Australian Curriculum and are currently offered by states and territories.

For younger year levels it reads as though it would be part of everyone's brief. Once you reach years 11 and 12 the courses would be separate and the expectations are there and I would expect those to be separate courses but that would not preclude other teachers from engaging with high end technology.

So for general capabilites I think we link to what we are already familiar with and that is Bloom's Taxonomy, our national professional standards and in SA the Teaching for Effective Guidelines .All of those would upport ICT general capabilities and then could be used, as Adelaide University has done, for specific needs.

I should like to draw your attention to The AICTEC report from 2008 esp p.7 .The AICTEC clarifies a number of these issues with regard to implementation.

As for the flipped classroom and the Emperor not having any clothes, as I mentioned before things like that are worth considering and following the Twitter hashtags #flippedclass #edchat . There are also #ozteachers and #edtech. On that not I suggest we get onto Twitter and create our own hashtag #acaraict and get these great dicussions turning over.

Adrian Smith's picture

Adrian Smith (not verified) wrote:

11 July, 2012 - 10:53 Comment #: 7

I too strongly believe ICT should be a standalone subject in the National Curriculum. Just as with the core subjects you must have properly qualified teachers, courses with relevant content and the right tools. If we have all of these present then ICT can be taught very successfully.

Michelle Williams's picture

Michelle Williams (not verified) wrote:

18 July, 2012 - 22:25 Comment #: 8

Marg Lloyd suggested at the QSITE conf that we had all we had wished for in the current agenda (Thanks ACCE and CEGs for lobbying consistently over the years). Can't wait to see the syllabus roll outs and hoping the writing teams contain some IT teachers......

I think we should NOW be lobbying for teacher prep programs to once more train IT teachers so we are ready for 2015. Some unis were involved and because of various pressures there seems to be less unis prepared to train IT teachers specifically. I wish for ACCE and state groups to put this teacher preparation and teacher retraining (maybe) issue on their agenda.

Just a thought to the hard working volunteer team.

Cheers till Perth

Michelle

Liddy Nevile's picture

Liddy Nevile (not verified) wrote:

11 July, 2012 - 10:24 Comment #: 9

I wonder it there are two subjects being confused in this discussion? While there is a good argument being put for increasing the students' understanding of technology, it seems to be focused on what can be done with technologies of today and how. This seems like an 'applied' subject, and is vital for all today, I agree.

There is also a huge need for students to have the basics upon which they can build for future technologies. This is necessarily an 'abstract' or theoretical subject. It is interesting to me that in the US all students at some universities, like Berkeley, for example, are taking some of the theoretical work in their courses. Without the principles of maths, we would find it hard to get students ready for university scientific, engineering, medical, etc courses, and the same thing applies to computer science - an alternative but equally vital bundle of principles, IMHO.

While worldwide there has been a slump in the number of students going into the development side of technology, there is now a very concentrated effort to turn this state of affairs around. If we don't take notice of this in Australia, we will just have to follow and we too will have to engage in the remedial work later on.

Teaching computer science is easier now that ever because there are so many good resources available and fun activities.

Liddy

Cathy Woods's picture

Cathy Woods (not verified) wrote:

10 July, 2012 - 22:07 Comment #: 10

May the discussion continue since we seem to be arriving at a useful place in terms of our National Curriculum and ICT. The ACCE position paper raises some valid issues and the comments have fleshed those ideas out in a very real sense. ICT taught as a separate subject has not been successful in my experience. Incorporating ICT across the curriculum is essential since this is how it operates in real life.The ubiquitous use of mobile and tablet technology means that digital technologies are permeating our daily life in a very real way. So a classroom ought to be making normal use of technology and setting best practice for particular phases in learning. If you look at the General Capabilites framework it does specify the sorts of things which might be expected and in senior levels it is looking at ethics,safety ,privacy and personnalisation. With the imminent advent of cloud computing where data and personal information may be stored overseas then the issue of rights and legality are being challenged right now.This is all digital citizenship. There is no mention of that. Then we have to look at the blocking of social media in school and yet Facebook is the 3rd biggest cou ntry in the world and Twitter the second biggest search engine. Our curriculum needs to incorportate digital technolgy in a real way so that concepts like classroom flipping are considered .It's a whole new way of teaching and thinking. It is not just a set of skills to be mastered. In that sense I wholly agree with the concluding statements in the previous comment. We can separate some skills out - like databases, videos, tweeting, docs, blogging but we also need to look at how to innovate with and capitalise on technology. We need to embed it into our curriculum and ensure it is used. Given the NBN roll out is coming then thinking in a technological, digital way has to be a priority right across the curriculum. Skills boosting can be incorporated with master classes or specialised instruction and maybe schools need to consider how that could be delivered and the national curriculum has to incorporate that notion and consider online delivery of some specific skills areas which students can access.

David Grover's picture

David Grover (not verified) wrote:

11 July, 2012 - 14:07 Comment #: 11

Cathy,
I must disagree!
We certainly need ICT integration butt is vital that we offer rigorous standalone IT courses if we expect to produce the skills required for both the information technology and creative digital fields in the future. Incidentally, my personal campaign is to rename ICT as Information and Creative Technologies (the regular acronym is entirely soul-less!!)
Expertly trained teachers are needed to meet this need. My students crave high level teaching in this area and are bitterly disappointed when teachers do not have the requisite skills.
NSW offers an elective, Information and Software Technology, a project based course with an impressive range of modules from AI, robotics, Digital media, Multimedia, Introductory programming, Database design, Networking systems, Web design, Software and hardware, People/Careers, Social and ethical issues and Past, New and Emerging Technologies. We have three full classes of students in each of years 9 and 10 and three skilled colleagues to teach them. However there are neighbouring schools which struggle to get a class running. Kids are not fools and vote with their feet.
The project based approach encourages creativity and innovation in their work. The classroom is immediately differentiated and previous years' work sets the bar high for the next crop. They get involved in creating augmented reality projects, 3D printing from Sketchup designs, stereoscopy, creating apps for mobile devices and more.
Having just returned from ISTE 2012 Conference where the flipped classroom was the buzzword, I wish to call from the side of the parade that the emperor has no clothes! I went to three sessions on the subject. I can imagine how revolutionary it might seem to a traditional teacher, but it is no more than creative teachers of all subjects have been doing all their careers when preparing worthwhile work for home and following up in class time. A true flipping of the classroom occurs when the student becomes a teacher, or at least takes a learning journey in the company of a teacher...Socratic dialogues are the beginning of this genuine flipping!

Alex Delaforce's picture

Alex Delaforce (not verified) wrote:

21 November, 2011 - 14:18 Comment #: 12

I commend those putting their best efforts into this process. I think that the use of ICT should be embedded in every subject both as a tool (study with) and as an object (study of, within the subject context) within suitable units. I also think that all students should be supported in developing a regularly reviewed suit of high-level ICT- based skills

The remainder is a bit of a rant but is a major source of concern. I hope nobody minds.

It is essential that we put significant energy behind developing an explicit focus on ICT throughout our teaching and learning programmes. It is not sufficient that we end up with kids that can play games, use Facebook and type up assignments.
We need to have programmes that purposely produce citizens who don't merely cope with technology but use it creatively and critically. This will never happen if we only assume the development of ICT appreciation within subjects, although at all stages ICT should be embedded as well as, and not instead of being discretely developed.

The reasons why we are so ineffectively equipped for helping our students prepare for the best of futures include problems with teacher skills and appreciation of ICT and their place in a. the educational process and b. the wider world. My view is that teachers and many universities suffering inter-generational effects of being behind in both skill and appreciation in the ICT field. Now it wouldn't be so bad if this effect was only across two generations - my feeling is that our newest teachers are still being taught the 'art' by institutions and teachers who, in the main, teach from the perspective of those who taught their teachers - with, thank God, some amazing exceptions. The cramped curriculum will also continue to dilute the efforts of teachers, this despite the potential of the Australian Curriculum to really modernise our approach and the amount of content teachers still have to get through.

The end product of missing the boat on this one is that all the service jobs, routine algorithmic design (programming and systems) roles, research and most of the jobs that can go offshore, will go offshore. This will mean that only our most creative, ICT competent and multidisciplinary workers will survive at higher salary levels and the remainder of our kids and grand-kids will be in jobs where the wages are related to and limited by cheaper alternatives in other countries. I have already seen this type of effect in relation to support jobs related to government functions such as tax. In Australia even government departments sub-contracts to Australian companies who pay very low rates and, because of the financial model (which offsets all training costs against tax), offer poor work conditions that causes high staff turn-over.

We shouldn't be putting our next generation of citizens into this situation.

Maria's picture

Maria (not verified) wrote:

10 November, 2011 - 20:48 Comment #: 13

I strongly believe ICT should be a standalone subject in the National Curriculum.
Our students need strong ICT terminology and ICT skills to survive and to be successful in today's'
society.

Michelle Williams's picture

Michelle Williams (not verified) wrote:

10 October, 2011 - 12:04 Comment #: 14

I have dipped into this document from time to time for various reasons. I was interested in comments about hosting computer studies type studies online. Great idea and something ACCE might have time to promote. I think that ACCE could also include in its agenda, knowledge and wisdom about online pedagogy for both digital literacy and computer studies agendas. Delivering content is not sufficient; there is a need to address online pedagogy and learning strategies in the new learning environments in schools and universities.

Would be an interesting project.
Cheers
Michelle

Patricia's picture

Patricia (not verified) wrote:

29 July, 2011 - 05:18 Comment #: 15

I would say the idea of a "digital strand" is more than just a good idea, it's going to become a necessity sooner or later. I read a study recently that stated that over 83% of our children play video games on a regular basis. If we don't incorporate more ICT skills, it's going to show in the end product of our education.

Liddy Nevile's picture

Liddy Nevile (not verified) wrote:

1 May, 2011 - 10:00 Comment #: 16

First, I commend the version of the paper made available by Tom Worthington. Sadly, I think that not having ICT as a learning area in its own right allows us to forget the important principles such as that new technologies, properly used, are inclusive according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities - which would suggest we should not publish anything of consequence as PDFs, especially if they are not fully accessible PDFs. So please, look at Tom's accessible version of the paper at http://blog.tomw.net.au/2011/04/ict-in-australian-curriculum.html#accepaper.

But, more to the topic at hand, I endorse the paper and its goals because my own experience working on IT developments has shown me that there is a significant problem that runs across the range of disciplines that arises from people's skills being foremost in their minds rather than IT principles, and therefore the possibilities, offered by the new technologies.

I have been working with educators, information experts such as librarians, people concerned with inclusivity of the technologies for people with disabilities in particular, and more. We spend a significant amount of time trying to explain the possibilities because many of those we work with take for granted their experiences with, for example, Microsoft products, and think only within the capabilities of their experiences. In the last five years, we have managed within the ISO and other contexts to develop a sensible, interoperable way of describing educational resources (what is now available as Metadata for Learning Resources (MLR - ISO/IEC 19788)). Most of the heavy lifting in this process was finding ways to help those with narrow ways of thinking about technology to open their minds to the reality of what is doable. This was a shared concern for us, as Australians, with colleagues from Canada, Sweden, Norway, the UK, France, etc. We all found it frustrating and felt that if only IT were something people learned about, instead of just did, we would have achieved better results more easily.

At last year's meeting at MIT of those interested in the new Scratch environments for kids, combining very cleverly the social networking, communications, open sharing, programming (and whatever else), there was a panel discussion about the need for American children (in particular, but also others) to learn about technology - as a topic. I commend this discussion to all ... see http://techtv.mit.edu/collections/scratch:1231/videos/8131-scratchmit-fr...

Stephen Loosley's picture

Stephen Loosley (not verified) wrote:

19 April, 2011 - 01:55 Comment #: 17

Agreed .. ICT is an essential core curriculum.

And it would seem that ACARA might be ready to partially accept this, with Digital Literacy already being a core annual Australia-wide school NAPLAN test.

However, for several reasons, I believe the national curriculum ICT 'core'

    must

be largely delivered and assessed electronically. Put it online. It is appropriate and fitting that ICT become the first online national
curriculumn subject. And as such a CORE online curriculum subject, with various school based ICT electives.

Such online-ed initiatives can be interesting, eg the IDL or UK's DiDA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DiDA

But one prime, and inescapable, statistic is that we have laregly failed to encourage students to study ICT.

Eg, Quote .. McLahlan (2009)

"The number of students who have elected to study Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) ICT
subjects and successfully passed them has been steadily decreasing since 2001. There has been on
average a 64% (males 55.3% and females 81.2%) drop. The number of Victorian schools that offer
VCE ICT has also decreased since 2001, there are up to 170 less schools offering IT related subjects
(Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority 2010a). The phenomenon of declining enrolments
since 2001 is not restricted to Victoria alone, evidence of this has been shown in South Australia
and NSW (Vickers 2007). The recurring theme (is one of) students disinterested in ICT study .."

So, as an elective, ICT is being boringly taught and dying. Making it a core subject, as it has been taught
over the last decade, seems to almost gaurantee a student revolt. But online and interesting, it's win-win.
Students win, schools win & Australia wins. Hmm, that's win-win-win. Not bad for a $60,000 online course.

Cheers, people
Stephen Loosley
Member, Victorian
Institute of Teaching
.

David Grover's picture

David Grover (not verified) wrote:

18 April, 2011 - 13:07 Comment #: 18

I am very pleased to see this submission and agree with in general with the directions it adopts.
It has concerned me greatly to see ICT merely subsumed as a subset skill for other disciplines.
There are two emphases I would wish to recommend however which are omitted from the following statement made in this submission:

"There is a body of knowledge associated with ICT that is not covered in other learning areas. Typically this content focuses on the characteristics of data, people, procedures and electronic equipment and how they interact to create structured information. This knowledge and these skills form the educational and career pathways to supporting the digital economy."

These two aspects are:
• the creation of interactive digital multimedia
• introductory computer programming skills

I made the following personal submission to ACARA in July 2010 which may prove relevant here:

    Need for dedicated IT electives in Stages 4-6

Stages 4-5

It is important to recognise that computing skills cannot be developed adequately by programming ICT across the curriculum alone.

It is vital that students have the opportunity to elect to study the subject as a discipline in its own right, taught by staff with specific training in this area.

Although a cross curricula approach is vital in introducing IT skills throughout all disciplines, if left as the only exposure, the result is fragmented and the content often poorly taught.

Further the exposure of students will be limited to the narrow emphasis of those parts of ICT chosen by teachers for particular courses.

• Need for wide ranging general computing course in Stages 4 and 5
• Should not merely train in the use of software applications, although this should be part of its content
• Should emphasise digital literacy in:
How computers work
Software, hardware, data handling
History of computing and emerging technologies
Internet and its protocols
Mobile technologies
Social and ethical issues
Multimedia
Databases and spreadsheets
Website development
Networking
Robotics and Artificial intelligence
Introductory software programming

• Should cover technical digital media skills apart from the creative/artistic emphasis found in Visual Arts digital media subjects
• Emphasis needs to be on project based work which explore and emphasise digital skills where a practical approach is vital

We are witnessing creative digital industries at the crossroads of significant change. The explosion in mobile technology, 3D cinema experiences, expanded delivery of media via multiple devices has resulted in a large demand for those with these skills.
Our near neighbours are investing large amounts of money at secondary and tertiary levels in education for a continuing revolution in the use of digital media. Our national creative advantage will be maintained only by inspiring students at secondary school level to consider such careers.

Stage 6

Senior secondary study in computing needs to provide for the following broad areas of emphasis:

• A broad based general IT course without prerequisites
• An introductory course in computer programming for more advanced students
• A practically oriented IT vocational course
• A creative practical multimedia based course with emphasis on advanced interactivity IT skills (multimedia authoring)
• A visual arts digital media creative course
• Elective opportunities for specialisations: robotics, AI, movie-making etc

D Grover
21 July 2010

Visitor's picture

Visitor (not verified) wrote:

2 May, 2011 - 11:09 Comment #: 19

I would like to add another voice to David's and indeed many others on this thread, regarding the demise of ICT and the many offered solutions.

I had been an ICT teacher for 20 years. Notice the past tense. I still teach some 'electives' in yr9/10, the only curriculum area where ICT is given space at our college.

The ICT skill level of students has rapidly declined over the last several years, matched only by the rapid paradigm shift of how students view and use ICT. ICT needs its own Aust Learning Area. But more importantly than that is the development of clear competencys. (see ACCE position paper)

Cheers All

Brendyn Hancock
Nagle College

Tom Worthington's picture

tom.worthington... wrote:

17 April, 2011 - 13:57 Comment #: 20

I agree with the report's arguement that ICT will be required for students to be successful in their studies, as well as citizens and workers. I have suggested the Australian Computer Society, support the ACCE position.

The report could have put the point more strongly that ICT is not just an enabling technology, but is also has deep theoretical underpinnings, which deserve academic study and is profoundly changing our view of the world.

The paper was released as a PDF file, which is not very useful for online distribution. So I have converted the document to HTML by hand. Perhaps the authors need to update their ICT skills by doing my ANU course on e-document management ;-)

Also there was a web link missing from the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, which I have added. Unfortunately, I was not able to convert figure 1, which is an image of a table.

Liam Dunphy's picture

Liam Dunphy (not verified) wrote:

15 April, 2011 - 00:31 Comment #: 21

This is a great document that recognises the importance of the role of ICT in our society. I fully support the proposal that ICT competence as a GC be distinguished from Digital Technologies. I also agree that it is important to separate the ICT learning area from the complex and confusing "ICT and Design and Technology" and to have both strands articulated in 2-year intervals with progressive content descriptors and standards.

There is a great opportunity within the ICT competence strand to focus on digital citizenship and promote proper responsible use of ICT rather than having to police the use of emerging technologies to the point that opportunities to embrace C21 technologies are blocked due to fear of misuse.

ICT competence as a strand should be able to support teachers with the seamless integration of technology into curriculum programs. In this situation, technology should be an appropriate tool for learning and not a tool to be taught so that learning can take place. With a standards based approach, programs can be created with the confidence of knowing that students have reached the described standard of ICT competence for the particular use of ICT being embedded.

Digital Technologies as a strand should allow students to extend their use and knowledge of ICT beyond the seamless integration required in other learning areas. Current IT related subjects address this but should also be refreshed with adaptability to remain current with the ever changing potential of emerging C21 technologies.

Liam Dunphy @LiamDunphy
St Augustine's College -Sydney
Teaching and Learning Technologies Coordinator
Faculty Coordinator of Information Technology

Matthew Wells's picture

Matthew Wells (not verified) wrote:

14 April, 2011 - 23:16 Comment #: 22

It is very important, in my opinion, that provision is made for, and distinctions are made between, the use of ICTs to assist in learning and the study of ICTs as a discreet academic study.

Having said this there needs to be clear documentation of what ICT competencies/digital literacies are needed as general capabilities. An excellent point in the position paper is that such skills are not effectively learned through osmosis.

Current documents do not encourage the explicit teaching of such competencies nor guarantee that students will in fact have them taught to them at all.

Roland Gesthuizen's picture

rgesthuizen@gma... wrote:

14 April, 2011 - 21:43 Comment #: 23

Like Andrew, I like the notion of a new "Digital Technologies" strand. This helps to articulate a clear position from the different views that have been debated at length by leading educators over the past decade. It should go a long way to help us define the standards that will help us to define the role and place for ICT in the Australian curriculum.

Congratulations to the team that has worked hard to compile this position paper.

Andrew Fluck's picture

Andrew Fluck (not verified) wrote:

13 April, 2011 - 21:42 Comment #: 24

A very interesting paper. Overall I agree with the idea that ICT should be framed as a single coherent subject, with ICT competence distinguished from Digital Technologies.

We do have a significant problem to solve. That is, some aspects of ICT make topics in other subject areas redundant. For example: spelling (would a word-processor user need it quite so much?); Languages beyond English (it's not perfect, but Google Translate helps me read Chinese, which I have never learned).

Modern research is showing pupils using ICT can learn entirely new topics (robotics for instance) which can be placed into Digital Technologies; and existing topics at much younger ages (we have successfully taught integral calculus to 11 year-olds to university standards).

I strongly support the position paper.

Donna Benjamin's picture

Donna Benjamin (not verified) wrote:

13 April, 2011 - 20:26 Comment #: 25

The DATTA document referenced says:

"The study of information systems, communication systems and/or digital media links with learning in mathematics, science and the arts."

It also suggests that "a comprehensive suite of computer‐based subjects is developed as part of the Technology learning area to extend students beyond the requirements of ICT skills as a general capability."

I couldn't agree more.

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