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Friday, April 21, 2017

Coding in the classroom | Pursuit - Learning & Teaching

Photo: Joanne Blannin
Joanne Blannin, Digital Learning Leader, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne reports, "Australian schools will soon introduce the new Digital Technologies curriculum - part of preparing students for the future, says the University of Melbourne."

Photo: Zach Frailey / Flickr

Soon parents around the country will start receiving reports that assess their child against the new Digital Technologies curriculum.

Every child from the first year of school to Year 10 will be working on this curriculum, although their skills will not be formally assessed until the end of Year 2 (7-year-olds).

Many are no doubt perplexed by language that directs their children to become, “confident and creative developers of digital solutions through the application of information systems”. Should we be asking whether the government is seeking to create an entire generation of computer programmers?

Today’s students will need to confidently navigate a very different future - a digital, online world with a new language and approach to work and learning. As teachers, parents and leaders come to grips with the demands of this new curriculum, it is important to reflect on why there is a global shift towards teaching students about digital technologies themselves, rather than just how to use particular software or devices.

Developing technological fluency 
When we log into the Internet, whether through Facebook, Instagram, email or another tool, we enter spaces that have been created by people. Every online space has a unique culture, purpose and accepted way to interact. These are key aspects of technology use that we need to provide in schools.

We would not send our students off to a foreign land and expect them to function as easily as they do at home. They would need to know the basics of the language, how to interact appropriately with others, how things work and generally how to act in the new culture. Similarly, we shouldn’t expect students to be fluent users of digital or online technologies simply because they play games and can search the Internet.

Fluency with digital technologies means understanding how computers work, how they might be used to meet our needs, how we might repair or modify them and yes, even how to write computer programs to control them. This is a new type of fluency for the 21st Century.

The new curriculum 
The new Digital Technology (DT) curriculum aims to develop confident and creative developers of digital solutions. There is a strong focus on creative technology use through its three learning strands: Digital Systems, Data and Information, and Creating Digital Solutions... 

Preparing students for their future, not ours 
When today’s students leave school, they will enter a world that is vastly different to the one we entered after our schooling, even if it was just 10 years ago. Nearly every job today requires some knowledge of digital technologies.

Collaboration is an increasingly important skill in today’s workplace.
Photo: Lucélia Ribeiro/ Flickr

Technology has infiltrated our homes as well as our schools. In 2016, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that, on average, a household in Australia has six internet-connected devices. If there are children under 15 living in the house, that number increases to seven devices.

This increased technology use at home is changing the way we think about technology users and the way in which we should be teaching technological skills. Although certain language continues to be used by the mainstream media, there is no longer a clear, generational division between the so-called digital nativesand ‘digital immigrants’.
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Source: Pursuit