Some interesting news and views….
Australian Curriculum: Technologies
Available for use; awaiting final endorsement. Two distinct subjects – 1. Design and Technologies 2. Digital Technologies. All students will study both from Foundation to Year 8. In Year 9 and 10, access will be determined by school authorities.
Design and Technologies – students use design thinking and technologies to generate and produce designed solutions for authentic needs and opportunities. http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/technologies/design-and-technologies/Curriculum/F-10
Digital Technologies – students use computational thinking and information systems to define, design and implement digital solutions. http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/technologies/digital-technologies/Curriculum/F-10
Australian Curriculum: General Capabilities: ICT Capability
“In the Australian Curriculum, students develop ICT capability as they learn to use ICT effectively and appropriately to access, create and communicate information and ideas, solve problems and work collaboratively in all learning areas at school, and in their lives beyond school. The capability involves students in learning to make the most of the digital technologies available to them, adapting to new ways of doing things as technologies evolve and limiting the risks to themselves and others in a digital environment.”
Do we really need a Digital Technologies syllabus?
Here’s an interesting article by Deborah Trevallion (lecturer, School of Education, Uni of Newcastle). If ICT capability is integrated into every subject, why do we need a Digital Technologies syllabus? Who is going to teach it? Will we need to find specialist computing teachers? The Australian syllabus is already overcrowded – perhaps the Digital Technologies syllabus should just be a strand of the Design and Technologies syllabus.
Teaching the new Digital Technologies syllabus
Indeed, feedback was given during the Draft stage, commenting on the level of difficulty and advanced nature of the Digital Technologies curriculum, especially for years F-6. Will teachers have the expertise to deliver the curriculum? Interesting to see the Computer Science Education Research Group at the University of Adelaide (supported by Google) offering a free course for F-6 teachers (starting 24 March) in digital technology and computational thinking and how to implement the curriculum (thanks Stephen Loosley for your update). More courses like this will need to be offered so that teachers can become familiar with this new learning area – many teachers will have had little experience with concepts such as algorithms, programming and information systems. Interesting though! https://csdigitaltech.appspot.com/preview
Implementing the Digital Technologies syllabus will be an exciting time – maybe it’s an area in which teacher librarians can develop expertise? Computer science and coding are becoming more prominent worldwide….
Code.org and the Hour of Code
Code.org launched in January 2013 – a non-profit organisation that promotes computer coding & computer science, especially in schools. Supporters include Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and President Obama. During 9 – 15 Dec 2013 they launched the Hour of Code Challenge – 20 million people in 168 countries participated and 600 million lines of code were written. http://www.youtube.com/user/CodeOrg http://www.centerdigitaled.com/news/Hour-of-Code-Takes-off-in-Schools.html
Teacher coding & user friendly professional resources (useful for Aust. Curriculum) – looks like fun!:
Chicago public schools are establishing computer science as a core subject in high schools, in partnership with Code.org,. who will provide free curriculum and PD for teachers. Sounds good! http://www.centerdigitaled.com/news/Chicago-Public-Schools-to-Establish-Computer-Science-as-Core-Subject-.html?utm_source=related&utm_medium=direct&utm_campaign=Chicago-Public-Schools-to-Establish-Computer-Science-as-Core-Subject
The National Curriculum for primary schools in England will adopt lessons in basic programming from Sept 2014, from kindergarten on. This is already happening in Estonia. The Hour of Code will also run in the UK in March this year.
Short video: http://www.bbc.com/news/education-25648769 http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/10468460/Coding-for-kids-schoolchildren-learn-computer-programming.html
National Curriculum in England: computing programmes of study: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-computing-programmes-of-study
Lots of exciting developments!