Unit Exploring input and output
Year level: 3-4 Topic: Digital Systems Time: 7 hours
Digital systems store, process and transmit information in digital form. A computer, notebook, tablet and smartphone are all examples of digital systems. Connecting other digital components (peripherals) to a digital system enables different functions; for example, a simple circuit board can be used as an input device, replacing keystrokes on a keyboard. This opens up the possibility of using a range of materials for input, allowing creativity in design.
A programming board enables the use of different inputs; for example, a push button to initiate an action; or a sensor to gather data such as temperature or light levels. Similarly, a snap-together circuit can have components such as a power supply, motor (servos), sensors, lights, buzzers, switches, and Bluetooth connectivity – enabling remote control. The device can often be programmed using a visual programming language, which allows students to integrate understandings of inputs and outputs of digital systems with programming a digital solution.
The circuit board, programming board and snap-together circuits suggested in this sequence are examples generally used by schools. It is envisaged that rather than incorporate all three devices or invention kits that schools focus on one and explore its functionality and then incorporate student design and implementation of a digital solution. There is no requirement to explore all three; rather, the intention is to cater for what resources schools may have or decide to purchase.