The Technologies Learning Area is not the trade courses or VET
(Vocational Education and Training). Technology Education, as it is
known in a world-wide context, is where the principles of engineering
and manufacturing are first taught to children. From their first
experiences at school, where experimentation with technology will be
encouraged, through to the optional study of Software Design and
The current draft has all students studying two separate subjects,
Design & Technologies and Digital Technologies from the beginning of
school through to year 8 and then optionally in years 9 and 10.
Development of subjects for years 11 and 12 has now begun.
Digital Technologies is more than simply the use of Information and
Communication Technologies – indeed that is something that should occur
in every subject. The ACARA documents are strong on the General
Capability of Information and Communication Technology, where the use
and application of digital tools are used in all learning areas.
Digital technologies go further than this and may best be described as
computer science with a backbone of algorithmic and computational
States and territories will take this nationally developed curriculum
and weave it into their respective curriculum as resources become
F-10 is the term used by ACARA for the years from Foundation
(Kindergarten in NSW) until year 10 which, in most instances, is not up
to the end of mandatory education. The minimal school leaving age is
Concepts of design thinking and challenging problem solving are
embedded in the curriculum and underpin technology education
internationally. In Design and Technology study, students will be
expected to apply design thinking and, at times, engineering principles
to tasks. They will equally apply safe food principles and nutrition,
agriculture in food and fibre study as well as a study of materials of
the “made world” around them. Engineering principles and systems are
one of four mandated study areas from F to year 10.
In Digital Technologies, children will learn to think
algorithmically; applying computational thinking to design challenges.
These concepts will apply from year 2.
The Technologies curriculum in each state includes many more subjects
than Design and Technology and a Digital Technologies subject. Subjects
such as Industrial Technology-Engineering, taught in years 9 and 10 in
NSW are not included in the ACARA curriculum.
Other subjects in the Technology Learning area in NSW include, for
example; Graphics (Technical Drawing but predominantly CAD today),
Timber, Metal, Textiles, Agriculture, Marine and Aquaculture, Food
Technologies in addition to the Design and Technology and Digital
Technology subjects. The latter being called Information & Software
technology in NSW and other names in different states and territories.
A draft curriculum is available on the ACARA web site and a survey is
available. Each state and territory will also apply its own processes
of consultation. For example the NSW Board of Studies will have city and
country face to face meetings, their own state-based survey and an
online forum for NSW teachers and academics. A number of other forums
setup by teachers are also capturing opinions, such as this one and
the Facebook pages of the teacher associations, the Institute of
Industrial Arts, Technology Education in NSW (IIATE), and the National
Design and Technology Teachers Association (DATTA). The NSW Department
of Education and Communities would be typical of other states also
conducting workshops to seek feedback regarding the current document for
a final review. Revisions will then take place from May to October
2013 for release in late 2013, all being well.
The Science and Mathematics curricula, along with English and History
have already been developed and are available in the states on their
curriculum sites. NSW took the opportunity to develop what is probably a
world first. The syllabus documents are available and were developed as
an electronic form here. The NSW syllabus for the Australian Curriculum is worth looking at.
With regard to the Technologies Curriculum, after the consultations
are complete and the amendments finalised by the end of 2013, it will be
up to states and territories to implement the work, given budgets and
This will be a curriculum for the future.
It has to be to maintain a prosperous future for Australia. Do we take this opportunity for a 21st century school curriculum with appropriate resourcing and teacher training?
Or do we squander this national opportunity?