Problem: I am new to the school and having trouble making friends

Digital Technologies

Creating Digital Solutions – Level 6
Define problems in terms of data and functional requirements, drawing on previously solved problems to identify similarities.
What is meant by Data: Which elements of the problem (and the solution) can be defined in a form that could be suitably addressed with a digital technology?

Our example problem involves a student who has recently started at a new school, and is having difficulty making friends. We’ll call her Shari. She decides to design a simple digital game to bridge that initial and awkward first meeting and make some new friends.

Data for this game idea might include:

  • Ages – What age range will Shari target? If she is in year 6, she will most likely target 11 and 12 year olds.
  • Gender – Is she only interested in making friends with the girls? Or does she want to make friends with both genders?
  • Interests/Hobbies – Most friendships develop from shared interests and hobbies. What interests does Shari have? What interests might others have? Video games, sports, films, television shows, etc.
What is meant by Functional requirements: If the solution to the problem is a digital product of some description, what is required to ensure the product works the way it is intended to work?

Functional requirements for Shari’s game might include:

  • Fun – If the game is not fun, Shari will struggle to make new friends.
  • Personal information storage – The game will be required to store the first names, genders and interests/hobbies of other students.
  • Photographs – Students playing the game may like to upload avatars to represent themselves.
  • Easy to use – If the goal is to make friends, children aged 11 and 12 are unlikely to participate if the game is not simple to pick up and play.
  • Platform – Is this going to be a game played on a computer? Could it be played on a smartphone or through the internet?
What is meant by previously solved problems: Does the student have prior experience dealing with this problem? What lessons could they bring from that experience to the current task?
Previously solved problems: Has Shari struggled to make friends before? Does she know others who have? How did they overcome the problem initially? What lessons did they learn that could be applied here?
Design a user interface for a digital system, generating and considering alternative design ideas
What is this digital product going to look like? Will the student draw some inspiration from other sources? The student should create a range of different designs and work out the positives and negatives of each, ultimately deciding on one.

What is Shari’s game going to look like? Will she draw some inspiration from Facebook or other social media services?

She will need to produce many different crazy and colourful sketches demonstrating a suitable range of unique ideas that show what the game will look like to the players. She will ultimately choose which one she thinks is best.

Design, modify and follow simple algorithms represented diagrammatically and in English, involving sequences of steps, branching, and iteration.

What is meant by simple algorithms: A solution to the problem which follows a sequence of steps, demonstrates the different branching options available, and any multiple iterations that must be followed.

What is meant by diagrammatically: The solution to the problem expressed in a visual diagram that is easy for others to follow, like a mind map or flowchart.


Now that Shari has conceived her game and come up with its appearance and feel, she needs to think about the finer nuances of how it will function.

Let’s look at the players interests and hobbies for an example. The game will need to recognise a player’s individual interests and match them to other players from the same school. Shari needs to map this out visually in the form of a diagram, like a flowchart.

This flowchart will need to show what you could call the thought pattern of the game. If Shari likes videogames for example, how will the game check that information against other students, and what will it do if two (or more) people also share this interest?

Develop digital solutions as simple visual programs.

The student builds their solution to the problem as a simple visual digital program.

After Shari has completed her brainstorming and designing, she now needs to create her digital game.

Explain how student-developed solutions and existing information systems meet current and future community and sustainability needs

Sustainability requirements can include environmental and economic needs. Does the student’s solution to the problem generate a lot of waste like paper? Is the student’s solution to the problem free for others to consume?

The student should write a reflection that indicates how their solution to the problem has met community and sustainability needs.

Shari might discuss how her new game will make it easier for kids to make new friends and ensure the school is a happier environment. Her game is free to anybody who would like to participate, and can be played on either a user’s smartphone or computer.

Design Technology

Creating Designed Solutions – Level 6
By the end of Level 6 students describe some competing considerations in the design of solutions taking into account sustainability. They describe how design and technologies contribute to meeting present and future needs. Students explain how the features of technologies impact on designed solutions for each of the prescribed technologies contexts.
Critique needs or opportunities to develop design briefs and investigate and select an increasingly sophisticated range of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment to develop design ideas.
To satisfy this criteria a student should adequately demonstrate their thought process while devising a solution to the problem. Ideally a student should demonstrate a willingness to experiment with new software and digital tools to find the solution to the problem.
Shari will need to clearly identify what materials and tools she will require (such as hardware and software, paper and pencils for experimentation and design, etc.). Ultimately this documentation should be presented in some form of design brief that identifies the problem and shows her thought process. Has she indicated why she wants to create a game as opposed to another digital product? Does she have experience making something like this before, or will this be a totally new venture for her?
Apply design thinking, creativity, innovation and enterprise skills to develop, modify and communicate design ideas of increasing sophistication.
A student should demonstrate an ability to generate ideas using creative thinking techniques in a unique and independent way. These ideas should demonstrate adequate communication skills and an ability to creatively address the problem.
Shari knows that she wants to create some sort of digital game to address the problem. How is she going to do this? She should demonstrate an ability to present a range of ideas through creative thinking techniques like mind mapping. Do her ideas show a range of possible solutions? Is there clear evidence to indicate she has considered the problem from a range of different perspectives?
Work flexibly to safely test, select, justify and use appropriate technologies and processes to make designed solutions.
Ideally a student will experiment with a range of different technologies to solve the problem. Ultimately a student should justify their choice of one particular technology over another.

Since Shari is producing a digital game, she will definitely want to produce some sort of prototype on paper to ensure the product can function as intended. If she does not adequately prototype, she may encounter unforeseen problems that will hinder her progress. The best way to prototype a game is to get a version of it into the hands of others as soon as possible. The knowledge she obtains from this step may influence her final choice of appropriate technologies.

If she encounters a major problem, how is she going to address it? If she does not believe the problem is significant enough to warrant a radical redesign, how does she justify that?

Evaluate design ideas, processes and solutions against comprehensive criteria for success recognising the need for sustainability.
A student should produce a self-reflection and evaluation of their work, addressing how their solution to the problem is effective, while recognising the need to address economic and environmental sustainability.
With her game completed and in the hands of her schoolmates, Shari will write an evaluation and self-reflection of her work. What worked well and what not so well? If she were to create her game again, what would she do differently with the knowledge she has now? To address economic and environmental sustainability, she explains that her game is free to anybody who would like to participate, and can be played on either a user’s smartphone or computer, preventing excess paper waste.
Planning and managing
Develop project plans to plan and manage projects individually and collaboratively taking into consideration time, cost, risk and production processes. Students create designed solutions for each of the prescribed technologies contexts, suitable for identified needs or opportunities. They suggest criteria for success, including sustainability considerations and use these to evaluate their ideas and designed solutions. They combine design ideas and communicate these to audiences using graphical representation techniques and technical terms. Students record project plans including production processes. They select and use appropriate technologies and techniques correctly and safely to produce designed solutions.
Before a student begins building their digital solution to the problem, they should produce adequate planning which indicates a consideration of the time available, any projected costs, risks involved and required processes for production such as software required and other considerations.
Since she wants to make new friends, Shari plans to finish her game within a week or two. Her plan should indicate how she intends to stay within that timeframe, and what milestones she is setting for herself. She believes her project can be completed using free software available online and doesn’t foresee any large costs involved. She provides evidence of her considered risks which include time mismanagement, and her lack of experience creating a game of this scale. Nevertheless she provides a clear and concise production process.
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