• 02 Jul 2018 7:51 PM | Anonymous member

    We are often asked to recommend products that assist with the implementation of the new Mandatory Technology syllabus for Digital Technologies. We want to go on record to say that it is definitely possible to teach the Digital Technologies Curriculum without any purchases, however, the micro:bit is an excellent tool for engagement and bridging the gap between digital technologies and engineering. The BOSON Starter Kit for micro:bit has some really positive features for extending the micro:bit for built projects.

    DF Robot kit contents

    Content of Boson Starter Kit for micro:bit by DFRobot


    • Easy to use. The grove connectors to break out the pins from the micro:bit make sensors and actuators available for easy connection.
    • Easy to build. The components in the kit have both Lego and screw connector attachments to make the components accessible to a large variety of projects.
    • Variety. There are a good number of components, colour coded for easy identification for extending projects.
    • Tutorials. There are mini-project cards that come int he kit to train students in the use of the kit.
    • Board manipulation. Despite the ease of use once the micro:bit is inserted into the mount, it is not easy to push the micro:bit into the breakout and nor is it easy to remove it once inserted.
    • Cost. The kit is not cheap. It's listed for different prices around Australia and overseas but the kit costs approximately 5 times the cost of the micro:bit itself. 
    In summary, this is a great little kit that helps to make controlling electronic components with the micro:bit easier for students. It is an investment so scope out the projects that it can be used for and ensure it's worth the money.
  • 28 Feb 2018 10:11 PM | Anonymous member

    This year, instead of a state conference in March as would normally be the case, ICTENSW hosted a planning and programming retreat at Winbourne the Edmund Rice Conference Centre in Mulgoa. It was even more popular than we anticipated and the feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive with 100% of respondents suggesting they would recommend to others.

    The retreat began on Friday evening with arrivals and checking and then a sharing session after dinner where all attendees could voice their concerns with the implementation of the new NSW syllabus and set goals for the weekend.

    Saturday kicked off with a session run by the wonderful Chris Woldhuis and Kelly Bauer outlining a Persona driven, Project-Based Learning focused Unit planning paradigm to guide the attendees in their objective for the day. Then we broke into groups along stage lines - with groups for both IPT and SDD and started to put together units of work around the outcomes. Stage 3 and 4 focused on the new curriculum and unpacking what was actually required. 

    Saturday night we relaxed with board and card games and got to know each other a bit better outside the context of the work we were doing.

    Sunday was a short day where each of the groups shared their outcomes of the weekend and the committee is tidying up and categorising resources to share back to the membership.

    I was very impressed with the dedication of the teachers who gave up their weekend to help others get their heads around difficult content and plan interesting units. We hope to run more retreats like it in the future.

  • 23 Feb 2018 8:38 AM | Anonymous member

    NESA have launched their request for feedback for changes to the IPT (including life skills) and SDD syllabuses. Please offer your feedback to help make these subjects as good as possible. 

    Link to the feedback surveys here

    ICTENSW will be putting together an official position for these syllabuses and will post these to the website and discuss it at our next meeting - the AGM and HSC Solutions workshop on March 17th 2018. 

    Unfortunately the deadline for responses is March 18th 2018 so if you won't be attending the HSC solution day you'll need to get your response in earlier.

    For further details contact:

    Anthony Rotondo 
    Senior Curriculum Officer, Technologies
    NSW Education Standards Authority
    (02) 9367 8881

  • 16 Jan 2018 9:42 PM | Debra Bourne

    View this in your browser

    The Australian Council for Computers in Education and the Organising Committee invite proposals for papers and presentations from F-12, preservice and tertiary educators, researchers and research students.

    Authors are encouraged to address the conference theme, ImpaCT.
    Proposals are invited that address the conference theme through one of the strands listed below.

    Call for Proposals now open

    All proposals must be submitted via the online Speakers' Portal adhering to the submission guidelines and official paper template.

    Further information regarding the submission process can be accessed through the conference website.

    Partnership and exhibition opportunities are selling fast! The point of difference in partnering with ACCE 2018 is that we focus on professional teacher’s associations with long established networks. We are connected to education with a trusted voice—this is your opportunity to connect with our members Australia wide.

    View our packages and contact us today to find out how you can be involved.


    Copyright © 2017 Australian Council for Computers in Education, All rights reserved.
    You are receiving this email because you have expressed interest in ACCE 2018.

    Our mailing address is:

    ICE Australia
    183 Albion Street
    Surry HillsNSW 2010

  • 23 Oct 2017 12:18 PM | Anonymous

    NESA has just released a survey on Years 7-10 Electives courses in TAS. Feedback from the survey will be considered as amendments are made to each syllabus.

    You are strongly encouraged to provide feedback in this process. In the survey, you will have the opportunity to comment on as many or few of the subjects as you choose.

    Thanks to Dan Rytmeister for the information. 

  • 14 Sep 2017 8:00 PM | Anonymous

    Bookings are now open for the NSW term 3 joint MITIE ACCE/ICTENSW conference to be held at Rosebank College Five Dock on Wednesday 27th Septemeber. Thanks to Saif Samaan and College Principal, Tom Galea, for hosting the day. If you can’t make this event, it will be live streamed by Clickview, and a recording made available at a later time.

    What’s MITIE?

    The Managers of Information Technology in Education (MITIE) serves those responsible for the infrastructure, procurement and governance of IT in schools. It arose from a group of largely Independent education IT managers who needed to share information, solutions and ideas.

    There appears to be a natural fit between MITIE and the state groups that make up ACCE, so this meeting is to explore opportunities in partnering, but also to listen to some great presentations and to provide some wonderful networking opportunities.

    Our Sponsors

    We are proud to have the following companies as our sponsors - there should be something for everyone in this select group:

    Gold Sponsor: StudentNet

    Silver Sponsors: AC3, CompNow, CyberHound, JB HiFi and ViVi.

    Live streaming sponsor: ClickView


    This term conference will be a joint event with ACCE/ICTENSW recognising the importance of good working relationships between those teaching ICT related subjects and those charged with managing technology. The program is  here.

    Book your tickets

    Book for the event through Trybooking here. There is a modest charge of $55.30 that covers the cost of your refreshments on the day.

    A big thank you!

    I’d especially like to acknowledge the work done by Saif Samaan and Ken Lin from Rosebank and Martin Levins from ACCE in putting this event together.

    Ian Ralph

    MITIE President

  • 08 Sep 2017 4:40 PM | Anonymous

    2017 Department of Computing Professional Development for Computing/TAS Teachers 28th to 29th September 2017

    This is a two-day course, providing 10 hours of NESA approved professional development, for high school TAS/Computing teachers that covers the syllabus topics of Databases, Artificial Intelligence, Software Development and Digital Media. It is ideal for teachers of the 7 – 10 Information and Software Technology course as these make up four of the optional topics in this course. It is also highly relevant to the Stage 6 courses: Software Design and Development, Information Processes and Technology and Industrial Technology - Multimedia. Teachers learn practical skills in these areas and ideas on how to incorporate them in their classrooms. In addition, they learn about current research in each of these ICT areas. Materials created for this course were funded by the Google CS4HS 2017 Award.

    Click here for more details.

  • 26 Jul 2017 4:00 PM | Anonymous member

    Wednesday 26 July 2017

    The University of Sydney is excited to announce today its leading role in supporting schools to implement Australia’s Digital Technologies curriculum.

    At a launch event at Artarmon Public School today, Australian Government Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, commended The University of Sydney’s Australian Computing Academy (ACA) for its role in delivering the Australian Digital Technologies Challenges for Years 5 and 7 project.

    The ACA, which is based in the University’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, has been awarded $10 million over the next four years to provide Australian teachers with educational resources and professional development necessary to deliver the new Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies and enable students to excel in the digital economy.

    The ACA will deliver the Australian Digital Technologies Challenges for Years 5 and 7 on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Education and Training until December 2020, with support from Grok Learning and Monash University.

    The Challenges are a series of free, self-paced, online classroom activities linked to the Digital Technologies curriculum for all Australian Year 5 and 7 students. These activities include:

    • interactive course notes, videos and unplugged activities;
    • engaging, real-world coding problems with intelligent automated feedback;
    • lesson plans and other resources for teachers.

    In addition, the Academy will provide email, phone and online support for schools participating in the Challenges to deliver the new curriculum.

    Speaking at the launch event, Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence said the ACA’s important role supporting the new curriculum demonstrated the University’s leadership in the digital space.

    “By leading the ACA, the University builds upon its long-term commitment to computing education in schools through our annual National Computer Science School and innovative online computing activities,” he said.   

    ACA Academic Director Associate Professor James Curran, one of three authors of the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies and a co-founder of Grok Learning, said the Australian Digital Technologies Challenges represented a significant investment in Australia’s digital future.

    “The introduction of Digital Technologies is an important addition to the Australian Curriculum. We are delighted to work with the Australian Government in providing resources and support for teachers as they learn and teach the Digital Technologies curriculum,” he said.

    “Through the new curriculum, every Australian child has the opportunity to develop the coding, data analysis and collaboration skills that will enable them to be the master of their digital future.”

    The project is funded under the Inspiring All Australians in Digital Literacy and STEM element of the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

  • 20 Jun 2017 8:57 AM | Anonymous

    Congratulations to Stephanie Schwarz, who has recently received the Order of Australia medal for her work within ICT Technologies over the past years.

    Those of you who know Stephanie would know her as an exceptional teacher of IPT and SDD who has consistently given her time and expertise in mentoring teachers within the computing studies field from the beginning of the subject within Australia. Stephanie has been a member and great support of the ICTENSW Association, and previously, the Computing Studies Teachers Association (CSTA) since its inception, and was given life membership of the CSTA (now ICTENSW) in 2004. In the Australian honours system appointments to the Order of Australia confer recognition for outstanding achievement and service. It is safe to say that our profession as ICT teachers within NSW would not be the same without Stephanie’s contributions to this field. 

    More details on her work with ICTENSW can be viewed here. The testimonials below also go a small way to demonstrating her work to support technology educators. 

  • 03 Sep 2016 9:32 AM | Anonymous

    The Mission of ICT Educators NSW (ICTENSW) is:

    'to promote the interests of all educators who use technologies in learning by providing a voice at local, state and national levels. It advocates on matters of curriculum and equity, promotes best practice and provides resources, professional development and a network of collegial support.'

    In keeping with this mission, the ICTENSW Board submitted the following response to the BOSTES Curriculum Draft Directions Document for Technology (Mandatory) Years 7 & 8. After meeting with Mark Tyler, Inspector, Technology Education, BOSTES, at our Term 3 workshop evening, attending a number of the BOSTES consultation sessions, and further discussion with our members, the Board crafted the following statement. Please read through the document and we welcome your comments.  This is an example of the behind the scenes work the ICTENSW Board do on the members' behalf, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board members who spent considerable time shaping this statement.

    Leanne Cameron, President, ICT Educators NSW

    ICTENSW Response to the BOSTES Curriculum Draft Directions for Technology (Mandatory) Years 7 & 8


    While ICT Educators NSW (ICTENSW) acknowledges the complexity associated with introducing a new subject we recommend the following amendments:


    • the Syllabus Aim and Rationale to clearly link to the areas / contexts / strands of technology content
    • the inclusion of specific aspirational aims relating to Digital Technologies such as those already established by the Australian Curriculum.
    • the Technology (Mandatory) curriculum mandate 50% of the recommended hours be used to cover the Digital Technologies outcomes in the requisite depth (as per the Australian Technologies Curriculum)


    ICT Educators NSW (ICTENSW) is the professional association that represents teachers in all sectors of education who are interested in, or directly teach, computing or ICT integration in NSW schools. Our membership has shown great excitement about the cohesiveness and logical developmental structure of the Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum and are very keen to take on a similar thrust to that in NSW.

    ICTENSW is concerned that the rationale underplays the importance of Digital Technologies to contemporary society and the economy.  The intent of the Australian Curriculum is that both subjects have equal significance. The opening sentence of the Australian Technologies Curriculum calls them “two distinct but related subjects”.


    Our concern focuses on the BOSTES position relating to the separation of the Digital Technologies from Design and Technologies. The rationale for this position was made clear in the NSW response to the Draft Australian Technologies Curriculum. We are happy to accept that the two subjects can be treated as two parts of the same subject but are of the view that to give the Digital Technologies the credence it deserves for our students and our future, requires a mandatory minimum percentage of the allocated hours. As it currently stands, one Context only, Digital Systems, explicitly teaches the Digital Technology content of the Australian Technology Curriculum. While we can see some attempt has been made to also integrate some of the content into the other Contexts, this is done in a very ad hoc manner that would not encourage the teacher of that Context (unlikely to be a Digital Technology specialist) to provide the depth required for meaningful Digital Technology understanding.


    In summary, ICTENSW can’t see how in its current form the Draft Directions document addresses the basic requirements of a Digital Technologies Curriculum as eloquently expressed in the Australian Technologies Curriculum Rationale:

    “Digital Technologies provides students with authentic learning challenges that foster curiosity, confidence, persistence, innovation, creativity, respect and cooperation. These are all necessary when using and developing information systems to make sense of complex ideas and relationships in all areas of learning. Digital Technologies helps students to be regional and global citizens capable of actively and ethically communicating and collaborating”.

    Quite specifically, ICTENSW is concerned that the key concepts represented in the Draft Directions document does not include the key concepts of the Australian Technologies Curriculum. There is no mention of impact (ACTDIP031), specification (ACTDIP027) and algorithms with branching, iteration and functions (ACTDIP030).


    In order for these skills to be imparted in a way that has enough depth to form a literacy, we agree with the implication of the Australian Technologies Curriculum that Digital Technologies form 50% of the whole Technologies syllabus.


    ICTENSW recognises the significant implementation issues associated with the introduction of a new subject and even the introduction of new mandated content in a curriculum, however, lack of qualified staff and resources should not shape our students’ futures. Conversely, the new syllabus should drive professional development program and resource allocation.


    However, any new syllabus is required to come packaged with support for the staff affected by it. ICTENSW hope to work in partnership with BOSTES, to support the computing and technologies teachers in both urban and regional areas. We believe that with our cross-sectoral membership and our proven track-record supplying teachers with high-quality practical professional learning opportunities, that we can help deliver the support to the technology teachers of our state.


    A continuum of knowledge and outcomes related to digital technologies has been established at the national level. This is important to ensure that students can clearly identify pathways of learning in digital technologies subjects.The rapid decline of students selecting specialist Digital Technologies subjects in NSW Stage 5 and Stage 6 is alarming and suggests that the current pathway to upper level digital technologies specialist subjects requires clarification and distinction. Furthermore, the rapid increase in schools introducing their own programs of study in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM programs/subjects), the popularity in co-curricular ‘code clubs”  suggests that schools and the community generally see a gap in the mandated curriculum related to digital technologies.


    In the Introduction to the Technology (Mandatory) Years 7–8 Draft Directions for Syllabus

    Development document, information is provided about the background to Syllabus development in NSW that is guided by the overarching K-10 Curriculum Framework. While we recognise this framework provides a foundation on which to develop syllabus documents and identifies essential learning for all NSW students, it was released in 2002. ICTENSW’s concern is that it undervalues the immense changes to the Digital Technology landscape in the 14 years since its release and the importance of digital technologies for contemporary learning and working beyond school.


    We all agree that the world is increasingly driven by computing and computation. Fundamental to this changing world is the fact that - as the Australian Technologies Curriculum states ”[I]t is critical to the wellbeing and sustainability of the economy, the environment and society, that the benefits of information systems are exploited ethically.”


    In order to exploit these capabilities, the students of NSW need an education rich, not just the use of digital tools, but the creation of Digital Technology products. The students of this state deserve at least the opportunities provided to the students of the other Australian states and territories and, the students in other areas of the western world, where the ability to be literate in the language of computing, the building blocks of so much that drives our world, form a fundamental part of their education.


    We also understand that there is nothing in the current Syllabus Draft Directions document to preclude schools from implementing a syllabus giving 50% of time to the Digital Technologies curriculum but despite this, the choice would be in the hands of the individual school and, even the individual heads of faculty, whereas we believe that Digital Technologies literacies such as computational thinking are too important to implement in a piecemeal way with individual students at the mercy of the choices of individual schools. It is imperative that NSW not allow our students to fall behind the other states and territories who are delivering the whole Digital Technologies curriculum in depth.


    There is an industry agreement that in order to drive the innovation of our nation we need more students to be STEM trained and STEM literate (see the evidence in the graph below).


    List of Issues


    • The Australian Curriculum is clearly meant to be an even split between Digital Technologies and Design Technologies.
    • There is no indication of the mandatory hours required for Digital Technologies and this could result in it receiving a cursory implementation in some schools
    • Implementation in other states is much closer to the Australian Curriculum Technologies Curriculum of 50:50 between Digital Technologies and Design Technologies.
      • This will be difficult to staff initially (as has been recognised by other states) but a syllabus update should not be based on the current staffing but rather building systems and resources to bring along the staff we have and train them appropriately to deliver a future looking and future proof syllabus
    • There is no impetus to change so that the thrust of the Australian Curriculum is realised - The new Draft Directions document proposed by BOSTES could be "implemented" with only tweaking of current programs and no requirement that the subjects be re-thought
    • The Australian Curriculum has the 5 contexts as outlined in the NSW documentation but 4 contexts are under Design Technology and 1 is a separate subject. To make them all have the same value is not reflective of  the purpose of the Australian Technologies Curriculum.
    • The Australian Curriculum has the Years 7 and 8 level using sequencing, selection, iteration and subprograms in a "General Purpose Language" whereas the NSW document says that students should be able to sequence and use algorithms in an "appropriate language." These are by no means equivalent, and change of language may lead to dilution of rigour.
    • Prescribing that an individual school "can" implement more Digital Technology if they so wish takes the responsibility of meeting the requirements of the Australian Curriculum out of the hands of the Board and back to individual Heads of Department which could potentially lead to very little change, and in so doing allow NSW to fall behind our Australian counterparts who are making this more prescriptive.
    • The NSW Curriculum Draft Directions Document allows that digital technology could be implemented across the other technologies rather than as a stand alone unit, this focus on integration could encourage implementation in a very superficial way, merely as a support for the other units, much in the way that ICT Capabilities are currently most commonly taught.
    • The document doesn’t explicitly and very clearly articulate the distinction between ICT General Capability and Digital Technologies, the subject which will lead to a lack of understanding by all teachers as to what is required by each.
    • The current proposed direction means NSW students are shortchanged of opportunities to engage more with computational thinking, systems thinking and problem-solving and the possibilities this affords them in our digital-rich world.
    • The BOSTES Draft Directions document also lacks the well-considered language of the Australian Technologies curriculum. Apparent in absence are terms such as computational thinking, (empowering) preferred futures, information systems (distinct from digital systems).

    The Board of ICT Educators NSW on behalf of the membership

    Leanne Cameron, 

    President, ICTENSW

© ICTENSW 2024

Teachers and technology: a powerful combination for pedagogical & educational transformation.

ICT Educators Association of NSW (ICTENSW) is a non-profit professional teaching association supporting education in New South Wales. 

Mailing Address: ICTENSW PO Box 699, Lidcombe NSW 1825

ABN 27 567 884 887

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In the spirit of reconciliation ICTENSW acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout NSW and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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