For a more comprehensive glossary that accompanies the Digital Technologies learning area, ACARA have developed and made available a glossary on the national curriculum website. Additionally, the Google "Exploring Computational Thinking" website has a thorough description of terminology and examples associated with Computational Thinking.
The process of filtering out unnecessary information to solve a certain type of problem.
An algorithm is a description of a step-by-step strategy or series of decisions that are used to solve a problem. For example, when a chef writes a recipe, the chef is creating an algorithm for someone else to replicate the meal.
An array is like a container that holds a group of items (like a list) but an array's size is fixed so you cannot add or remove items while a program is running. Items are sometimes called elements. Each item in an array is numbered, starting with 0 and has a position on the list.
The base-2 coding system used by computers to represent data.
The blocks that are used in visual programming languages or environments that represent some form of code visually. Blocks can be used to develop visual programming solutions.
Algorithms and programs commonly use Boolean values. Boolean variables can hold only one of two values: TRUE or FASLE. These variables work with "if-statements".
Are notes that programmers write to explain what the code does. Children can practice making comments by thinking-aloud, explaining code (or steps in an algorithm) to a peer or a teacher or by writing on their design sheets or plans.
Encoding information using fewer bits than the original representation to reduce the file size.
Involves a particular set of problem-solving skills and techniques that can be used to create digital solutions to solve problems. Such skills include organising data, identifying patterns, breaking down problems into smaller components and creating algorithms to solve problems. For more information visit the Google site.
Computer science is the scientific discipline that involves the study of the principles and use of computers.
Data is the basis from which information can be derived. Essentially, data is comprised of raw facts, numerals, symbols, and measurements. When data is organised, structured and presented in a meaningful context, it can provide information. In the digital technologies context, data are numbers, characters, images, symbols and sounds that can be manipulated, stored and communicated by digital systems.
The ability to break down a task into minute details, smaller tasks, or sub-problems, so that these can be used to explain a process to another person or to a computer, or for ourselves as a guide to solve a problem. For example, when creating a unit plan for a classroom, we may break the unit into subject areas, learning objectives, goals, days or weeks and work on individual lesson plans to create the whole unit plan.
Processes involved to create a designed solution, such as investigating, generating, producing and evaluating as well as collaborating and managing.
Digital hardware and software components (internal and external) used to transform data into digital solutions. When digital systems are connected, they form a network.
Are technologies controlled using digital logic, including computer hardware and software, digital media devices, digital toys and contemporary and emerging communication devices.
One of the outputs of technologies processes and/or a place or space in which technologies processes operate. In relation to this learning area and course, we refer to environments as being digital or natural.
An action that takes place while the program is running. You can write instructions known as 'event handlers' to perform instructions or actions that you want to take place in response to an event. For example an event might be clicking on an object such as the green flag in Scratch or in a no-tech activity it might be performing an action to the sound of a whistle being blown or a drum beating.
A special type of method (instruction) that returns a value back to the instruction that called the function.
Frameworks that help structure thinking by making thinking processes visible by showing connections between data and processes. These can be digital or paper-based and include flow-charts, concept maps, etc.
Hardware includes all the physical components of digital technologies and devices. See Digital Systems (above) for more information.
A conditional decision used to control the flow of a program. The if/else decision structure executes one set of instructions if a (boolean) condition is true and another set of instructions if the condition is false. Boolean variable and if-statements can be explored with flow-charts or Venn diagrams.
Data that is structured, organised and presented in a meaningful context.
The combination of digital hardware and software components (digital systems), data, processes and people that interact to create control and communicate information.
Iteration (a.k.a loop or repetition)
Repetition of a process or set of instructions in computer programming.
A list holds a group of items. These items may be removed or other items added from a list as a program is running. Everyday examples are the lists we create to go food shopping with or a list of party guests. The list is created and stored for a particular purpose.
Loop (a.k.a iteration or repetition)
The loop statement causes a set of instructions to repeat a certain number of times. E.g. A set of instructions in P.E. might involve loops with the given instructions: "Pass the ball 5 times, jump 2 times and repeat the sequence 3 times". The loop statement can also feature the "until" statement which means that something is repeated until a condition is met. For example in the P.E. scenario above, it might be "until" the ball is dropped.
A connected series of digital systems (wireless or with wires) that can communicate and transmit data to share information.
An object has properties, which specifies the object's characteristics. Objects also have 'methods' which are actions that the object can perform. Objects can be made up of other objects. For example a bird is made up of a body, right wing, left wing, beak, left leg, right leg, right eye, left eye, etc). Certain objects that make-up the bird can be programmed to move in particular ways. Alice is a great program for exploring objects. When naming objects, they should be sensible and follow standard programmer conventions.
Digital components that can be connected to a digital system but are not essential to the basic operation of a system, for example a computer mouse, a printer or a digital camera. Peripheral devices can provide input or output.
A set of instructions that a computer follows to perform a task. See 'Algorithms' for more information (above).
An instruction that calls on itself. Each time it calls on itself the instructions are repeated. For example, saying "Hello, is anybody there?" and waiting for a reply, and if no reply is made, the instruction is re-called and the character says, "Hello, is anybody there?" and so on.
Software is a general term used to describe computer programs or applications that operate on digital devices. The software provide a set of instructions for computers to follow. For more information see Digital Systems (above).
A sequence of characters. They are used to represent things such as names, items, addresses, alert screen messages among others.
The structure, properties, behaviour and interactivity of people and components (inputs, processes and outputs) within and between natural, managed and constructed digital environments.
The materials, data, systems, components, tools and equipment used to create solutions.
A named storage location in the computer's memory. Real examples might be how we name rooms in a house, labels on classroom kits (dice, calculators) or jars on a kitchen bench. The contents or things inside the names location can be described as 'data'.
A programming language or environment where the program is represented and created visually rather than as text. A common visual metaphor represents statements and control structures as blocks that can be composed to form programs.