Systems thinking

Decorative image

What is it?

Systems thinking is one of the three thinking methodologies that underpin the Australia Curriculum: Digital Technologies. This type of thinking requires students to see and make connections between solutions, systems and society. Students also need to identify and examine the interactions between different components of a system. Systems thinking also involves students understanding the 'interdependence between information systems and how a change or output from one system can affect another, and how this affects larger systems such as the economy and society'. (VCE Computing Study Design)

Australian Curriculum definition

Systems thinking

A holistic approach to the identification and solving of problems, where parts and components of a system, their interactions and interrelationships are analysed individually to see how they influence the functioning of the whole system. This approach enables students to understand systems and work with complexity, uncertainty and risk.

Source: Australian Curriculum: Technologies glossary

Decorative image

Digital systems: Sequencing the content

This 5-minute video explores the digital systems content descriptions within the Knowledge and Understanding strand of the Australian Curriculum.

Decorative image

There and back again: a packet's tale: how does the internet work?

This video follows a packet of data as it flows from your fingertips, through circuits, wires and cables, to a host server, and then back again.

Decorative image

A discussion of terminology

This video helps teachers become familiar with digital technology terminology and understand the meaning and application of computational thinking.

Decorative image

Computing theory for 7–11 year olds

This resource provides information for teachers about topics such as computer systems, algorithms, computer control, robots and computer programming.

Decorative image

CS Field Guide: artificial intelligence

This resource explores a range of intelligent systems that help in people's everyday lives.

Decorative image

CS Field Guide: human-computer interaction

This resource is about human-computer interaction, users, tasks and interface usability.

Decorative image

CS Field Guide: computer vision

This resource is about computers and digital devices such as cameras, microphones and other sensors.

Decorative image

CSER digital technologies MOOCs

The CSER digital technologies MOOCs are free online courses, designed to support Australian teachers with implementing the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies.

Decorative image

Investigating conductivity with Makey Makey boards

Students explore how electrical energy can be transferred and transformed in electrical circuits, using Makey Makey boards as the basis for experimentation and recoding of data.

Decorative image

Keeping secrets

In this lesson sequence students examine cryptography and modern encryption methods for transmitting digital data securely. Encryption of data is a means of protecting data, one example being the use of secret and public keys.

Decorative image

Talk to me

In this lesson sequence about input devices, students explore the possibilities and new types of functionality enabled by these technologies over time.

Decorative image

Buzzing with Bee-Bots

In this lesson, students follow and describe a series of steps to program a floor robot. They plan a route to program a robot to follow a path and write a sequence of steps (algorithm).

Decorative image

CS Unplugged: human interface design

Use these activities with your students to explore human-centred interface design.

Decorative image

CS Unplugged: the Turing test

This activity aims to stimulate discussion on the question of whether computers can exhibit 'intelligence', or if they are ever likely to do so in the future.

Decorative image

Working together

In this lesson sequence students, through role-play and other activities, develop understandings of the role of hardware and software in managing, controlling and securing the movement of and access to data in networked digital systems.

Decorative image

Clever computers

In this sequence of lessons, explore how to help students understand the elements of a digital system, including hardware, software and some commonly used peripheral devices. Investigate how these elements work together.

Decorative image

The shock of the new

Using four inventions from 1985, this lesson sequence explores the impact of innovation, supporting circumstances, how individuals contribute to change, and the importance of addressing benefits as well as risks in the development of new systems.

Decorative image


Students explore different types of peripherals used every day to identify the data transmitted. A peripheral is an auxiliary device such as a keyboard that connects to and works with another device, for example a computer.

Decorative image

Computer chatter 1: networks and data transmission

Using the concept of transportation systems as a comparison, students develop understandings of the properties of networked systems and the underlying techniques used to transmit and validate data.

Decorative image

CS Unplugged: sorting networks

This activity demonstrates how computers sort random numbers using a 'sorting network'.

Decorative image

Computer chatter 2: network performance

Students build on and extend their knowledge of networks and discuss an inquiry question about wi-fi speeds and handling the bulk of data transfer needs.

Decorative image

Future proofing data

In this sequence, students identify strengths and weaknesses of past, present and future methods of data storage. They also recognise the risks and benefits for users. Students explore specific 'data dilemmas'.

Decorative image

Gamestar Mechanic

Gamestar Mechanic is a game-based online digital learning platform designed to teach the guiding principles of game design and systems thinking.

Decorative image

Dallas Brooks Community School

Dallas Brooks Community School students use Makey Makey and Scratch.

Decorative image

Tech Girl Superhero

Students work in teams to create an app that solves a problem in their local community.

Level F - 2:

Recognise and explore digital systems (hardware and software components) for a purpose (ACTDIK001)

Explore how people safely use common information systems to meet information, communication and recreation needs (ACTDIP005)

Level 3 - 4:

Identify and explore a range of digital systems with peripheral devices for different purposes, and transmit different types of data (ACTDIK007)

Explain how student solutions and existing information systems meet common personal, school or community needs (ACTDIP012)

Level 5 - 6:

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

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

Level 7 - 8:

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

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

Level 9 - 10:

Investigate the role of hardware and software in managing, controlling and securing the movement of and access to data in networked digital systems (ACTDIK034)

Evaluate critically how student solutions and existing information systems and policies, take account of future risks and sustainability and provide opportunities for innovation and enterprise (ACTDIP042)