Unpack the Curriculum

Understand the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies

Band 7-8
Band Description

Learning in Digital Technologies focuses on further developing understanding and skills in computational thinking such as decomposing problems and prototyping; and engaging students with a wider range of information systems as they broaden their experiences and involvement in national, regional and global activities.

By the end of Year 8, students will have had opportunities to create a range of digital solutions, such as interactive web applications or programmable multimedia assets or simulations of relationships between objects in the real world.

In Year 7 and 8, students analyse the properties of networked systems and their suitability and use for the transmission of data types. They acquire, analyse, validate and evaluate various types of data, and appreciate the complexities of storing and transmitting that data in digital systems. Students use structured data to model objects and events that shape the communities they actively engage with. They further develop their understanding of the vital role that data plays in their lives, and how the data and related systems define and are limited by technical, environmental, economic and social constraints.

They further develop abstractions by identifying common elements while decomposing apparently different problems and systems to define requirements, and recognise that abstractions hide irrelevant details for particular purposes. When defining problems, students identify the key elements of the problems and the factors and constraints at play. They design increasingly complex algorithms that allow data to be manipulated automatically, and explore different ways of showing the relationship between data elements to help computation, such as using pivot tables, graphs and clearly defined mark-up or rules. They progress from designing the user interface to considering user experience factors such as user expertise, accessibility and usability requirements.

They broaden their programming experiences to include general-purpose programming languages, and incorporate subprograms into their solutions. They predict and evaluate their developed and existing solutions, considering time, tasks, data and the safe and sustainable use of information systems, and anticipate any risks associated with the use or adoption of such systems.

Students plan and manage individual and team projects with some autonomy. They consider ways of managing the exchange of ideas, tasks and files, and techniques for monitoring progress and feedback. When communicating and collaborating online, students develop an understanding of different social contexts, for example acknowledging cultural practices and meeting legal obligations.

Achievement Standard

By the end of Year 8, students distinguish between different types of networks and defined purposes. They explain how text, image and audio data can be represented, secured and presented in digital systems.

Students plan and manage digital projects to create interactive information. They define and decompose problems in terms of functional requirements and constraints. Students design user experiences and algorithms incorporating branching and iterations, and test, modify and implement digital solutions. They evaluate information systems and their solutions in terms of meeting needs, innovation and sustainability. They analyse and evaluate data from a range of sources to model and create solutions. They use appropriate protocols when communicating and collaborating online.

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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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Investigate how data is transmitted and secured in wired, wireless and mobile networks, and how the specifications affect performance (ACTDIK023)


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.

Hardware specifications

Select hardware with appropriate specifications to perform particular tasks.

Students explain how hardware specifications affect performance (e.g. how different bandwidth networks affect download speed) and select appropriate hardware for particular tasks (e.g. choosing a powerful graphics card for computer gaming).

Connecting digital systems

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

Students describe physical networks (e.g. wired, wireless and mobile) and compare their properties (e.g. bandwidth, latency, reliability, etc.).

Transmit data

Send and receive data to and from digital systems.

Students explain how problems occur in network communication (e.g. routers can drop packets) and how they can be solved (e.g. TCP uses acknowledgements to confirm packets have been received).


Cryptography allows a message to be securely stored and transmitted.

Students explain why cryptography is necessary for securing data (e.g. transmitting credit card details over the web) and explore simple encryption and decryption algorithms (e.g. rot13 and XOR).

Data representation
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Investigate how digital systems represent text, image and audio data in binary (ACTDIK024)


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.


Using only two symbols (e.g. 0 and 1 in base-2) to represent a whole number.

Students represent whole numbers in binary, and recognise this is how digital systems represent whole numbers (e.g. converting a character to its Unicode value, then converting that value into binary).

Data types

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

Students explain the conventions used by digital systems to represent data as whole numbers.

Text strings are represented as a sequence of individual characters (e.g. letters, punctuation and emoji) using the Unicode character set.

Bitmap images (e.g. PNG and JPEG) store the colour of each pixel as separate red, green and blue (RGB) channels ranging from 0-255. Vector graphics (e.g. SVG) represent images using the geometry of lines and shapes.

Audio is represented using whole numbers for the amplitude (e.g. -32,768 to 32,767 for 16-bit audio) at a given sampling rate (e.g. 44,100 Hz).

Data collection
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Acquire data from a range of sources and evaluate authenticity, accuracy and timeliness (ACTDIP025)

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 acquire data (e.g. design a survey about food preferences and collect canteen sales data) to answer questions for their own investigations (e.g. does the canteen sell the right food?).

Store data

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

Students store acquired data using specialised and general software (e.g. a pre-defined database) appropriate for how it will be accessed and manipulated (e.g. filtering and queries).

Validate data

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

Students judge how meaningful data is to a question (e.g. does age affect the chance of cyclist injury?), its correctness (e.g. are self-reported accidents reliable?), and how up to date the data is (e.g. Is the data before cycleways relevant?).

Data interpretation
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Analyse and visualise data using a range of software to create information, and use structured data to model objects or events (ACTDIP026)

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.

Model data

Model objects and events in terms of their attributes.

Students model objects and events (e.g. products in the canteen and the sale of those products) as structured data i.e. the attributes relevant to the task (e.g. product name, price, quantity, nutritional value).

Visualise data

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

Students visualise multi-dimensional data by choosing appropriate graphs (e.g. a scatter plot of food prices and sales, coloured by sugar content), diagrams (e.g. a social network diagram), and maps (e.g. crime rates by location) to reveal trends, outliers, or other information.

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Define and decompose real-world problems taking into account functional requirements and economic, environmental, social, technical and usability constraints (ACTDIP027)

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 frame a problem in terms of what we know, why it is important, and the outcome we want (e.g. obesity is increasing in Australia. It can lead to long-term health problems. How can we encourage people to be healthier?)

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 and the constraints on that solution: economic (e.g. can they afford a smartphone?), environmental (e.g. does the season influence the exercises to include?), social (e.g. is it reasonable to share exercise data with others?), technical (e.g. do we have the skills to build an app?), and usability (e.g. is it convenient to record all of your exercise?)

Decompose problems

Breaking a problem down into simpler parts until they can be solved.

Students explore questions (e.g. what causes obesity?) and sub-questions (e.g. why are people exercising less?) to understand the problem and reveal potential solutions (e.g. how do we encourage people to exercise more?)

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Design algorithms represented diagrammatically and in English, and trace algorithms to predict output for a given input and to identify errors (ACTDIP029)

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.

Trace algorithms

Desk check (track the state of) an algorithm to determine output for a given input.

Students follow an algorithm precisely (e.g. desk check with a table of input, variables, and output) to confirm it produces the expected output for the given input.

Represent algorithms

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

Students describe algorithms precisely in written form or with flowcharts for each part of the problem (e.g. separate flowcharts to describe the purchase of an item, and the giving of change during the purchase).

Test algorithms

Define the expected (correct) output for given input and check an algorithm against it.

Students specify test cases (i.e. input and expected output) and compare the expected and actual output to determine the correctness of an algorithm (e.g. a test case of the change-calculating algorithm could have input $1.45, and expected output 1 x $1, 2 x 20c, 1 x 5c coins).

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 calculate the coins and notes needed for an amount of money) or understand and modify an existing algorithm to fix an error (e.g. rounding amounts smaller than the minimum denomination) or change functionality (e.g. changing the denominations used).

Control structures

Control structures (e.g. branching and iteration) determine the steps taken in an algorithm.

Students describe algorithms with nested control structures, including a nested if (e.g. if it is raining then [if parents are home then drive to school]) or an if inside a loop (e.g. repeat [select the largest coin smaller than the remaining total, and subtract it] until the remainder is zero).

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Implement and modify programs with user interfaces involving branching, iteration and functions in a general-purpose programming language (ACTDIP030)

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 code without any scaffold or starting code.

Test Digital Solutions

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

Students specify the expected behaviour for common use cases, run the program to identify errors, modify the program, and confirm the modification fixes the error.

Modify Digital Solutions

Edit code in a program to either correct or improve its behaviour.

Students read and interpret an existing program, and modify the code to change functionality and fix errors.

User Input

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

Students write a program that receives data from the user (e.g. ask for input at a text prompt) or the environment (e.g. moisture from a soil sensor) to change the program behaviour (e.g. switch on the watering system).


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

Students can implement complicated examples of branching that evaluate multiple conditions and use a variety of logical comparisons.


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

Students can write different types of loops to solve a range of problems.


A block of code that performs a specific task and can be run (called) when needed in the program.

Students can define and use their own functions to make programs more modular. The functions they develop can produce different return values based on input parameters.

General-purpose programming

A text-based programming language capable of solving a variety of problems across many domains.

Students can develop software in a general purpose programming language, and use these skills across multiple domains to solve a range of problems.

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Evaluate how student solutions and existing information systems meet needs, are innovative, and take account of future risks and sustainability (ACTDIP031)

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 develop their own solutions using more flexible approaches and variation, drawing on previous problem-solving experiences and experimenting with new techniques.

Information systems

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

Students can draw upon a range of different systems that are both complementary and oppositional that challenge their understanding of how systems are designed and operated. This is a good opportunity to demonstrate alternative solutions to very similar problems, and to analyse how these differences impact other considerations such as cost, aesthetics, user experience and technical decisions.

The content descriptions do not explicitly address Users in band 7-8.

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

Students can draw on their understanding of how existing systems meet the immediate needs of users to better understand how their own solutions could address these or other immediate needs. Understanding that timeliness is an important factor in the uptake of systems, and making this part of their thinking process, is a critical precursor to enterprising thinking. Solutions are only successfully adopted at large scale when they can evolve to not only meet the needs of their target audience now but also well into the future. An understanding of what potential future needs may exist (or how current needs will evolve) informs flexible design that extends the life of the systems usefulness.

Innovation and enterprise

The application of digital technologies to either new problems, or existing problems in alternative or new ways. The concept of innovation should be interpreted with respect to what students know and understand - innovation for a student could be development of a solution similar to an existing one if the application of the concepts is new for them.

Students can identify opportunities for creativity and innovation in the development of solutions, and explain how alternative implementations of solutions to these problems address needs more effectively..


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 analyse the question of sustainability of both their own and larger, existing systems from multiple angles. Questioning their existing ideas or implementation and asking them to think about the implications of these decisions in the medium- to long-term on things such as cost and technological development is just as important as environmental issues. Drawing on case studies (such as the NBN) is also encouraged.


There are always unintended consequences of developing or introducing new technologies and/or systems, and being able to identify potential problems is key to understanding the impact they are likely to have on individuals, the environment and broader society.

Students can explain the risks involved in implementing systems through the realisation of unintended consequences. Making sure students understand the concept of risk - in terms of things such as adoption, cost blowouts, resourcing, maintenance and other factors - ensures they understand how important it is that you look at both the problem and solution from a high-level perspective as well as the detail.

Human–Human Interactions
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Plan and manage projects that create and communicate ideas and information collaboratively online, taking safety and social contexts into account (ACTDIP032)

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 solve problems that require solutions that work with multiple data sets and more complex models of data. Through the use of a broader set of inputs, students gain greater insight into not only the problem they are solving, but problems related to or associated with it, and this informs their thinking and/or conclusions.


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

Students can collaborate effectively online, discussing strategy, approaches to solving problems, and engage in shared document / asset creation, such as managing cloud storage and common code repositories. Applications designed specifically for online collaboration become a key part of the working toolset.

Cyber safety

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

Students manage their online identity (e.g. choosing what to include in their social media profiles) and the security of their information when interacting with unfamiliar people and services (e.g. not responding to phishing emails).

Social and ethical protocols

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

Students identify diverse cultural expectations before participating in teams and online communities (e.g. sensitivities around images of deceased people) and valuing the intellectual property and perspectives of others (e.g. different opinions in a debate).


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

Students can develop plans for solutions with greater autonomy, relying on their previous experiences to guide their thinking and approach. They should plan both individual and collaborative tasks, and supported to better understand how the dynamics of group activities changes the planning process.

Manage projects

Using techniques, strategies and approaches to monitor progress towards development of a solution, and to re-evaluate or alter strategies to ensure deadlines are met and outcomes achieved within the resources available.

Students can collaborate effectively, thinking about the many facets of managing the exchange of ideas as well as the assets and resources of their projects. This includes regular monitoring of progress, and the provision of feedback to other members of any collaborative activity.

Human–Computer Interactions
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Design the user experience of a digital system, generating, evaluating and communicating alternative designs (ACTDIP028)

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.

User Experience

Encompasses all details of how a user interacts with the system, not just the physical or on-screen elements. Considers the practical aspects such as ease of use, as well as emotive aspects such as how enjoyable it is to use.

Students can incorporate functional and aesthetic requirements, factors such as the expertise and background of users, accessibility and usability requirements into the overall impact use of the solution has on the enjoyment of the user and experience of the solution.

Generating designs

Developing multiple prototypes or models that express either a range of design ideas, or alternative approaches to a single problem.

Students can generate a range of possible designs that may favour particular functions, features or use cases.

Evaluating designs

Comparing and contrasting different approaches or solutions to a problem in a systematic way to determine the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.

Students can analyse multiple designs to gain insight into the most important features of the user experience. This allows for an iterative and more thorough approach to development of the chosen solution which may borrow elements from all proposals.