Digital Literacy and the Australian Curriculum

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August 18, 2013 by patriciawhite84

With the implementation of the Australian curriculum next year it is vital that an appropriate digital literacy framework is developed. Digital literacy encompasses a vast array of competencies, from understanding Information Computer Technology (ICT) to research skills and the critical analyses and synthesis of information. Wall and Ryan (2010) break down these competencies as a set of “skills, processes and attitudes that enable the learner to utilise information” (p.31). The core components include:

ICT Literacy

  • Understanding and applying technical skills
  • Understanding the function of Web tools
  • Using technology for multimedia purposes and social networking

Information Literacy

  • Define
  • Locate
  • Select
  • Organise
  • Present
  • Evaluate

Critical Literacy

  • Asking questions to gain an understanding
  • Contemplating multiple points of view
  • Seeking social and personal connections
  • Reflecting

Digital literacy enables students to critically engage with technology, forming an awareness of how social and cultural understandings can shape how information and meaning is conveyed. It allows them to communicate and represent information in different contexts and to different audiences by re-contextualising their knowledge. By establishing a digital literacy framework that is imbedded across all key learning areas will support subject knowledge and will provide the opportunity for students to participate meaningfully and safely with technology.

The Australian Curriculum outlines 7 General Capabilities – literacy, numeracy, ICT capability, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, ethical understanding and intercultural understanding. These capabilities all play a vital role in achieving the goals set out by the Melbourne Declaration on Education Goals for Young Australians that states that all students in Australia should be:

  • supported to become successful learners
  • confident and creative individuals
  • active and informed citizens

Digital Literacy plays a critical component in achieving these goals. Therefore its elements can be aligned into all 7 General Capabilities. To achieve this, a digital literacy framework would need to be devised that has had the input of all primary school staff. This would involve the teacher librarian leading:

  • Brainstorming sessions with staff to initially discuss key skills and their interrelatedness
  • Stage specific meetings to narrow these key skills down
  • Professional learning days to introduce new programs/software/web tools
  • The collaboration of teachers across the school to share ways that they use technology within their classroom through bi-term meetings.
  • Encourage active participation in Teachmeets


ACARA. (2013). General capabilities in the Australian curriculum. Retrieved on August 12, 2013 from

Wall, J., & Ryan, S. (2010). Digital literacy: a resource for learning. Resourcing for curriculum innovation (pp. 31-35). Camberwell, Vic.: ACER Press


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