back to article Australian States stutter in coding-for-kids bandwagon-jump

Australia's schools have gone crazy for coding, but kids in different states will be offered different programs that may use some, all or none of the national Digital Technologies Curriculum. The Register has tracked that curriculum's development, because most stakeholders in the local technology industries argued it was A …

  1. Diogenes

    NSW Position


    I was at a meeting of TAS (ie Home Economics, Industrial Arts, & ICT) teachers to discuss the draft directions document convened by BOSTES, and we WILL be getting a new Tech Mandatory Syllabus that includes the 5 areas of agriculture, food, digital tech , engineering and materials(materials = textiles, wood, timber, polymers, graphics etc). - Ag, Food & DigiTech are national priority areas and we will get them by hook or crook.

    There are no timings yet, but BOSTES have said we will have the final syllabus in our hands for 12 months before it is implemented. The final directions document (instructions to the syllabus writers) will be completed during September based on feedback from the consultations & surveys, and we will get at least 1 draft syllabus for comment before BOSTES endorses the syllabus & the Minister signs off on it. Given that commitment, I would suggest an implementation in 2018 is possible, but unlikely, with 2019 being more realistic.

    What is worrying is that apart from a requirement to cover every area in 200 hours over 2 years there is is no set minimum time for teaching any of the areas. If I was a school administrator concerned with covering my backside & just boxticking I could choose to to do ag & DigiTech in 1 term (@40 hours) and do very very very shallow learning, and change nothing about the Tech Mand projects we already do.

    The other areas are panicking at the thought of loosing hours for compulsory DigiTech & Engineering(on top of the generic requirement for developing ICT capabilities) and they were quite aggressive in wanting the emphasis on Digitech toned down in some areas (specifically the rationale). We also suggested to BOSTES that some of the draft outcomes specific to DigiTech are changed (and there were some other changes to the objectives overall) .

  2. A Dawson

    I think you will find that New South Wales is the most populous state (5th paragraph) and Victoria referred to the next largest later on, largest is a little ambiguous or am I being to pendantic?

    But regarding National Curriculum, the federal government needs to tie direct funding to the adoption to any curriculum they actually want to see get up.

  3. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "retraining more than 300 teachers as maths and science specialists"

    So once again, as almost everywhere we have pseudo-education: folks just off crash courses passing on what they think they remember to those who cannot judge. But I forgot - Teaching is the real skill, subjects are just bags of facts. I obviously wasted decades studying systems engineering.

    As a matter of fact I may have, given the culture. I have taught in various regions here in Blighty, and on every occasion bar one I have been handed a "Tutor Pack" containing everything necessary for the course - including crib sheets of acceptable answers to all the test questions. Almost anyone could "deliver' a course from that, without any subject matter expertise. Indeed one of my students complemented me on my ability to answer his questions, stating that my predecessor always reached for and thumbed through the text book when asked anything.

    So our problem is not the quality or content of this or that syllabus - they are merely symptoms of shatteringly low expectations of both students and teachers. While we continue to impart very little, very little will result. This may explain to some extent the already abysmal and declining quality of engineering products - particularly in the software driven space. As long ago as the 1920s Owen Barfield coined the term "dashboard knowledge" for the capacity to do things by manipulating knobs and levers without any understanding of how they work, and this is what is primarily being "taught" - "How-tos" rather than the understanding of principles. This directly contributed to the Chernobyl nuclear incident, and is clearly implicated in a huge and proliferating number of broken systems from office software that needs monthly repairs to hackable "internet things" and military drones that think they've landed when they're still in the air.

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