Understanding the Australian Curriculum Learning Continuum
The learning continua of the Australian Curriculum is designed to help teachers provide personalised learning for students with the Australian Curriculum general capabilities in the key learning areas. They all begin in the Early Years/Foundation Stage and the learning that is learned here supports the subsequent learning throughout a child’s education.
Australian Curriculum General Capabilities
In the Australian Curriculum, 21st-century skills such as literacy and ICT capability are developed by students when they "apply knowledge and skills confidently, effectively and appropriately in complex and changing circumstances, in their learning at school and in their lives outside school" (ACARA).
They encompass dispositions, behaviours, knowledge, and skills. For example, in terms of ICT capability need to apply ICT to relevant curriculum tasks such as those given to them in literacy activities. It also means that they have to evaluate the outcomes of their ICT work.
The ICT Capability Learning Continuum
General capabilities within the Australian Curriculum are known as 21st-century skills and the general capability ICT is a prominent area to focus on as society delves deeper into an online environment.
The use of ICT is widespread throughout all key learning areas and this makes it beneficial for you as a teacher to ensure that the teaching and assessment of this general capability is carried through.
Like other continua, its purpose is to help you plan for personalised learning for students in the development of ICT capability.
Australian Curriculum Literacy Continuum
In the literacy learning continuum, the use of ICT is prominent in the following links:
- EARLY STAGE 1 - ACELA1433 & ACELY1654
- STAGE 1 - ACELA1450; ACELA1466; ACELT1586; ACELY1661; ACELY1664; ACELA1674
- STAGE 2 - ACELA1790; ACELA1793; ACELY1682; ACELY1607; ACELY1685
- STAGE 3 - ACELA1797; ACELA1511; ACELY1700; ACELY1703; ACLEY1704; ACLEY1707
ACARA states that:
"ICT capability is an important component of the Australian Curriculum: English. Students use ICT when they interpret and create print, visual and multimodal texts. They use communication technologies when they conduct research online, and collaborate and communicate with others electronically. In particular, they use ICT to access, analyse, modify, and create hybrid, digital, and multimodal texts, using digital publishing."
What is ICT Capability?
ICT Capability in the Australian Curriculum is recognised as the integration of digital technologies throughout key learning areas. It is comprised of five key components that together make it up. These include:
- ICT techniques - which is commonly taught by teachers, but does not necessarily mean that the student is ICT capable.
- Routines - which is a series of ICT techniques conducted by students without much thought.
- Processes - a set of routines carried out to achieve an ICT solution.
- Concepts - underpins all ICT techniques a student applies.
- Higher-order thinking skills - the decision making a student uses to decide which ICT technique and routine to apply that will be able to solve the problem.
Literacy and ICT Capability in the Primary School
The development of literacy is aided with the help of ICT in many ways. Literacy development can occur throughout key learning areas like ICT capability. It makes sense then to demonstrate their compatibility in this example.
ICT capability is inextricably associated with practical outcomes in meaningful subject-related contexts such as literacy with ICT activities.
Literacy and ICT in primary school can, therefore, be developed simultaneously effectively and efficiently.
Before I move on, it is important to remember that if you are to effectively teach literacy with ICT, it would be pertinent for you to make effective use of the provisionality inherent ICT.
The Literacy Continuum - ACARA
Below is a Literacy with ICT capability example.
Ongoing Formative Assessment Strategies
At the core of being able to understand the learning continuum is your ability to comprehend the role of ongoing formative assessment strategies in personalised learning.
For you to optimise student outcomes with diverse learning needs it is essential that you employ formative assessment techniques carefully.
This is how you are able to make adjustments for personalised learning.
Ongoing formative assessment strategies will help you to decide how to offer support to sustain their interest.
The evaluation of the plan which will arise as a result will be able to note significant developments in each child’s thinking, new understandings they have demonstrated, or new ICT skills they have used.
Figure 1. Australian Curriculum ICT Capability Learning Continuum