Unpack the Curriculum

Understand the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies

Band 5-6
Band Description

Learning in Digital Technologies focuses on further developing understanding and skills in computational thinking such as identifying similarities in different problems and describing smaller components of complex systems. It also focuses on the sustainability of information systems for current and future uses.

By the end of Year 6, students will have had opportunities to create a range of digital solutions, such as games or quizzes and interactive stories and animations.

In Year 5 and 6, students develop an understanding of the role individual components of digital systems play in the processing and representation of data. They acquire, validate, interpret, track and manage various types of data and are introduced to the concept of data states in digital systems and how data are transferred between systems.

They learn to further develop abstractions by identifying common elements across similar problems and systems and develop an understanding of the relationship between models and the real-world systems they represent.

When creating solutions, students define problems clearly by identifying appropriate data and requirements. When designing, they consider how users will interact with the solutions, and check and validate their designs to increase the likelihood of creating working solutions. Students increase the sophistication of their algorithms by identifying repetition and incorporate repeat instructions or structures when implementing their solutions through visual programming, such as reading user input until an answer is guessed correctly in a quiz. They evaluate their solutions and examine the sustainability of their own and existing information systems.

Students progress from managing the creation of their own ideas and information for sharing to working collaboratively. In doing so, they learn to negotiate and develop plans to complete tasks. When engaging with others, they take personal and physical safety into account, applying social and ethical protocols that acknowledge factors such as social differences and privacy of personal information. They also develop their skills in applying technical protocols such as devising file naming conventions that are meaningful and determining safe storage locations to protect data and information.

Achievement Standard

By the end of Year 6, students explain the fundamentals of digital system components (hardware, software and networks) and how digital systems are connected to form networks. They explain how digital systems use whole numbers as a basis for representing a variety of data types.

Students define problems in terms of data and functional requirements and design solutions by developing algorithms to address the problems. They incorporate decision-making, repetition and user interface design into their designs and implement their digital solutions, including a visual program. They explain how information systems and their solutions meet needs and consider sustainability. Students manage the creation and communication of ideas and information in collaborative digital projects using validated data and agreed protocols.

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Hiding details of an idea, problem or solution that are not relevant, to focus on a manageable number of aspects.

Abstraction does not appear explicitly in the content descriptions.

However, abstraction underpins the design and progression of content descriptions between band levels for each concept.

Digital systems
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Examine the main components of common digital systems and how they may connect together to form networks to transmit data (ACTDIK014)


Systems explores the composition of systems and their use in all aspects of our lives.


Networks describes how we connect systems together and use them to transmit data.


Security is concerned with how we protect the data stored in and transmitted by systems.

Peripherals and components

Components are the parts included in a digital system. Peripherals connect to a digital system to extend its functionality.

Students explain how digital systems are made up of parts (e.g. a tablet includes a screen, battery, processor etc.) that perform specific functions (e.g. the processor controls the tablet, performs calculations, and manipulates data).

Connecting digital systems

Different systems can be connected to one another to exchange information.

Students explain how separate systems can be connected in different ways (e.g. cables or wireless) to exchange data (e.g. connecting a computer to an online gaming server).

Transmit data

Send and receive data to and from digital systems.

Students describe the way data is structured (e.g. broken up into small pieces) and transmitted through a network (e.g. passes from the source, through multiple devices, to the destination).

The content descriptions do not explicitly address Security in band 5-6.
Data representation
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Examine how whole numbers are used to represent all data in digital systems (ACTDIK015)


Representation explores how we model, construct and describe data.

Data types

Data types describe the internal representation of data in digital systems and the operations that can be performed on it.

Whole number representation

All data can be represented as whole numbers in digital systems.

Students represent data using whole numbers (e.g. converting letters in a message to numbers using their position in the alphabet) and recognise this is how digital systems represent data.

Data types

Data types define how data is represented and the operations that can change it.

Students explain how the data type used to represent data (e.g. number, string) changes the operations you can perform on it (e.g. adding numbers performs addition, adding strings joins them).

Data collection
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Acquire, store and validate different types of data, and use a range of software to interpret and visualise data to create information (ACTDIP016)

Acquire data

Acquire data examines how we collect and access data from a variety of sources.

Manage data

Manage data is concerned with the processes we use to facilitate how we use data.

Acquire data

Gather new data and obtain existing data.

Students collect a range of data (e.g. surveying friends and family, recording temperature and rainfall data) and access data from online databases (e.g. Bureau of Meteorology).

Store data

Record data in ways that allows it to be easily accessed and manipulated.

Students store data using specialised and general software (e.g. survey tools and spreadsheets) appropriate for how it will be accessed and manipulated (e.g. survey tools summarise results, while spreadsheets allow further analysis).

Validate data

Ensure data is correct and meaningful for the question being answered.

Students create rules to determine whether the data is correct (e.g. the height of an adult can be between 50cm and 270cm) and ready for analysis (e.g. all measured in centimetres).

Data interpretation
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Acquire, store and validate different types of data, and use a range of software to interpret and visualise data to create information (ACTDIP016)

Organise data

Organise data explores the ways we order, sort and arrange data to assist us with interpretation in different contexts.

Visualise data

Visualise data describes the many ways we present data in its raw and summarised form for communication and further analysis.

Interpret data

Organise data to answer questions.

Students reveal patterns by classifying, grouping, and sorting data (e.g. a team rarely wins when playing away) and make predictions (e.g. when playing at home with a big crowd the team is more likely to win).

Visualise data

Present data to reveal patterns, trends, outliers, or other information.

Students visualise data using graphs (e.g. a scatter plot of student race times with age) and diagrams (e.g. a cricket wagon wheel showing where a player scores runs) to reveal trends.

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Define problems in terms of data and functional requirements drawing on previously solved problems (ACTDIP017)

Problem definition

Problem definition is the process we follow and considerations we make to determine and describe the problems we intend to solve.


Constraints describe the restricting factors we face when solving problems, and how we factor these into our planned solutions.


Decomposition is the process of breaking a problem into more manageable pieces so it can be understood and solved.

Describe problems

Determining the nature and description of a problem to be solved.

Students use provided stimulus (e.g. newspaper articles, information brochures) to identify a problem and write a problem statement (e.g. people get hurt in bushfires when they are unprepared. How can we help them be better prepared?)

Requirements and constraints

What a solution is required to do to solve the problem, and the constraints on that solution.

Students describe what a solution needs to do to solve a problem (e.g. inform people about the steps they need to take to prepare for a bushfire) and the data available to solve it (e.g. the fire danger rating).

The content descriptions do not explicitly address Decomposition in band 5-6.
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Design, modify and follow simple algorithms involving sequences of steps, branching, and iteration (repetition) (ACTDIP019)

Follow algorithms

Follow algorithms is the process of performing the steps required to solve a problem.

Design algorithms

Design algorithms captures the solution design we undertake to develop an automated solution to a problem.

Algorithm constructs

Algorithm constructs are the building blocks we use to define our algorithms in a form digital systems can execute.

Follow algorithms

Follow an ordered sequence of steps to solve a simple problem or complete a task.

Students follow the steps, decisions, and loops in algorithms (e.g. repeating the steps to add two digits for each column in multi-digit addition), and know what step they are up to (e.g. know which column they are adding and when to stop).

Represent algorithms

Represent a clear, ordered sequence of steps and decisions using words and images.

Students describe algorithms using procedural language (e.g. repeat until all items are scanned, or if it is hot then wear a hat, otherwise wear a jumper) and flowcharts (e.g. rectangles for steps and diamonds for decisions).

Design and modify algorithms

Design an algorithm, or modify an existing one, to fix an error or change functionality.

Students design an algorithm (e.g. to decide when to water a garden) or understand and modify an existing algorithm to fix an error (e.g. watering when the soil is too wet) or change functionality (e.g. taking into account humidity as well as soil moisture level).

Sequence of steps

An sequence of steps (instructions) where order might or might not matter.

Students describe more than one sequence of steps that solve the same problem (e.g. specifying the exact route through a maze vs. using the right-hand rule) , and can explain why one is better than the other (e.g. the right-hand rule is a general algorithm that works for all mazes).

Branching (decisions)

Branching involves following different steps based on a yes/no decision.

Students describe a decision that has more than two options (e.g. selecting transport i.e. if distance < 2km then walk, else if distance < 5km then ride, else catch the bus) to select the next step.


Iteration involves repeating a sequence of steps until a condition is met.

Students describe algorithms that repeat one or more steps a fixed number of times (e.g. recite number facts from 1 to 12) or until a condition is met (e.g. keep mixing until the ingredients are combined).

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Implement digital solutions as simple visual programs involving branching, iteration (repetition), and user input (ACTDIP020)

Digital Solutions

Digital solutions are computer programs implemented with a programming language (code).

Programming constructs

Programming constructs are the fundamental principles of program control flow we use in programming languages.

Programming paradigms

Programming paradigms are the underlying philosophies and approaches that are used in the structure of computer programs.

Implement Digital Solutions

Translate an algorithm into a program (code) for a computer to run. Coding is a synonym for computer programming.

Students can write the code to solve a simple problem.

Test Digital Solutions

Define the expected (correct) behaviour for given input and check a program against it.

Students state the expected behaviour of a program (e.g. when I press the left arrow key, the cat should move left), run the program to check it is correct, and fix any errors (e.g. they change 10 to -10 to alter the direction).

User Input

Receiving data from the user or environment to change program behaviour.

Students can accept input from the user through the keyboard or other peripherals, and store that input in a variable that can be used to affect program execution.


Branching involves making a decision in a program to choose which block of code is run.

Students can implement decisions in their programs that include multiple outcomes (else-if statements) and nested logic.


Iteration involves repeatedly running a block of code until a condition is met.

Students can implement loops in their program that repeat a given number of times, continue until a certain condition is met, and may include variables and values that change inside the loop and trigger its exit condition.

Visual programming

A computer program represented graphically in a block-based environment.

Students can create programs using visual programming languages that contain complex logic and behave correctly with greater variations in input and user interaction.

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Explain how student solutions and existing information systems are sustainable and meet current and future local community needs (ACTDIP021)

Information systems

Information systems describe the solutions developed by people that make use of data and systems.


Users are the people who benefit from or control information systems.

Evaluation considerations

Evaluation considerations is concerned with how we factor the intended and unintended impacts of our solutions into our designs and implementation strategies.

Student solutions

The answers and products students develop themselves as solutions to problems.

Students can evaluate the effectiveness of their own solutions to address the identified problem, or how the solution improves an aspect of their lives.

Information systems

A combination of digital systems, data, processes, and people that interact to create, control, and communicate information.

Students can investigate a wider range of systems that help society operate through undertaking their own research.

Current users

People and groups that are using the system now to meet a present need.

Students can explain how the design of a solution takes into account the characteristics of the people who will be most likely to use it.

Future users

People and groups that are likely to want to use the system in the future, possibly to address an as yet undetermined need, or a change in current needs.

Students can predict the expected long-term requirements of a solution by extrapolating who the potential users will be in the future, and how this informs the flexibility and adaptability of the design to account for any likely changes.


The impact digital systems have had on our ability to solve a range of problems that enrich and enhance our lives.

Students can explain how existing systems meet the immediate needs of users, and how this influences their design and implementation. This is best achieved through study of existing systems, and explicit teaching when developing their own solutions. Introducing the idea that systems need to be designed for any foreseeable change helps students identify who potential future users are, but also how they might need to introduce flexibility or breadth of scope into their designs.


A broad interpretation of sustainability looks at many aspects of digital systems that make them viable over the long term, including their environmental impacts, economics and profitability, technical developments and changes, and social perceptions.

Students can understand how a broad interpretation of sustainability must be considered when evaluating the effectiveness of a solution. Scaffolding and prompting them to help understand a range of issues is likely to be necessary in this band. Asking very specific questions is a good strategy to help them understand that long term viability of systems hinges on a range of factors.

Human–Human Interactions
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Plan, create and communicate ideas and information, including collaboratively online, applying agreed ethical, social and technical protocols (ACTDIP022)

Create information

Creating information involves using digital systems to present ideas and information.

Communicate and collaborate

Communicate and collaborate involves using digital systems to share information and work with others.

Plan and manage

Plan and manage involves organising and controlling processes, people and resources in the development of solutions.

Create ideas and information

Using digital technologies to manipulate data and present a product.

Students can reflect on their progress against their plan and explain how what they learn and discover changes from their initial thinking is a part of the creation process. Students should be challenged to check the correctness of their conclusions at each stage of the process, ensuring their understanding of ideas and information is deeper and more thorough than may otherwise be the case.


Using online tools that facilitate text, audio and video communication to interact with other people working on a common project.

Students can use online tools to collaborate both in real-time and asynchronously, and learn the benefits and challenges associated with each. They should be complementing online collaboration with face-to-face opportunities where possible, and those meetings could include discussion of the challenges they are learning about and how they may be addressed.

Cyber safety

Choosing what personal information about yourself and others should be shared online and with whom.

Students protect their online identity and manage access to personal and collaborative online work (e.g. adding collaborators to a shared document rather than giving others your username and password).

Social and ethical protocols

Agreed behaviours enabling all participants to feel included, respected, and valued when interacting with each other.

Students collectively define and act on community standards (e.g. moderating language and behaviour in an online class forum) and value the work of others (e.g. not deleting the work of collaborators and respecting the intellectual property of others).

Technical protocols

The technical practices and conventions used to create, organise and manage information.

Students follow technical practices and conventions to organise and manage their personal and collaborative work efficiently (e.g. naming files sensibly, organising them in folders, and choosing where they are stored).


Developing an approach, strategy or identifying sources useful to investigate a problem and/or develop a solution.

Students can describe their plans by specifying the steps they intend to take to solve their problem and how long it might take to find the answers to questions they are investigating. This introduces the idea of projects being things that do not start and end immediately.

Human–Computer Interactions
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Design a user interface for a digital system (ACTDIP018)

User experience

User experience goes beyond user interfaces to encompass a user's perceptions and responses when interacting with a digital system.

Evaluate designs

Evaluate designs describes the considerations and design decisions we make when designing digital systems.

User Interfaces

Characteristics and elements of the digital system that determine how the user interacts with it. Includes things like buttons and prompts for text entry.

Students can demonstrate their thinking and understanding of how interactions could take place without the complexity of programming or application use that may be beyond their experience at this stage. The focus should be on how the interfaces they design facilitate interaction, and their ability to communicate the reasons behind their design decisions.

The content descriptions do not explicitly address Evaluate designs in band 5-6.