Select a topic across a two year cycle

Recommended any combination of three topics per year.
Choose a combination of units that suits your students and context.

Cycle one (Year 7)

Jan Jun Dec

Cycle two (Year 8)

Jan Jun Dec

Overview

This unit provides an opportunity for students to apply the skills for understanding and implementing algorithms from the ‘General-purpose programming’ unit in the context of a design project. Design thinking methodology and user experience design are explicitly introduced in pathway 1, then three different option pathways provide contexts and ideas for student projects that involve programming and a user interface as part of the solution. Choose one option pathway that suits your students’ needs, school context and available resources.

By the end of Year 8 students develop and modify creative digital solutions, decompose real-world problems, and evaluate alternative solutions against user stories and design criteria.

They design and trace algorithms and implement them in a general-purpose programming language.

  • familiarise themselves with a design methodology, and use it to guide their project
  • explore principles for effective user experience/user interface design
  • design a solution using user stories and design criteria
  • develop the solution by applying the programming skills from the ‘General-purpose programming’ unit
  • test and evaluate the solution.

This unit is intended to be undertaken after the ‘General-purpose programming’ unit, which introduces algorithms and programming skills.

The three option pathways in this unit provide different product types to aim for, all of which involve a programming component.

  • The pathway ‘Creating an app’ focuses on the development of software with a specific kind of user interface tailored to mobile devices.
  • The pathway ‘Creating a game’ focuses on the development of a video game, with multiple options for design platforms that can use Python and/or JavaScript for the programming.
  • The pathway 'Robots and programmable machines' focuses on the development of a smart machine or robot with physical components. Students design and construct the machine as well as programming its ‘brain’, using the popular micro:bit classroom device or other options available in your school.

 

 

Creating a digital solutionImage

Achievement standards

Digital Technologies: Years 7-8

By the end of Year 8 students develop and modify creative digital solutions, decompose real-world problems, and evaluate alternative solutions against user stories and design criteria.

They design and trace algorithms and implement them in a general-purpose programming language.

Unit sequence

This topic offers 3 pathways

Core Unit

Designing for the user

Students follow the process of design thinking to guide the creation of a solution for a need or opportunity.
Learn More

Designing for the user

What is this about?

Design thinking can provide a series of steps to guide the creation of a solution for a need or opportunity.

A typical design methodology begins with empathising through user stories, to understand the need or opportunity. Alternative designs that incorporate user experience principles, such as for an app's user interface, are generated, modified and chosen. In this case, where the solution includes programming, the core algorithms for the solution are also designed. Evaluation criteria are developed, and will be used later to assess whether the solution is successful. The solution is implemented by programming and testing it, as well as by making any physical aspects of the solution. Finally, the solution is evaluated and its impact considered.

Critically, this is an iterative process where many of the above steps may reoccur.

Content description

Define and decompose real-world problems with design criteria and by creating user stories AC9TDI8P04

Design the user experience of a digital system AC9TDI8P07

Generate, modify, communicate and evaluate alternative designs AC9TDI8P08

Evaluate existing and student solutions against the design criteria, user stories and possible future impact AC9TDI8P10

 

This sequence enables students to:

  • familiarise themselves with a design methodology that will be used to guide the creation of a digital solution
  • identify and practice principles for user experience design.

Resources to include

Resources to introduce

Resources to develop and consolidate learning

Resources to extend and integrate learning

Further reading and professional learning

Creating an app

What is this about?

Students design and build a prototype or proof of concept for an app to address a user need. In some cases, a student proof of concept may provide only a functional program without a graphical user interface, so designs for a graphical user interface may be provided separately.

A design process is applied as follows:

  1. Define the problem or opportunity employing user stories to empathise with the target user for the solution.
  2. Ideate and design the app, including both the user interface and core algorithms that make it functional.
  3. Develop the solution by programming and testing it.
  4. Evaluate and iterate on the solution to improve it.

Content description

Define and decompose real-world problems with design criteria and by creating user stories AC9TDI8P04

Design the user experience of a digital system AC9TDI8P07

Generate, modify, communicate and evaluate alternative designs AC9TDI8P08

Evaluate existing and student solutions against the design criteria, user stories and possible future impact AC9TDI8P10

This sequence enables students to:

  • practise a design methodology for the definition, design, development and evaluation of an app
  • apply user experience design principles to design the app's user interface
  • design a core algorithm that makes the solution functional
  • apply general-purpose programming to code the solution and test it.

Supplementary information

Two different development options are suggested in the resources (Python and JavaScript). These might be selected based on programming language undertaken earlier and on ability levels.

If possible, students in Years 7–8 should apply their knowledge from the ‘General-purpose programming’  unit by using a language like Python or JavaScript for the programming, but note that one resource only allows for visual (blocks) coding.

 

 

 

Resources to include

Resources to introduce

Resources to develop and consolidate learning

Resources to extend and integrate learning

Further reading and professional learning

Creating a game

What is this about?

Students design and build a proof of concept for a video game for a particular user or audience.

A design process is applied as follows:

  1. Define the problem or opportunity employing user stories to empathise with the target user for the solution.
  2. Ideate and design the game, including both the user interface and core algorithms that make it functional.
  3. Develop the solution by programming and testing it.
  4. Evaluate and iterate on the solution to improve it.

Content description

Define and decompose real-world problems with design criteria and by creating user stories AC9TDI8P04

Design the user experience of a digital system AC9TDI8P07

Generate, modify, communicate and evaluate alternative designs AC9TDI8P08

Evaluate existing and student solutions against the design criteria, user stories and possible future impact AC9TDI8P10

This sequence enables students to:

  • practise a design methodology for the definition, design, development and evaluation of a game
  • apply user experience design principles to design the game's user interface
  • design a core algorithm that makes the solution functional
  • apply general-purpose programming to code the solution and test it

Supplementary information

Some tools for game development allow a tighter focus on design and require only visual coding or no traditional programming at all (e.g. GDevelop, Construct 3) while others require the use of a custom scripting language (e.g. GameMaker).

Suggested resources allow students to apply their knowledge from the ‘General-purpose programming’ unit by using a language like Python, JavaScript or C# for programming.

Resources to include

Resources to introduce

Resources to develop and consolidate learning

Resources to extend and integrate learning

Further reading and professional learning

Robots and programmable machines

What is this about?

Students design, build and code a proof of concept for a particular user or audience, taking the form of a smart machine or robot. Solutions may range from highly practical to whimsical art pieces.

Note that many suggested resources offer guided tutorials with full code provided. These are suitable for learning and practising principles and skills of physical computing, but may not allow students the freedom to practise design thinking.

A design process is applied as follows:

  1. Define the problem or opportunity employing user stories to empathise with the target user for the solution.
  2. Ideate and design the solution, including both the user experience and core algorithms that make it functional.
  3. Develop the solution by constructing, programming and testing it.
  4. Evaluate and iterate on the solution to improve it.

Content description

Define and decompose real-world problems with design criteria and by creating user stories AC9TDI8P04

Design the user experience of a digital system AC9TDI8P07

Generate, modify, communicate and evaluate alternative designs AC9TDI8P08

Evaluate existing and student solutions against the design criteria, user stories and possible future impact AC9TDI8P10

This sequence enables students to:

  • practise a design methodology for the definition, design, development and evaluation of a ‘physical computing’ solution
  • apply user experience design principles to design the user experience
  • design a core algorithm that makes the solution functional
  • apply general-purpose programming to code the solution and test it.

Supplementary information

The resources in this pathway option assume a class set of micro:bit devices (enough for one per team) to act as the programmable ‘brain’ for a smart machine or robot. Connectable electronic components – such as motors, lights and sensors – allow for many different solutions, and these are typically available from electronics stores in kit form. Finally, structural materials such as cardboard or Lego are used to hold it all together.

Besides the micro:bit, other complete options may be available in your school, such as Lego robotics kits.

Students at Years 7–8 can apply their knowledge from the ‘General-purpose programming’ unit by using a language like Python or JavaScript for the programming, but most electronic devices also allow for visual (blocks) coding.

Resources to include

Resources to introduce

Resources to develop and consolidate learning

Resources to extend and integrate learning

Further reading and professional learning