As we are heading into the National Curriculum, it is important to understand The Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority’s (ACARA), opinion on the importance of new literacies. As previously discussed, students still need the basic literacy skills of reading, spelling and writing in order to use the new literacies. The language strand of the National Curriculum allows for this; “in the Language strand, students develop their knowledge of the English Language and how it works.” (ACARA, 2011). The Literature strand of the National Curriculum focuses on literary texts and allows for new media; “students interpret, appreciate, evaluate and create literary texts such as short stories, novels, poetry, prose, plays, film and multimodal texts, in spoken, print and digital/online forms.” (ACARA, 2011). The third part of the English National Curriculum is the Literacy strand. This covers the everyday use of literacy in both school and outside school settings. “They learn about the different ways in which knowledge and opinion are represented and developed in texts, and about how more or less abstraction and complexity can be shown through language and through multimodal representations.” (ACARA, 2011). ACARA also discuss the importance of ICT competence in students and state it as an important part of the English curriculum. “Students also progressively develop skills in using information technology when conducting research, a range of digital technologies to create, publish and present their learning, and communication technologies to collaborate and communicate with others both within and beyond the classroom.” (ACARA, 2011). Knobel and Lankshear discussed in their text, Discussing New Literacies, the restrictions of technology in regards to curriculum and assessment; “teachers …[can] feel bound by curriculur and reporting requirements that define literacy as encoding, decoding, and comprehension of conventional texts and curriculum delivery as an orderly progression through an official program of topics and texts.” (2006, p. 82). Fortunately, our National Curriculum has allowed for the new literacies and the use of computers, and states that students should be exposed to the literacies and have access to the computers.
The use of computers in the school environment has been around for some time. “In the first edition of the National Curriculum for England, computer use was designated as a section of the Design and Technology subject area, but with an understanding it would be used in other areas as well. In the 1995 revision, information technology was promoted to an area in its own right (Department for Education 1995).” (Fluck, 2000, p.120). Computers and technology can, and are used across the entire curriculum. Technology has its place in each subject area, but students will need the skills in order to successfully use it appropriately. There is no point using Photoshop in a Visual Art lesson, unless students have at least a basic comprehension of how to use the program. DEETYA 1996, along with the Australian Council for Computers in Education decided on a structure for the cross-curriculum information technology outcomes, which they ordered into five modes and one skills-based indicator. The modes are:
- operations and computer components;
- independent learning.
(Fluck, 2000, p.122).
These outcomes can easily be incorporated in all curriculum areas. Students also need time to play and explore the technology in which they are becoming more familiar with. This is often where they will learn the most about the program or the technology. “A great enabler of the learning process is playing with, or manipulating, items in the environment.” (Fluck, 2000, p.115). Progress is monitored through formative assessment and summative assessment.
Key Infomation Technology Outcomes (KITOs) provides an understanding of what students should be achieving at their year level (see Appendix B). Obviously as students progress through their schooling, their understanding and use of technology will grow, as with the skills and knowledge of other subject areas. The use of technology in the school environment doesn’t just apply to mainstream students, it is often extremely helpful for students with special needs. There are many programs designed for a specific special need, they may assist a child in communicating in ways they never could before. “It has been often reported, and illustrates the way in which new technologies have been a boon to people with special needs.” (Fluck, 2000, p.116).