Glossary (Version 8.4)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.