What are our kids learning?

So, as part of my initial week I downloaded the NSW Board of Studies Syllabus for Y7-10 IT. It’s actually publicly accessible (http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/syllabus_sc/) if you’re interested in taking a look at the whole thing, but the thing that struck me was that it has a lot more in it than I thought it would – a good thing.

(Remember this is for Years 7-10 – Y11-12 goes beyond this)

The core topic areas are what I kind of expected (my comments in italics)

  • Design, produce and evaluate – theory
  • Past, Current and Emerging Technologies – ever wondered why kids know more than you do? They learn stuff like this instead of what we used to learn at school.
  • Data Handling
  • Hardware
  • Issues
  • People
  • Software

The optional topic areas are where things start to get really cool. A teacher only needs to pick one or two of these for inclusion:

  • AI, Simulation and modelling
  • Authoring and multimedia
  • Databse Design
  • Digital Media
  • The Internet and Website Development
  • Networking Systems
  • Robotics and Automated Systems
  • Software Development and Programming – I’m actually guessing here, but I reckon a lot of teachers probably take the "easier" options such as authoring and multimedia and robotics where they can use Turtles or Lego Mindstorms. However, wouldn’t it be cool if they took this one and others such as Database Design and Website Development.

Take a look at the detail for this last option (wouldn’t it be cool if we could have teachers using VB or C# and .NET for this?):

Outcomes

A student:

5.2.1       describes and applies problem-solving processes when creating solutions

5.2.2       designs, produces and evaluates appropriate solutions to a range of challenging problems

5.2.3       critically analyses decision-making processes in a range of information and software solutions.

Students learn about:

Basic programming concepts

input, process, output

functions

assignment statements

variables

·          constants

Students learn to:

examine the code of an existing software program to describe the input, processes and output

examine an existing program and identify functions, assignment statements, variables and constants

·          modify an existing program to assess the effects of changing variables on the output of the program

GUI layout including

graphics tools

·          objects such as textboxes, list boxes and command buttons

 

experiment with an existing GUI layout in a selected software program

design a simple GUI layout for a specific problem and apply simple programming code

·          conduct a peer evaluation on the designed GUI

Data types such as

 character, integer, string, real, Boolean

 

identify data types in existing code and explain their purpose

compare the use of data types

Data operators

relational

logical

·          arithmetic operators

 

distinguish between various operators within existing code

Algorithms

definitions and descriptions

representing algorithms

·          examples such as recipes, directions, appliance instructions

 

define algorithms and describe examples in daily life

represent algorithms by using either flowchart or pseudocode

·          explain the purpose of an algorithm when solving problems

Control structures

sequencing

selection such as binary and case

·          repetition and/or iteration such as pre and post test

 

devise algorithms to solve everyday problems incorporating the use of control structures

examine and analyse the existing code of a selected example and identify control structures

·          develop prototypes using basic control structures

Desk checking

conduct a desk check on a selected algorithm

·          modify an algorithm to produce the required output

Sub-programs

purpose

·          examples

 

examine existing code and algorithms to identify the purpose of sub-programs for a range of examples

·          incorporate sub-programs into algorithms and working code

Programming language

function of programming language

·          examples of a programming language

 

define and describe the function of a programming language

·          convert algorithms into basic code using a given language syntax

Data structures

record

file

·          array

 

examine data structures in existing code

demonstrate the use of an array

·          modify existing code to allow for changes to the array

Testing

test data

·          boundaries

 

test programming code using test data to check for the desired outcome

Error detection including

syntax

logical

·          run-time

 

identify and describe errors in a sample of given code

eliminate sources of error to create working code

Error correction

software tools

 

debug all errors in code using peer checking, desk checking or software debugging tools

Documentation of programming code

create appropriate user support documentation for code

·          apply meaningful variable names and comments to code

Project development

processes and techniques

modifying an existing program

·          creating a new software solution

 

design, produce and evaluate a simple project for a real-world application either separately for this option, or integrated with other options

·          write code to solve a real-world problem

Additional Content

Students learn about:

Students learn to:

Random and sequential files

compare and contrast existing code for processing random access and sequential files

Object-oriented software development

investigate developments of object-oriented software development

The extra cool thing for me was that I posted this message internally at Readify and instantly had a number of the guys come back with "yeah! Wouldn’t it be cool to be involved with that" and similar comments. Glad I work for a company that has a passion to reach out to community as deeply as this!

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