CSER Digital Technologies Education

Leeanne King, Assistant Principal, Orchard Grove Primary School in Blackburn South, Victoria, has been passionate about using technology in schools for many years.  The arrival of the Digital Technologies curriculum was an exciting opportunity to build their staff capacity and their confidence in implementing the new curriculum.

After participating in the Foundations – Year 6 course, Leeanne saw the immediate value of the material offered and the variety of resources available.  

Early in 2017, staff discussions around the new curriculum were focussed by using the PL in a Box materials. Leeanne found the materials highly suitable to use for staff Professional Development. “I didn’t have to spend hours creating new presentations. I used the materials and then tailored them to suit the needs and interests of the staff. The Creative Commons Attribution No-Commercialisation licensing meant I could freely use them in our school setting. My Year level leaders will be using the ‘train the trainer’ model to upskill their teachers and the available materials will allow them to search through and select the appropriate theme and format they need to use.”

In April, key staff – spent a day engaging in the MOOC materials, working with Project Officer Celia Coffa.  Each level leader enrolled in the course and began their journey. Leeanne reflected “It was great to look at the curriculum and discuss the importance of teaching our students how to be computational thinkers and how to use digital systems. I enjoyed looking at some practical ways to do this and having the Makey Makeys, Ozobots, Beebots, coding/sequencing cards on hand etc was terrific. Joining the Google Community was awesome because I was able to have a look at how others in my level at other schools were including DT in their curriculum as well as share what we have been doing. I am looking forward to completing the course as I know it will be of benefit to my teaching and improve my students learning.”

Orchard Grove Primary School





The discussions that day lead to decisions which include a commitment to have all school staff complete the F-6 MOOC in 2017, supported by the leaders.   Orchard Grove PS has also benefitted by receiving a kit of Makey Makey devices from the CSER Lending library.  

A wonderful example of a school well placed to deliver the curriculum.


Blog post by CSER Project Officer for Victoria, Celia Coffa.

Do you have a story to share on our blog about using our PL-in-a-Box program, our free Lending Library, or working with a CSER Project Officer? Email us at cser@adelaide.edu.au

Posted in News, Your Stories
Comments Off on Orchard Grove Primary School: Leading school professional development with ‘PL-in-a-Box’

Young ICT explorersThe CSER Digital Technologies Education team is pleased to be working with The Smith Family to support schools in low socio economic areas to participate in the Young ICT Explorers competition.

The competition encourages school students to become creators and innovators of digital technology. It is a project-based competition encouraging students to develop a project using digital technology, for example they could identify a need in their School or Community and solve it with a mobile app, create a website, work with robotics and much more.

CSER project officers will be working with teachers from schools across NSW, WA, QLD, VIC and SA at events throughout May. The workshops will introduce teachers to the Digital Technologies Curriculum and some plugged and unplugged resources, with the aim of encouraging those schools to get involved in the Competition. This new partnership with the Smith Family represents a valuable step forward in our goal to support all Australian teachers to engage in Digital Technologies.

For more information on previous winners check out this video and to register visit the Young ICT Explorers website.



Posted in Uncategorized
Comments Off on Young ICT Explorers Competition

The Australian F-6 Curriculum: Digital Technologies provides a number of opportunities for making connections with Australia F-6 Curriculum: Mathematics. We have seen some fabulous examples of how Digital Technologies can support Mathematics in our MOOC Communities, and we will be sharing some of those ideas here, which will help show how these two learning areas could be integrated successfully.

Some initial ideas for integrating Digital Technologies and Mathematics could involve:

  • the use of robotics to explore positioning and movement (e.g. the use of robotics to explore navigation around obstacles)
  • the use of robotics to explore counting and Mathematics problem solving (e.g. combining navigation and positioning with counting and simple Mathematics problems to locate the correct answer on a display board)
  • the use of visual programming systems to explore shapes and geometry (e.g. using visual programming systems to draw shapes, and explore coordinate systems)
  • the use of visual programming systems to create Mathematics-based games (e.g. creating a visual programming game populated with Mathematics quiz questions)
  • the use of algorithms to describe Mathematics problem solving approaches (e.g. creating flow charts to describe processes)
  • the use of data visualisation to explore data values, including comparison and order.

There are many different exciting and relevant ways to connect these two learning areas. Below, we present two examples, shared in our CSER F-6: Extended MOOC community.

Community Example: Algorithms for Angles

Alida Cowen, shares in our MOOC Google+ Community, that their class has been exploring angles within the drawing of shapes, linking Mathematics and Digital Technologies content and skills within lessons. In the example below, Alida explains how visual programming activities in Code.org, where learners are asked to develop the algorithm for particular shapes, is combined with tactile exploration of angles, as well as exploration and classification of angles in their local environment.

“When following Course 2 on code.org, with year 3 students, at stage 4, the students encountered angles. Tasks were devised to support students with their understanding of angles. Using card and split pins students made and sorted the angles they made into groups ‘right,’ ‘straight’, ‘acute,’ ‘obtuse’ and ‘reflex angles’.
Students used iPads to take photographs of different types of angles in the school environment, which were shared in class and prompted discussion about the nature of angles.
To relate angles to the tasks in code.org, students were explicitly taught how angles are measured using a compass, the hands of an analogue clock and visual representations made of the angles found in the code.org tasks. Students experimented drawing shapes and pre-cut angles (to match angles in code.org) to design their own patterns to further consolidate their understanding.
This task integrated Maths and Digital Technology by combining recognising ‘angles in real situations’ and working out algorithms to solve a problem.”

Alida Cowan explores angles using visual programming and other unplugged activities. Image: Course 2, Code.org

See the post.

This activity addresses key content areas in Digital Technologies, particularly those associated with designing algorithms and implementing algorithms with visual programming across Year bands 3-4 and 5-6.

  • Define simple problems, and describe and follow a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve them (ACTDIP010, Years 3-4)
  • Implement simple digital solutions as visual programs with algorithms involving branching (decisions) and user input (ACTDIP011, Years 3-4)
  • Design, modify and follow simple algorithms involving sequences of steps, branching, and iteration (repetition) (ACTDIP019, Years 5-6)
  • Implement digital solutions as simple visual programs involving branching, iteration (repetition), and user input (ACTDIP020, Years 5-6)

In terms of exploring algorithms in Years 3-4, drawing shapes provide a great way for students to design algorithms that feature logical sequencing and branching. Within their algorithms, complexity can increase in Years 5-6 as students start to use iteration (loop functions) as a way to design more efficient shapes. For example, instead of repeating several blocks that have a consistent pattern, students can work to identify the recurring pattern and refine their code by inserting a loop.

As students are needing to direct a character (with visual programming), or a person (with instructions), students have to include instructions that provide information about what angles will be used.

The fact that students are drawing shapes (either on paper or with a visual program) provides them with instant feedback as to whether their algorithm is accurate, and if not, opportunities to debug their algorithms.

Community Example: Measurement with Robotics

In this next example, Timna Garnett’s class have been using the Sphero robot to investigate various measurements.

“I adapted the Time, Speed and Distance worksheet for Sphero robots to use Lightning lab app (rather than the more advanced MacroLab the original worksheet encouraged). This simplifies the lesson. This means the lesson can be delivered to Year 1 students. The lesson meets Australian Curriculum Mathematics by using units of measurement for year 1 (ACMMG019 and ACMSP262). Additionally, we used the lesson for early Childhood pre-service teachers learning how to use Sphero for the first time.”

Timna Garnett’s class using the Sphero robot to explore measurement in Mathematics.

In this example, Timna has students program their robots to perform various tasks. Students then record information about the speed, distance and movements of their robots, and answer problems on their worksheets. Taking this further, students could present their data visually and compare and contrast findings.

This activity addresses content descriptors relating to visual programming and designing algorithms (as in the activity above), but also can be expanded to address content descriptors relating to the collection and representation of data.

  • Recognise different types of data and explore how the same data can be represented in different ways (ACTDIK008, Year 3-4)
  • Collect, access and present different types of data using simple software to create information and solve problems (ACTDIP009, Year 3-4)
  • Acquire, store and validate different types of data, and use a range of software to interpret and visualise data to create information (ACTDIP016, Year 5-6)

See the post.

Both of these activities are from our CSER F-6: Extended MOOC. For more ideas on how to integrate Digital Technologies with Mathematics… or English… please visit our course and register for free! We’ve taken these samples from our course community – a place where educators are sharing ideas, resources and lessons for Digital Technologies as part of their course activities.

Maths is fundamental to a range of Technology careers and projects. If you’re keen to find out more, we recommend the Careers in Math Magazine (just launched), which highlights all of the opportunities and real-world problems people are solving with Math skills.

Careers with Maths Magazine by Refraction Media


Posted in Implementing Digital Technologies
Comments Off on Digital Technologies + Math – Getting Started

The NASA International Space Apps Challenge provides an opportunity for anyone and everyone (educator, student, scientist, artist, builder, storyteller) to have a go at solving our Earth’s challenges using NASA open source data. There will be a Pre-Event Information Night at 5.30 pm on Friday 21 April, and the 48-hour Hackathon will take place on […]

Posted in Events
Comments Off on NASA Space Apps Adelaide 2017

Presented by CSER Queensland Project Officer, Lauren Stanhope, this session is designed to break down the Digital Technologies Curriculum for teachers of Prep – Year 6, using the CSER MOOC resources. For further information or to register for this event, please visit here.

Posted in Events
Comments Off on F-6 Digital Technologies PL Workshop (Sunshine Coast, QLD)

Presented by CSER Queensland Project Officer, Lauren Stanhope, this session is designed to assist Digital Technologies leaders to provide Professional Learning within their own primary school contexts. For further information or to register for this event, please visit here.

Posted in Events
Comments Off on PL in a Box for Digital Technologies Leaders (Caboolture, QLD)

Following the very successful Digital Technologies event held on the West Coast of Tasmania in November 2016 and presented by Professor Katrina Falkner and Dr Nick Falkner, the six most remote schools in that state have formed a professional network to support the uptake of the Digital Technologies curriculum. Late last year the principals of […]

Posted in Events
Comments Off on Tasmanian West Coast Schools embrace Digital Technologies!

Dr Rebecca Vivian and Lauren Stanhope will co-present in a special webinar on behalf of CSER for Education Service Australia (ESA) as part of their Digital Technologies Hub. The webinar will be held on Wednesday the 1st of March, 2017 at 4:00-5:00 ACDT. Find information about the webinar below. It starts with teachers: Building teacher capacity […]

Posted in Events, News | Tagged , ,
Comments Off on Free webinar: Building teacher capacity in Digital Technologies

Commencing 6th March,  the 2017 Bebras Australia Computational Thinking Challenge is fast approaching. Bebras is an international student challenge whose goal is to promote computational thinking for teachers and students (ages 8-17 / school years 3-12). Bebras Australia is run by CSIRO under the Digital Careers program, funded by the Australian Government. It’s a great way to get […]

Posted in Events | Tagged
Comments Off on Bebras Australia Computational Thinking Challenge 2017

CSER has partnered with AISWA to provide a CSER Digital Technologies course immersion event, presented by our Western Australia CSER member, Steven Payne. This is an opportunity for ANY teacher or school leader to be intensively upskilled in Digital Technologies subject concepts and skills over a 2 consecutive day course via completion of the (AITSL accredited […]

Posted in Events
Comments Off on CSER Digital Technologies – 2 Day Immersion (WA)