Jointly constructing input and output tables

The concept of cause and effect is a central component of digital technologies design and use. When we interact with a device or with an online resource, we create action and expect a certain outcome.

To engage effectively with technologies design and use, students need to develop a critical approach to evaluating a technology. Students need to understand the causes and effects at play within a technology or system.

In computer terminology, causal explanations are phrased as 'If this …, then that …'. This basic causal sentence structure underpins all computer programming and is a fundamental concept within the Digital Technologies curriculum.

Teachers can support students' understanding of cause and effect in digital technologies through joint construction of cause and effect tables.

  1. The teacher demonstrates the game Minecraft (or similar online game) to the class.
  2. With the students, the teacher explores the concepts of input and output as they are represented in the game. Both keyboard and mouse inputs can be explained. For example:
Input Output
Move mouseCharacter moves in the direction of mouse movement
WCharacter moves forward
SPACECharacter jumps
SHIFTCharacter sneaks
  1. The students will work in small groups to design their own online game, using a cause and effect table as a design tool:
Input Output
I click the start button on the screena character appears on the screen
I click the UP keyThe character moves towards the top of the screen and stops
I click the SPACE keyThe character jumps in the air
I click the DELETE keyThe character becomes invisible for 3 seconds

Content description for the above example: VCDTCD041, VCDTCD044, VCDTCD052.