Power, capacity or tendency of a material to absorb or soak up another substance, usually a liquid.


A process of reducing complexity to formulate generalised fundamental ideas or concepts removed from specific details or situation. For example, the idea that a cricket ball is a sphere in the same way that a soccer ball is, or the concept that data can be organised in records made up of fields irrespective of whether the data are numbers, text, images or something else.


The extent to which a system, environment or object may be used irrespective of a user’s capabilities or disabilities. For example, the use of assistive technologies to allow people with physical disabilities to use computer systems, or the use of icons in place of words to allow young children to use a system.

aerial view

A drawing from above (in the air) to show features of a building, landscape or environment. An aerial view is used, for example, in whole-farm plans to show the location of fences and gates, dams, waterways, specific vegetation, sheds and other buildings on a property so plans for changes can be made.

aerial view of garden


A branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of art, beauty and taste. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory-emotional values, sometimes called judgements of sentiment and taste. Aesthetic judgement is concerned with the visual impact or appeal of a product or environment and is influenced by social, emotional and demographic factors.


Step-by-step procedures required to solve a problem. For example, to find the largest number in a list of positive numbers:

  • Note the first number as the largest.
  • Look through the remaining numbers, in turn, and if a number is larger than the number found in 1, note it as the largest.
  • Repeat this process until complete. The last noted number is the largest in the list.

An algorithm may be described in many ways. Flowcharts are often useful in visualising an algorithm.

algorithmic logic

A logic behind breaking down computing problems and information systems into step-by-step processes in order to solve problems or achieve specified outcomes. It involves sequencing and abstraction and leads to algorithmic statements.


A software application with a very specific or narrow purpose designed to run on mobile devices (such as smartphones or tablets) through a web browser or on a personal computer. The feature set of an app is limited when compared with a full-featured desktop application for a similar purpose. For example, a photo-editing app has a smaller set of features than an industry-standard photographic suite.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)

An early numeric code, later extended, used to represent 128 specific characters, including 0–9 and a–z, in computer systems. For example, capital A is represented by the binary code 100 0001.

augmented reality (AR)

A technology that replicates, enhances or overlays extra information about the real-world environment, using computer-generated data such as global positioning systems (GPS), sound, videos and images. Examples include a car windshield with a heads-up display (HUD) that projects three-dimensional navigation information and virtual lanes; and a swimming telecast using a line to indicate the position of the record holder in relation to the actual swimmers in the race.


In Digital Technologies, any process of transforming and manipulating data that does not require user intervention. For example, through the use of formulas in a spreadsheet, new sets of data can be processed and the results recalculated automatically, or a webcam can be turned on as a result of movement sensor input.

back casting

A process that starts with defining a desirable future and then working backwards to identify policies and programs that will connect the future to the present.


A use of two states or permissible values to represent data, such as ON and OFF positions of a light switch or transistors in a computer silicon chip that can be in either the electrical state of ON or OFF.

Binary data are typically represented as a series of single digits referred to as binary digits (or bits) due to each taking on the value of either 0 or 1. The image below shows how a dashed line might be represented in binary.


An inspiration of functions found in nature for use and adaptation in the design of a product, service or environment or to solve human problems. For example, velcro fastening was inspired by small hooks on the end of burr needles. Termite mounds that maintain a constant temperature through air vents inspired architects to design cooling for buildings.


Mapping something to bits (binary digits 0 and 1). It is most often used in reference to graphics or images (but can be other forms of media). For a bitmapped graphic, each ‘dot’, or pixel, of the graphic is represented by a number giving the colour of the pixel. .bmp, .gif or .jpeg files are graphics represented as bitmaps (as opposed to vector graphics). If a graphic were stored or displayed using only 1 bit per pixel, it would be purely black and white (1 for black and 0 for white). If it were 2 bits per pixel, it could represent four ‘colours’ (typically greyscale colours). Using 24 bits per pixel gives over 16 million (224) different colours.


Making a decision between one of two or more actions depending on sets of conditions and the data provided. For example, in testing whether a light works, the following algorithm uses branching:

diagram illustrating branching

bunraku puppet

A traditional Japanese form of puppet theatre in which half life-sized dolls act out a chanted dramatic narrative using force and motion.


A graphic image (and audio for vision impaired) recognition test to confirm a human, rather than a computer-automated response to a request. It is an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. It is commonly used with online forms over the internet to reduce the chance of hackers using computer programs to automatically fill in multiple bogus online forms.

an example of CAPTCHA

carbon footprint

The environmental impact of an individual or organisation’s operation, measured in units of carbon dioxide. It includes primary emissions (the sum of the direct carbon dioxide emissions of fossil fuel burning and transportation such as cars and planes) and secondary, or indirect, emissions associated with the manufacture and breakdown of all products, services and food an individual or organisation consumes.

cascading style sheets (CSS)

A set of instructions to describe the formatting (for example, layout, font, size) of a document written in a markup language such as HTML for web pages. It is a special case of a style sheet that is a set of instructions to define the formatting of a structured document (for example, a word processed document could have a style sheet). For example, CSS for a website may define the font, colour and size of each type of text such as headings, body text, hyperlinks and captions for pictures.

categorical data

Data that are represented in discrete categories such as gender, eye colour or type of animal. For example, if age was represented as age groups (for example,. 0–5, 6–18, 19–60, 61+), then the data would be categorical rather than numerical.


A set of distinguishing aspects (including attributes and behaviours) of an object, material, living thing, system or event.

In Design and Technologies, the qualities of a material or object usually detected and recognised by human senses such as its colour, taste, texture, sound (for example, crunch of bread) and smell. The term also may relate to the form of a material, for example, ‘corrugated’ cardboard. These qualities are used by humans to select suitable materials for specific uses, for example, because they are appealing or suitable for their purpose. The characteristics of materials usually determine the way people work with the materials. Also see properties.

In Digital Technologies, for example, the characteristics of a stored digital graphic may be the colour depth (maximum number of colours represented), the resolution (number of pixels per area, or height and width) and the compression used.

cloud computing

Distributing computing over a network where storage of files, processing of data and/or access to software occurs automatically on interconnected server computers to which the user’s device is connected. Typically, people use the term to refer to accessing files and software over the internet. For example, photo files may be stored in the ‘cloud’ from a smartphone to be accessed later from a different location; where they are actually stored can be anywhere in the world on a server computer used by the cloudservice.


A piece of software that encodes or decodes digital audio-visual material, usually to allow it to be stored or transmitted in a compressed format. For example, the MP3 format compresses audio data and requires an MP3 codec (usually available by default in audio programs) to be read and played by a computer. Codecs can be downloaded or purchased and installed as plug-ins to most applications to extend the media capabilities of software. Also see compression.

collaborative document

A document that is created by more than one person, with authors working together to create a single document. This is readily achieved using digital technologies by having the document in an online environment so that many authors can access and edit the document at the same time.


Parts or elements that make up a system or whole object and perform specific functions. For example, the major components of a car include: a chassis (holds everything on it); an engine (to convert energy to make a car move); a transmission (including controlling the speed and output from the engine and to rotate the wheels); a steering system (to control the direction of movement); a brake system (to slow down or stop); a fuel delivery system (to supply fuel to the cylinders); an exhaust system (to get rid of gases) and an electrical system (for operating wipers, air conditioning, etc.).

Similarly, the components of a computer system may be a central processing unit (chips that follow instructions to control other components and move data); memory chips and a hard disk (for storing data and instructions); a keyboard, a mouse, a camera and a microphone (to input instructions and data for the central processing unit); a screen, a printer and speakers (to output data); USB and ethernet cards (to communicate with other systems or components). Also see digital systems.

diagram showing components of an electronic system


A process of encoding information using fewer bits, that is, 0 or 1, than an original representation, to reduce file size – typically using mathematical formulas to remove repeated data, combine related data or simplify data (for example, a line segment can be represented by the position of the end points instead of every dot on it). Common examples include:

  • .zip files, which can contain one or more files or folders that have been compressed
  • .jpg files in digital photography are produced by processing complete (lossless) data from a camera’s sensor through compressing (looking for redundant/unnecessary data) into a smaller file size
  • .mp3 files for audio, which compress an original audio source to reduce the file size significantly but still sound like an exact copy of the original.
compression scheme

a method of compressing data. Also see compression.

computational thinking

A problem-solving method that involves various techniques and strategies that can be implemented by digital systems. Techniques and strategies may include organising data logically, breaking down problems into parts, defining abstract concepts and designing and using algorithms, patterns and models.

computer-aided drawing

Software used by designers, architects and engineers to create lines, shapes and planes that can be combined, moved, rotated, adjusted and rendered. Measurements and calculations can be included. Computer-aided drawing can be used to create two- and three-dimensional models and drawings such as floor plans, interior and garden designs, and to represent objects and structures. Also known as computer-assisted design or CAD.

computer-aided manufacturing (CAM)

A use of geometric design data (coordinates) to control and monitor specially designed automated machines with onboard computers to produce objects. Numerical control (NC) computer software applications create detailed instructions, known as G-code, that drive the computer numeric control (CNC) machine tools for manufacturing components and objects.

constructed environment

An environment developed, built and/or made by people for human and animal activity, including buildings, streets, gardens, bridges and parks. It includes naturalenvironments after they have been changed by people for a purpose.

construction relationship

A relationship between materials and suitable methods of joining them, based on their characteristics and properties. For example, certain adhesives can be used to join specific materials. If an incorrect adhesive is chosen, the materials will not bond, or will be weak.

criteria for success

A descriptive list of essential features against which success can be measured. The compilation of criteria involves literacy skills to select and use appropriate terminology.


A careful judgement in which opinions are given about positive and negative aspects of something. Critiquing considers good as well as bad performances, individual parts, relationships of individual parts and overall performance. Also see evaluating.

crop sensor

An advanced sensor to measure and record data about food or fibre crops and give real-time measurements of physiological factors such as nutrient status and moisture. It can be physically placed in the crop or remotely sensed from a satellite or aircraft.

cultivating gardens

Preparing and improving soil by digging and fertilising to promote the growth of crop plants.

danger zone temperatures

Temperature range between 5º Celsius and 60º Celsius. In this zone, bacteria that cause food poisoning can multiply quickly to unsafe levels. High-risk foods should be stored properly to avoid the danger zone temperatures.


In Digital Technologies, discrete representation of information using number codes. Data may include characters (for example, alphabetic letters, numbers and symbols), images, sounds and/or instructions that, when represented by number codes, can be manipulated, stored and communicated by digital systems. For example, characters may be represented using ASCII code or images may be represented by a bitmap of numbers representing each ‘dot’ or pixel.

data repository

A central place where data are stored and maintained. For example, a database on a server computer for the Australian Bureau of Statistics, a weather bureau or a bank.


A collection of data organised by records and fields that can be easily stored, accessed, managed and updated. Each discrete piece of data to be stored is represented by a field (for example, song title, song artist or bank account number, date of transaction); and values in the fields that are associated with an entity (for example, a song, a bank transaction) are a record. Interaction with a database usually takes place through a user interface designed specifically for the structure and use of the data stored in it.


A collection of data combined for a specific purpose. All data should be interconnected either by being in the same file or in files related to each other so they can be viewed together, and are usually collected together. Examples include data collected from a survey entered into a single spreadsheet, or a library of clip art.


To separate a complex problem into parts to allow a problem to be more easily understood. For example, to create an interactive story, one can decompose the problem to a list of characters and their characteristics (for example, clothing), the actions of the characters, the backdrops and the sequence of scenes with reference to which characters, actions and backdrops are involved in each scene. Decomposition may be represented in diagrams.


A process of dismantling or pulling a product or system apart to systematically identify and analyse components and their relationships. Also see components.

design brief

A concise statement clarifying a project task and defining a need or opportunity to be resolved after some analysis, investigation and research. It usually identifies users, criteria for success, constraints, available resources and timeframe for a project and may include possible consequences and impacts.

design process

A process that typically involves investigating and defining; generating and designing; producing and implementing; evaluating; and collaborating and managing to create a designed solution that considers social, cultural and environmental factors. In Design and Technologies, technologies processes include design processes and production processes.

design thinking

Use of strategies for understanding design problems and opportunities, visualising and generating creative and innovative ideas, and analysing and evaluating those ideas that best meet the criteria for success and planning.

designed solution

In Design and Technologies, a product, service or environment that has been created for a specific purpose or intention as a result of design thinking, design processes and production processes.


In Design and Technologies, a process that typically involves investigating and defining; generating; producing and implementing; evaluating; and collaborating and managing to create a designed solution.

In Digital Technologies, one step in a four-stage process of defining, designing, implementing and evaluating to create a digital solution.

desk checking

A method used by a human to check the logic of a computer program's algorithm to reduce the likelihood of errors occurring. This may be done on paper, using a diagram, or mentally trying a sample of typical inputs to see what the outputs would be. For example, to desk check a branching statement {IF age >65 THEN ‘retire’ ELSE ‘keep working’}, the values for age of 64, 65 and 66 could be tried to show that 64 and 65 would result in ‘keep working’ and 66 in ‘retire’ so that it could be decided if the statement worked as intended.

digital citizenship

An acceptance and upholding of the norms of appropriate, responsible behaviour with regard to the use of digital technologies. This involves using digital technologies effectively and not misusing them to disadvantage others. Digital citizenship includes appropriate online etiquette, literacy in how digital technologies work and how to use them, an understanding of ethics and related law, knowing how to stay safe online, and advice on related health and safety issues such as predators and the permanence of data.

digital environment

A situation, or sphere of activity, or simulated ‘place’ that is entirely presented or experienced with digital technologies. For example, a social network that provides a digital environment for communicating with friends, or software that provides a digital environment for editing photographs.

digital footprint

A total set of data left behind by a person using a digital system. A person’s digital footprint includes all information actively provided by that person such as interactions on social networks (for example, comments, photographs), online purchases, website logons, emails and instant messages. It also includes passive information such as logs of software installed and used on a computer, metadata associated with files, a user’s IP address, a device being used to access a web page, and a user’s browsing history stored as cookies or by internet service providers.

digital information

The nature and forms of information stored digitally, and processes that transform digital data into information for various purposes and meanings, including structures, properties, features and conventions of particular forms of digital information and appropriate methods of storage, transmission and presentation of each form.

digital solution

A result (or output) of transforming data into information or action using digital systems, skills, techniques and processes to meet a need or opportunity.

digital system

Digital hardware and software components (internal and external) used to transform data into a digital solution. When digital systems are connected, they form a network. For example:

  • a smartphone is a digital system that has software (apps, an operating system), input components (for example, touch screen, keyboard, camera and microphone), output components (for example, screen and speakers), memory components (for example, silicon chips, solid state drives), communication components (for example, SIM card, wi-fi, bluetooth or mobile network antennas), and a processor made up of one or more silicon chips.
  • a desktop computer with specific software and hardware components for dairy farming. The computer is connected via cables to milking equipment and via wi-fi to sensors that read tags on the cows. Through these hardware components the software records how much milk each cow provides. Such systems can also algorithmically control attaching milking equipment to each cow, providing feed and opening gates.
digital technology

Any technology controlled using digital instructions, including computer hardware and software, digital media and media devices, digital toys and accessories, and contemporary and emerging communication technologies. These technologies are based on instructions given, using binary (0 or 1) code, that invariably mean one or more processors are present to respond to these instructions. Computers, smartphones, digital cameras, printers and robots are all examples of digital technologies.

digitally signed data

Data that have information added (for example, a digital signature) before these data are sent over a network so that a receiving digital device knows what computer has sent the data and that the data have not been changed along the way. A digital signature is mathematically created using cryptography (hashed). For example, a digital signature may be added to a PDF document in Acrobat as a digital ID (or private key) that includes a name and email address in the added information.

drawing standards

Australian standards for engineering and technical drawing. Identified as Australian Standard AS 1100, the standards include a number of parts that describe the conventions for Australian engineers, designers, architects and associated tradespeople such as builders and plumbers to follow. AS 1100 incorporates general principles for technical drawing, including dimensioning, types of lines and layouts to use, scales, symbols, abbreviations and their meanings. It also includes mechanical engineering drawing, including information for surface texture, welding, centre holes, gears, etc.


An ability of an object or system to withstand or resist wear, pressure or damage over a long period of time and remain in good condition. For example, long-lasting outdoor furniture made of suitable materials and construction methods to withstand rain, heat and light from the sun; a sports uniform made of suitable materials to withstand frequent washing and wear and tear from the movement of the sportsperson. Also see properties.


The electronic (e) selling of a product or service online or through other electronic means, with an online mechanism for payment. Examples include online shopping sites and travel websites where hotel accommodation and airline tickets can be purchased.

economic sustainability

A set of practices that do not reduce economic opportunities of future economies, while recognising the finite nature of resources, and use resources optimally over a longer term without resulting in economic loss.

electronic planting calendar

An online or software-based month-by-month guide of suitable crops to plant, as well as typical garden maintenance tasks, which need to be performed. An electronic planting calendar may take a form of a database or simple table of information.

encryption of data

A process in cryptography of encoding (converting) data, using mathematical formulas, into a form that only an intended recipient can decode, often including a personal digital signature (see digitally signed data). For example, when connecting to an online banking or shopping website, typically on login a secure communication is set up based on encryption provided at the website, and this will be represented by a https://URL and a lock symbol on the user’s internet browser.

energy-efficient cooking

Energy efficiency is the use of less energy to provide the same service. Examples of energy-efficient cooking include microwave cooking; using energy-efficient cookware such as copper-bottom pans and woks; matching pan size to the cooking element; reducing cooking time by defrosting frozen food first; using a single hotplate with a saucepan and stacked steamer.


A practical application of scientific and mathematical understanding and principles as a part of the process of developing and maintaining solutions for an identified need or opportunity.

engineering principles and systems

A technologies context in Design and Technologies focused on how forces and energy can be used to create light, sound, heat, movement, control or support in systems. It involves manipulating and arranging systems and their components, often using modelling or simulation, so they work together (or interact) to meet required needs and functions or purposes. Systems have inputs, processes and outputs. For example, a torch as shown below. Scientific laws or theories can often be used to work out the necessary inputs, processes or outputs to support the development or operation of a system. These are known as engineering principles. An example of an engineering principle is Ohm’s Law (a statement about the relationship between voltage, current and resistance in an electrical circuit).

inputs, processes and outputs of a torch, which is a simple system


A project or activity that may be challenging, requires effort and initiative and may have risks.


Showing initiative and willingness to take action and commitment to follow through on initiatives.


One of the outputs of technologies processes and/or a place or space in which technologies processes operate. An environment may be natural, managed, constructed or digital.

environmental sustainability

Practices that have minimal impact on ecosystem's health, allow renewal of natural systems and value environmental qualities that support life.


Items needed for carrying out specific jobs, activities, functions or processes. For example, a bench hook is used to hold a piece of wood when making a straight cut across it; a tailor’s chalk is used to make marks on fabric to show details of the location and type of construction; a soldering iron is used to solder components to a printed circuit board; scales are used to accurately weigh ingredients for a cake or feed for domestic animals.


Understanding of the activity of humans within systems or in an environment to maximise the wellbeing of humans and their productive use of those systems or environments. In Digital Technologies,ergonomics is concerned with physical, mental and emotional impacts on users of the technologies. For example, it is understood that many people may get sore eyes if they look at screens for too long, and that if computer keyboard users do not sit up straight with arms at right angles to the body, they may get repetitive strain injury in their forearms.


Measuring performance against established criteria. Estimating nature, quality, ability, extent or significance to make a judgement determining a value. Also see critiquing.

exclusive or (XOR)

An ‘exclusive or’ (XOR) is a logical operator that is TRUE if both inputs to it are different, in the same way that AND is a logical operator that is TRUE only if both of the inputs are TRUE. For example, ‘person is male’ XOR ‘person has blonde hair’ results in all females with blonde hair and males without blonde hair. (Using AND here would result in only including males with blonde hair.)

the Venn diagram represents the XOR operator

exploded view

A drawing or photograph of an object with individual parts shown separately but arranged to show the relationship and position of the parts for assembly. For example, instructions that come with furniture sold in a flat pack that has parts and fittings, or a diagram of parts of a bicycle, to be assembled in a particular way and/or order by a purchaser.

exploded view of a chair


In Design and Technologies, distinctive attributes, characteristics, properties and qualities of an object, material, living thing, system or event.


In food and fibre production, plant- or animal-based materials that can be used for clothing or construction. Fibre includes materials from forestry. Animal-based (protein) fibres include wool and silk. Plant-based (cellulosic) fibres include cotton, bamboo, hemp, timber and wood chip.

file transfer protocol (FTP)

A set of rules or standards for transmitting files between digital systems on the internet. Also see hypertext transfer protocol.

flame-retardant fabrics

1. Inherently flame-resistant fibres that have flame resistance built into their chemical structure.

2. Flame-retardant treated (FRT) fabrics that are made flame-resistant by the application of flame-retardant chemicals.

food and fibre production

A process of producing food or fibre as natural materials for the design and development of a range of products.

food guides

The National Health and Medical Research Council and Australian government departments of health and nutrition publish guides that provide information on food consumption patterns to promote maximum health. These include the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating poster, which visually represents the proportion of the five food groups recommended, in a circular plate format; the Australian Dietary Guidelines(2013 revision), which has five principal recommendations, and the Healthy Living Pyramid, which recommends food from the core food groups and encourages food variety balanced with physical activity.

food specialisations

Application of nutrition principles and knowledge about the characteristics and properties of food to food selection and preparation; and contemporary technology-related food issues.


A process of predicting the future based on current trend analysis. It uses historical data to determine a direction of future trends.


Design of products, services or environments to ensure they are fit for purpose and meet the intended need or market opportunity and identified criteria for success. Criteria for success in relation to functionality are likely to include such things as operation, performance, safety, reliability and quality. That is, does the product, service or environment do what it was meant to do, or provide what it was meant to provide? (For example, does the torch provide light, is it easy to hold, and is it safe to use?)

futures thinking

Strategic thinking that envisages what can be, given existing knowledge, to propose scenarios for probable, possible and preferred futures. For example, making well-informed predictions or extrapolating using current economic, environmental, social and technological trends; using divergent thinking (‘What if …’ explorations) about a given futures scenario; hypothesis; or systems-driven thinking.

general-purpose programming languages

Programming languages in common use designed to solve a wide range of problems. They include procedural, functional and object-oriented programming languages, including scripting and/or dynamically typed languages. Examples of general-purpose programming languages include C#, C++, Java, JavaScript, Python, Ruby and Visual Basic. They do not include declarative programming languages such as Prolog or structured query language (SQL), or languages designed for solving domain-specific problems or for pedagogical reasons.

graphic organiser

A communication tool that uses visual symbols to represent structured thinking. Graphic organiser makes thinking processes visible by showing connections between ideas and data. Examples include concept maps, flowcharts and cause-and-effect patterns. The use of graphic organisers has become more popular with the availability of software to create, edit and display them.

graphical representation technique

A technique used to communicate ideas and plans, for example, sketching, drawing, modelling, making patterns, technical drawing, computer-aided drawing. (The graphical representation techniques for each band are included in the band description.)

graphics technologies

Visual images, pictorial representations or designs produced on a surface such as paper, canvas or a screen. Images generated by a computer are known as computer graphics. The purpose of these images, representations or designs is to inform, illustrate or entertain.


Wood from broadleaved or angiosperm trees such as oak, ash, gum, jarrah.

hashing algorithm

A method of generating output of a fixed length that is used as a shorthand reference to larger amounts of data. Used extensively to speed up searching, or when a size of data being used becomes cumbersome. Hashing is especially useful in cryptography as a means of reliably and securely obscuring input for communication. A hashing algorithm is deterministic – it always produces the same output for any given input – ensuring that data retrieval and use are reliable.


A state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (World Health Organization 1948).

healthy eating

Dietary patterns that aim to promote health and wellbeing, including types and amounts of foods and food groups that reduce the risk of diet-related conditions and chronic disease (National Health and Medical Research Council 2013).

hypertext markup language (HTML)

One of the first coding systems (or languages) designed to be used for web-page files so that an internet browser can efficiently display a page and elements for that page such as text, links and media in the intended position. There are newer versions of this language and alternative markup languages.

hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP)

A set of rules or standards for transferring files and messages on the World Wide Web, specifically to allow linking of files and text (see file transfer protocol). It provides a standard for web browsers to render pages (that is, to present them in an intended form) and servers to communicate.

IF statement

A conditional decision statement used to control the flow of a program (see branching). The structure of an IF statement evaluates an expression (for example, hour < 12) and performs a specified code block only if the condition is true. An example in Python would look like the following:

if hour < 12:

print(“Good morning!”)

Here, the program would only print the words 'Good morning!' if the hour of the day is less than 12.

information system

A combination of digital hardware and software components (digital systems), data, processes and people that interact to create, control and communicate information.


Something put into a system to activate or modify a process, for example, people, raw materials, power, energy, data. Also see engineering principles and systems.

intellectual property

A legal concept that refers to creations of a mind for which exclusive rights are recognised. Common types of intellectual property include copyright, trademarks, patents, designs and plant breeder’s rights.


A prefix indicating a strategy to limit searches to the title field of a web page. It indicates that a word or phrase is included in the title.


A prefix indicating a strategy to limit searches to particular words in a URL.

irrigation methods

Different ways of applying supplementary water to crops, for example, spray, flood and drip irrigation.


A repetition of a process or set of instructions in computer programming where each repeated cycle builds on a previous (see repeatstatement). Typically this uses a FOR loop command with a counter such as the example below to add the numbers from 1 to 9.

for number = 1 to 9

sum = sum + number


A custom-made tool or piece of equipment used to control a positioning and or motion of another tool to go into a work piece. Jigs are used when manufacturing products to ensure accuracy, alignment, repeatability and interchangeability. Some jigs are also called templates or guides. Examples are machining jigs, woodworking jigs such as a dowelling jig, jewellers’ jigs and welders’ jigs.

diagram of a jig

joining processes

Methods of bringing together and permanently holding materials or components, for example, using joints such as a dowel joint to join legs and rails for a table frame; fasteners such as nails, rivets, bolts and screws; glues or adhesives; welding; sewing and binding; rubbing in or mixing food ingredients. Also see components.

examples of processes to join metal

example of processes to join fabric

examples of processes to join timber

land management

A process of developing land and monitoring its use in a sustainable way, usually for purposes of producing food and providing fibre for clothing and housing. Includes providing protection for flora and fauna, and preventing and controlling weeds. Also see water management.

life cycle thinking

A strategy to identify possible improvements to products, services and environments to reduce environmental impact and resource consumption while considering social and economic impacts. The cycle goes from the acquisition of materials through to disposal or recycling. Life cycle thinking in food and fibre production would consider nutrition, health and wellbeing, cultural identity and lifestyle as well as environmental impacts. When products and services are marketed or integrated together, customers may be more satisfied because the service supports the product’s use through its life, and could lead to less consumption. Examples of how life cycle thinking can be demonstrated include product road maps and more complex life cycle analysis and assessment diagrams used by industry.

lossless compression

A type of compression algorithm that retains sufficient information to allow the original data to be perfectly reconstructed from the compressed data. It is used when it is important for the original data to be perfectly preserved, for example, in text documents, programming source code, application files or for archival purposes.

lossy compression

A type of compression algorithm that compresses data by discarding information that is not necessary to reproduce the original data with sufficient detail for the user not to notice the difference. It is used primarily for reducing the size of multimedia assets such as video, audio and photos, especially when streaming or transmitting the data over the internet. The original data cannot be restored from the compressed version, as is noticeable when attempting to increase the size of a compressed jpeg file.

low compression (41KB)

medium compression (24KB)

high compression (6KB)

low-input sustainable agriculture (LISA)

A way of thinking about food and fibre production that focuses on reducing purchased inputs (such as fertilisers and pesticides) and uses on-farm and environmental resources effectively. Concepts include crop rotations and soil and water conservation.


Malicious software designed to interfere with the regular operation of a computer system. Often used to gain access to other people’s computers or to gather sensitive information, it is usually hidden in other software to avoid user detection. Examples can include viruses, Trojan horses, key loggers and spyware. Anti-malware software is often relied on to help users detect and remove malware from their computers.


A spinning top traditionally made from beeswax and a stick. It is spun by rubbing the stick between two palms or by using the thumbs and middle finger to twist it.

managed environment

In Design and Technologies, an environment coordinated by humans, for example, a farm, forest, marine park, waterway, wetland and storage facility.

mass production

Making many standardised products very quickly, using assembly line techniques. Components or partially completed products are sent to workers, who each work on an individual step, rather than one worker working on a whole product from start to finish. Mass produced products are manufactured to attain a standardised and consistent quality.


A substance from which a thing is or can be made. Natural (e.g. animals, food, fibre, timber, mineral) and fabricated (e.g. metal alloys, plastics, textiles, composites) materials. Materials are used to create products or environments and their structure can be manipulated by applying knowledge of their origins, structure, characteristics, properties and uses.

materials and technologies specialisations

A technologies context in Design and Technologies focuses on a broad range of traditional, contemporary and emerging materials and specialist areas that typically involve extensive use and deep knowledge of specific technologies.

meat tenderness

How easily meat is cut or chewed. Meat tenderness is influenced by age of the animal, breed, level of activity, fat content and cooking method.

minimum-tillage cropping

Methods of ploughing that provide minimum disruption to the soil, thus allowing soil to maintain its natural structure. Minimum-tillagecropping requires the use of specially designed machinery and control of weeds by the use of herbicides.


A representation that describes, simplifies, clarifies or provides an explanation of the workings, structure or relationships within an object, system or idea.

This can be either a physical model, such as in a scalemodel of a car or house, to show the form of a final production design, and is made with tools, jigs and fixtures; or virtual, such as a simulator program that demonstrates the capabilities of a vending machine through interaction with a computer user.


The use of digital technologies to present combinations of text, graphics, video, animation and/or sound in an integrated way. Where there is facility for a user to interact with multimedia, the term ‘interactive multimedia’ may be used. Examples include interactive games, media-rich websites, electronic books (ebooks) and animated short films.

natural environment

In Design and Technologies, an environment in which humans do not make significant interventions, for example, ocean environments, natural woodlands, national parks.

nutrition panel

Under the food standards code, all manufactured packaged foods must carry a nutrition panel. Only very small packages are exempt. The nutrition panel states the amount of energy (kilojoules), protein, fat (saturated and total), sodium and carbohydrate in a food. Figures are shown in two columns: per serve and per 100 grams or millilitres.

nutritious foods

Foods that supply the nutrients needed by a body to grow, develop and maintain health. As the type and quantity of nutrients found in foods varies, a body needs a variety of foods to be eaten each day to ensure optimum levels of health and wellbeing are achieved.

object-based coding application

An application that uses the object-oriented programming paradigm to represent attributes and actions of a real-world object. An example is the use of Lego Mindstorms to provide instructions to determine the movement of a robot.

object-oriented programming language (OOP)

A programming language that supports the object-oriented programming paradigm. In object-oriented programming, objects represent a combination of data (the attributes of an object) and actions that can be performed on or with those data (the methods of the object). An example might be a declaration of a ‘car’, which has attributes that describe its physical nature (such as the number of doors, its colour, the size of the engine) and the actions it can perform (such as accelerating, braking and turning).

The valid attributes and methods of an object are defined by its class, and these attributes and methods can be inherited from the definition of another class. Examples of OOP languages include C++, Eiffel, Java, Python and Scala.

online query interface

A simple online interface, such as a form on a website, that provides a way for a user to query a specified dataset. This could include a catalogue for a local library, or a website that allows searching of Creative Commons images.

organic fertiliser

A mixture of extra nutrients that are derived from sources which are or were living, to be added to crops and pastures. Examples include seaweed, blood and bone, manure and compost.

orthogonal drawing

A scaled multiview drawing of a three-dimensional object to show each view separately, in a series of two-dimensional drawings, for example, top or bottom, front, back and sides. In Australia, orthogonal drawings use third-angle projection for layout of the views. Orthogonal drawings may also include measurements on each view and are used to develop lists of material requirements. In these drawings each edge is represented by a connected line, each segment of which is parallel to a coordinate axis. Also see production drawing.

orthogonal drawing of a chair


A result of something (physical or virtual) such as power, energy, action, material or information produced by a person, machine or a system. Also see engineering principles and systems.

paddock to plate

All steps in the growing, processing and preparation of food.


An impression made by foods. The foods may be acceptable or agreeable to the palate or taste.

passive design

A design approach that uses natural elements – often sunlight – to heat, cool or light a building. Systems that employ passive design require very little maintenance and reduce a building’s energy consumption by minimising or eliminating mechanical systems used to regulate indoor temperature and lighting.

peripheral device

A digital component that can be connected to a digital system but are not essential to the system, for example, printer, scanner, digital camera.

personal protective equipment (PPE)

Equipment used or worn by a person to minimise risk to the person’s health or safety, for example, goggles, ear muffs, face shield, hard hat, apron, gloves.

perspective drawing

A drawing that represents the way objects appear to be smaller and closer together, the further away they are. Perspective drawings may be one-, two- or three-point perspective and have the corresponding number of vanishing points. A one-point perspective drawing has a single vanishing point (VP). Perspective drawings are often used in building, interior and architectural design.

perspective drawings

pictorial map

A map that shows illustrated (rather than technical style) cartography. The area shown may be the representation of a view of a landscape from above on an oblique angle. Pictorial maps are not drawn to scale.

pictorial map of a landscape


A physical point in a bitmap image or on a display device that corresponds to the smallest amount of information that can be stored and accessed. Also see bitmap.


An imaginary situation and the exploration of objects and actions for a specific purpose, where meaning and sense of objects, actions and social situation can change for individual and collective needs to create something new.

preferred futures

Preferences for the future identified by a student to inform the creation and evaluation of solutions.

preparing soil

The processes of tillage, addition of organic matter and fertilisers, and drainage prior to establishing a food or fibre crop.


Actively realising (making) designed solutions, using appropriate resources and means of production.


One of the outputs of technologies processes, the end result of processes and production. Products are the tangible end results of natural, human, mechanical, manufacturing, electronic or digital processes to meet a need or want.

product demonstration screencast

A presentation of a product’s features and interface generated by capturing the screen of a computer while the product is in use. Usually recorded using video, then annotated using text or voice to provide explanatory notes about the actions occurring on screen.

production drawing

A working drawing that details requirements for the manufacture and assembly of a product and environment.

production drawings for a chair

production process

In Design and Technologies, a technologies context-specific process used to transform technologies into a product, service or environment, for example, the steps used for producing a product.


A set of activities undertaken by students to address specified content, involving understanding the nature of a problem, situation or need; creating, designing and producing a solution to the project task; and documenting the process. Project work has a benefit, purpose and use; a user or audience, which can provide feedback on the success of the solution; limitations to work within; and a real-world technologies context influenced by social, ethical and environmental issues. Criteria for success are used to judge a project’s success.

project management

A responsibility for planning, organising, controlling resources, monitoring timelines and activities, and completing a project to achieve a goal that meets identified criteria for judging success.


A distinctive quality of a material that can be tested and used to help people select the most suitable one for a particular use.

Mechanical properties are determined when a force is applied to a material, for example, to test its strength, hardness, wear resistance, machinability/workability, stretch and elasticity.

Thermal properties are determined when varying temperatures (for example, cold or heat) are applied to test whether a material expands, melts, conducts or absorbs heat (warms up), find its boiling point, and whether its colour changes.

Chemical properties relate to the chemicals a material is made of (its composition) and how it may change because of its surrounding environment, for example, how it ages or taints; develops an odour; deteriorates; resists stains, corrosion or cracks due to heat; or is flammable.

Electrical properties relate to the way a material responds if a current is passed through it or if it is placed in an electrical field, for example, whether the material conducts or resists electricity or acts as an insulator.

Optical properties relate to how light reacts with a material, for example, opaqueness, transparency and reflectiveness.


A set of generally accepted standards or 'rules' that govern relationships and interactions between and within information systems. Also see file transfer protocol and hypertext transfer protocol.


A trial product or model built to test an idea or process to inform further design development. A prototype can be developed in the fields of service, design, electronics or software programming. Its purpose is to see if and how well the design works and is tested by users and systems analysts. It can be used to provide specifications for a real, working product or system rather than a virtual or theoretical one. Prototype is derived from Greek terms that, when translated, mean ‘primitive form’, ‘first’ and ‘impression’. Also see working models.

radiofrequency identification device (RFID)

A small electronic device, consisting of a small chip and antenna, used for identifying and tracking products, animals and people.

rapid prototyping

A range of techniques used to quickly fabricate a scalemodel of a physical part or assembly using three-dimensional computer-assisted design (CAD). Construction of the part or assembly is usually done using 3D printing or additive layer manufacturing technology.

recirculation technologies

Technologies associated with reusing water or air after it has been treated to remove particles, gases and/or dissolved chemicals.

red, green and blue (RGB) colours

Digital representation of colour, displayed on pixels, through the use of varying amounts of red, green and blue light. By combining different amounts of each colour, many of the colours of the visible spectrum can be represented on screen.

rendered drawing

A drawing that shows a relative relationship of elements or a form of objects using texture, colour, light, shade and tone (lightness or darkness of a colour). Rendereddrawings are used, for example, in architecture to show what a building will look like or to show the form and shape of the body of a proposed car design. Rendering can be done by hand, or using computer software such as computer-aided drawing.

rendered computer-aided drawing

REPEAT statement

A statement used for declaring iteration and repetition in programming code. Usually a REPEAT statement continues to execute until some specified condition has been met, at which point the repetition ceases. Also known as a loop and implemented in many programming languages by terms such as ‘for’ or ‘while’. An example in Pascal may look like this:


a := a + 1

until a = 10;

where the code will repeatedly print out a number and increase its value by 1 until the number reaches 10.

resistant material

A material such as metals, plastics and timber that is usually firm and not easily bent or curved unless heat, pressure or force is applied.


In Design and Technologies, this includes technologies, energy, time, finance and human input.

risk management

A practice of identifying potential risks in advance, analysing them and taking precautionary steps to reduce/curb the risk. Risk management involves risk identification, analysis, response planning, monitoring, controlling and reporting.


A relationship between the actual size of an object and its representation on a drawing, map or model; proportional ratio (reduction or enlargement) of the actual size of an object so it will fit on a page or be more manageable to draw or represent. For example, a house plan uses scale. A scale of 1:20 means that each centimetre on the house plan equals 20 centimetres on the actual floor. So the actual room measurements would be divided by 20 to get the floor plan measurements. Ratios may be, for example, 1:5, 1:10, 1:50, 1:100, 1:200, 1:500, 1:1000.

secret key

A piece of information that determines the output of a cryptographic cipher and is kept hidden from unintended recipients. The key is required to decrypt information received to restore it to the original message, thus its secrecy is important for ensuring secure transmission of data. Also see cryptography.

SELECT statement

A statement in structured query language (SQL) that retrieves information from a database. The structure of a SELECT statement provides for optional clauses that allow for the filtering, grouping and sorting of data on retrieval. A simple SELECT statement may look like the following:

> SELECT * FROM People;

where the resulting set would be all of the records in the People table. Following is an example of a more complicated SELECT statement:

> SELECT * FROM People WHERE gender=‘m’;

This uses the optional WHERE clause to retrieve only the males (that is, that have a gender of ‘m’) from the database table.

sensory properties

Properties that can be identified by organs of sense. Used to evaluate and describe foods in terms of the senses. The taste (sweet, sour, salty); texture or mouth feel (smooth, moist, lumpy); aroma (spicy, sweet, pungent); appearance (light, dark, golden, glossy); and noise (crunchy, fizzy, crackly) are parts of this analysis.


One of the outputs of technologies processes, the end result of processes and production. Services are a less tangible outcome (compared to products) of technologies processes to meet a need or want. They may involve development or maintenance of a system and include, for example, catering, cloud computing (software as a service), communication, transportation and water management. Services can be communicated by charts, diagrams, models, posters and procedures.

service design

A design of a service and service concept. A service concept aims to meet the needs of an end user, client or customer. A service design includes physical, organisational, aesthetic, functional and psychological benefits of a service and requires systems thinking.

side view

Drawing of an object to show what the object looks like when viewed from its side. Also see orthogonal drawing.

smart material

A material that has extra functions designed into it, so it has extra properties that can be controlled by external stimuli or react to an environment all by themselves. These stimuli can include such things as stress, temperature, moisture, pH, electric or magnetic fields. Examples of smartmaterials include those that self-heal if scratched or that can detect if the foods they contain are past their ‘best by’ use date. These materials have been developed following extensive research and development (R&D) and manufactured to include extra ‘smart behaviour’ functions.

social network

A structure that describes the relationships that exist between individuals and/or organisations. Social networking services and tools provide a mechanism for people who share common interests or personal ties to communicate, share and interact using a range of media such as text, images and video.

social protocols

Generally accepted 'rules' or behaviours for when people interact in online environments, for example, using language that is not rude or offensive to particular cultures, and not divulging personal details about people without their permission.

social sustainability

Practices that maintain quality of life for people, societies and cultures in a changing world for a long period of time, ensuring health and wellbeing without disproportionate costs or side effects.


Wood from gymnosperm trees such as conifers. Examples of softwood include pine, spruce and cedar.


The state, property or quality of a material or object being physically strong and able to withstand or resist a significant amount of force or pressure without breaking. This includes when a material or object is put under compression (compressive strength) or under tension (tensile strength). Compressive strength is measured by the material’s capacity to withstand loads that are intended to reduce its size (forcing its atoms together) and to see how much it deforms or cracks. Tensile strength is measured by the material’s capacity to withstand loads to extend it (forcing its atoms to be pulled apart). Also see properties.

structured English

The use of the English language to describe the steps of an algorithm in clear, unambiguous statements that can be read from start to finish. The use of keywords such as START, END, IF and UNTIL provides a syntax similar to that of a programming language to assist with identifying logical steps necessary to properly describe the algorithm.

An example of the use of structured language can be demonstrated using the following problem:

Description of the problem: Describing the decision a person makes about how to get to a destination based on the weather and the distance from their current location to their destination.

Structured English example:


IF it is raining outside THEN

Catch the bus


IF it is less than 2km to the destination THEN


ELSE IF it is less than 10km to the destination THEN

Ride a bicycle


Catch the bus




The Structured English description can easily be translated into code using a programming language and accurately captures logical elements that must be followed to answer the question posed.

structured query language (SQL)

Specialist programming language used to manage data and access data in relational database management systems.

supplementary feeding

The supply of animal feed by a farmer in addition to what a grazing animal can obtain from pasture.

sustainability factors

Economic, environmental and social sustainability issues that impact on design decisions.


Supporting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to support their needs.


A structure, properties, behaviour and interactivity of people and components (inputs, processes and outputs) within and between natural, managed, constructed and digital environments.

systems thinking

A holistic approach to the identification and solving of problems, where parts and components of a system, their interactions and interrelationships are analysed individually to see how they influence the functioning of the whole system. This approach enables students to understand systems and work with complexity, uncertainty and risk.


Materials, data, systems, components, tools and equipment used to create solutions for identified needs and opportunities, and the knowledge, understanding and skills used by people involved in the selection and use of these.

technologies contexts

A focus and opportunities for students in Design and Technologies to use processes and production skills to design and produce products, services and environments. The prescribed technologies contexts for Foundation – Year 8 are: engineering principles and systems; food and fibre production; food specialisations; and materials and technologiesspecialisations.

technologies processes

Processes that allow the creation of a solution for an audience (end user, client or consumer). The processes involve the purposeful use of technologies and other resources and appropriate consideration of impact when creating and using solutions. The processes typically require critical and creative thinking such as: computational, design or systems thinking. The processes involve: investigating and defining; generating and designing; producing and implementing; evaluating; and collaborating and managing (design processes) and technologies-specific production processes.

technologies specialisations

Areas of specialisation that typically involve extensive use of technologies (for example, architecture, electronics, graphics technologies, fashion).

thumbnail drawing

A small drawing usually done quickly by designers, architects and engineering designers to indicate roughly what an object, system or environment could look like. Thumbnail drawings are a method of visualising thinking and show main features rather than minor details. They may include annotations.


An implement and machine to carry out specific processes when working with materials. For example, a saw is an example of a tool used to cut timber; scissors are used to cut fabric, paper and cardboard; a tape measure is used to measure lengths and widths of wood and fabric; a blender is used to mix and blend food ingredients; secateurs are used to prune plants. Also see equipment.

top view

Drawing of an object to show what it looks like when viewed from above. Also see orthogonaldrawing.

transmission control protocol / internet protocol (TCP/IP)

A set of rules or standards for organising how messages are transmitted over the internet. Also see file transfer protocol and hypertext transfer protocol.


A standard for consistent encoding and representation of text from most of the world’s writing systems. Like ASCII, characters are mapped to unique numerical values; however, Unicode contains more than 100,000 characters from more than 100 different types of script.

user interface

Characteristics of the boundary between users and a computer system, or the manner in which users interact with computer hardware or software. In software, this usually comprises of fields for text and number entry, mouse pointers, buttons and other graphical elements. In hardware, switches, dials and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) provide information about the interactions between a user and a machine.

vector graphics

Images that are represented and stored on computers using geometric elements such as points, lines, curves and shapes. Unlike bitmap images, vector graphics can be easily scaled without loss of clarity due to all points used in the reproduction of the graphic having a clearly defined location and shape in two-dimensional space.

For example, if a line is drawn using vector graphics, only the two end points and the fact that it is a straight line need to be stored. To double the length of the line only needs information about one end point changed so that the software can fill in all the dots between. As a bitmap, each pixel would have to be doubled in size, making a more ‘blurry’ image. (The software doesn’t ‘know’ it is a line and stores information about all the pixels that made up the line separately.)

bitmap graphic

vector graphic

vertical farming

Cultivation of plants or animals on or in a vertical space associated with a multistorey building or vertical, or near-vertical surfaces.

virtual object

A representation of an object, real or imagined, in a digital form. Examples might include a reproduction of a landmark such as the Eiffel Tower in a virtual world tour, or of a constructed spaceship in an environment designed to simulate changes in gravitational force or air density that would not be possible in real-world experiments.

visual programming

A programming language or environment where a program is represented and manipulated graphically rather than as text. A common visual metaphor represents statements and control structures as graphic blocks that can be composed to form programs, allowing programming without having to deal with textual syntax. Examples of visual programming languages include: Alice, GameMaker, Kodu, Lego Mindstorms, MIT App Inventor, Scratch (Build Your Own Blocks and Snap).

Note: A visual programming language should not be confused with programming languages for creating visualisations or programs with user interfaces, for example, Processing or Visual Basic.

visualisation software tools

Software to help in the recording of ideas as visual representations. Examples in are computer-aided drawing (or computer-assisted design – CAD) and computer simulation. Graphic organisers are visualisation tools as are software that display graphs of data.


The sensation of being warm. Warmth of a fabric is determined by the arrangement of fibres, fibre size, shape and structure and thermal conductive properties of the fibres. Generally speaking, the smaller and finer the fibres, the more insulating the garment, because more air is trapped between the fibres. Protein-based fibres (wool, fur) and polypropylene and polyester are the least thermally conductive materials.

water management

A way water resources are monitored and used by humans. This can include the use of dams, irrigation systems, bores, windmills and testing the quality of water and levels of pollution.

water-efficient irrigation

Systems that supply water in a manner that maximises the plant growth associated with each unit of applied water. Irrigation systems may use targeted delivery into the root zone of plants or may apply water to minimise losses through evaporation or soil infiltration.

web-authoring software

A computer program designed to assist in the creation of web pages. Simple web-authoring software may take a form of a basic text editor, or may contain more advanced features that allow for editing the content and layout of a web page.

while loop

A set of instructions in a loop with a test at the top – a programmatic implementation of iteration or repeat. The beginning and ending of the loop may be indicated by key words ‘while’ and ‘endwhile’; however, this will vary depending on the syntax of the programming language used. Sometimes it is referred to as a ‘do while’ loop and in some languages a ‘do’ loop is used instead.

wireless device

A device that transmits and receives data from other sources, using electromagnetic radiation (for example, radio waves) rather than being connected by electrical conductors such as wires. A common example of a wireless device is a mobile phone, which uses radio waves of a specific frequency to connect to telecommunications towers for the purpose of communication.

wool fibre diameter

The thickness of a wool fibre measured in microns (the millionth part of a metre). The smaller the measure, the finer the fibre.

working model

Engineering simulation software product that, when run, can be used to test how virtual components interact. A program can simulate various interactions of the parts (components) and graph the movement and force on any element in a system. These working models are also known as prototypes and can be used to evaluate performance, and make alterations and improvements if necessary.

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