SPOILER ALERT: This post is very boring, unless you’re an Australian F-10 teacher, pre-service teacher or for some reason interested in what content is taught in the Australian Curriculum: Technologies. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
I’ve written extensively about Technology education before; but that was in the context of the Queensland Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting (QCAR) Framework: Technology curriculum. Since then, the Australian Curriculum: Technologies has been published (awaiting endorsement) and my primary education students are asking “what happened to the processes?”
So this blog post aims to answer this question for them by identifying where the technology process (TP), as they’ve identified the phases of it (investigate, ideate, produce/make/enact and evaluate), is discussed in the Australian Curriculum: Technologies. QCAR was a very easy document to interpret, analyse and use for planning; the Australian Curriculum is not so straightforward.
The very first place we encounter a mention of the TP is in the front page Rationale of the new curriculum, both in the statements that justify the new curriculum, and under Aims. The Aims particularly emphasise that “The Australian Curriculum: Technologies aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to ensure that, individually and collaboratively, students: investigate, design, plan, manage, create and evaluate solutions” and go on to describe additional aims that are worth reading, thinking about and discussing with colleagues, but are not relevant to this post.
Further, in the rationale for the Design and Technologies strand of the Technologies curriculum, the Aims state that “in addition to the overarching aims for the Australian Curriculum: Technologies, Design and Technologies more specifically aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to ensure that, individually and collaboratively, students:
- develop confidence as critical users of technologies and designers and producers of designed solutions
- investigate, generate and critique innovative and ethical designed solutions for sustainable futures
- use design and systems thinking to generate design ideas and communicate these to a range of audiences
- produce designed solutions suitable for a range of technologies contexts by selecting and manipulating a range of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment creatively, competently and safely; and managing processes
- evaluate processes and designed solutions and transfer knowledge and skills to new situations
While these Aims do not explicitly describe a linear technology process, they do quite explicitly describe the activities of each phase of the process, and the various purposes, contexts, materials and product types that students should experiment with.
When it comes to the Digital Technologies strand, the aims state that “in addition to the overarching aims for the Australian Curriculum: Technologies, Digital Technologies more specifically aims to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to ensure that, individually and collaboratively, students: design, create, manage and evaluate sustainable and innovative digital solutions to meet and redefine current and future needs.” Here we have a more explicit statement of a technology process that can be employed for the development of new digital technologies.
On the page outlining the Content Structure for the Australian Curriculum: Technologies, this table appears:
This table clearly outlines the phases and skills used for both Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies.
Further down the page, Design Thinking is described in part as involving the use of strategies for understanding design needs and opportunities, visualising and generating creative and innovative ideas, planning, and analysing and evaluating those ideas that best meet the criteria for success… Design thinking underpins learning in Design and Technologies. Design processes require students to identify and investigate a need or opportunity; generate, plan and realise designed solutions; and evaluate products and processes. Consideration of economic, environmental and social impacts that result from designed solutions are core to design thinking, design processes and Design and Technologies.
Within each strand, the content descriptions (mandated curriculum) within the substrands relating to processes and production skills emphasise the technology processes throughout the curriculum.
I hope that after reading this post, my students have a better idea of where to find the technology process and its various phases in the new Australian Curriculum: Technologies and can see how valuable it is to have a deep understanding and a rich experience of this process. It doesn’t take very long to find; it takes a lot longer to think about the implications for teachers in planning for student learning about Technologies.