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Elements of the Grade 10 Course, Digital Technologies and Innovations in the Changing World

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This course is designed to be inclusive of all students, to provide them with opportunities to create programs that are relevant and responsive to their needs and interests, and to enable them to extend their learning. The course acknowledges and builds on the coding concepts and skills students have learned in earlier grades. The focus of the course is on consolidating past learning and deepening students’ understanding of these concepts and skills.

Throughout this course, students apply computational thinking concepts and practices to develop programs for a wide variety of contexts, users, and purposes. Students develop an understanding of important issues, contributions, and innovations related to digital technology. They investigate applications of digital technology skills and programming concepts and skills, and make connections to other fields and to potential future careers.

Students expand their knowledge of hardware devices and software applications, including those that they use every day. Students investigate innovations that impact their daily lives, such as those related to artificial intelligence, data collection, automation, networking, and cybersecurity. This course also provides opportunities for students to investigate concepts and practices related to cyber safety and digital citizenship, important considerations for students in an increasingly connected world. The course helps students understand the role and importance of computer science and digital technology in all fields, and enables them to develop fundamental programming knowledge and skills that they can apply in other computer studies or STEM-related courses.

The course information that appears in the next section is in effect starting in the 2023–24 school year. The 2008 computer studies curriculum for Grades 11 and 12 remains in effect. All references to Grade 10 that appear in The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 10 to 12: Computer Studies, 2008 have been superseded by the section below.

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The computer studies program comprises courses in Grades 10, 11, and 12.

The Grade 10 course, Digital Technologies and Innovations in the Changing World, is designated as an open course. Open courses are designed to broaden students’ knowledge and skills in subjects that reflect their interests and to prepare them for active and rewarding participation in society. They are not designed with the specific requirements of universities, colleges, or the workplace in mind.

Grade Course Name Course Type Course Code Prerequisite
10 Digital Technology and Innovations in the Changing World Open ICD2O None
11 Introduction to Computer Science University ICS3U None
11 Introduction to Computer Programming College ICS3C None
12 Computer Science University ICS4U Grade 11 Introduction to Computer Science, University
12 Computer Programming College ICS4C Grade 11 Introduction to Computer Programming, College

Note: Each of the courses listed above is worth one credit.

Prerequisite Chart for Computer Studies, Grades 10–12

This chart maps out all the courses in computer studies and shows the links between courses and the possible prerequisites for them.

This is a graphic representation of all the computer studies courses from Grades 10 to 12. This graphic shows the links between courses and the possible prerequisites for them. It does not attempt to depict all possible movements from course to course.

Although courses in computer studies are optional, students should keep in mind that any computer studies course in the Grade 10–12 program can fulfil an additional Group 3 compulsory credit requirement for the Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

Half-Credit Courses

The course outlined in this curriculum is designed to be offered as a full-credit course. However, it may also be delivered as a half-credit course. Half-credit courses, which require a minimum of fifty-five hours of scheduled instructional time, must adhere to the following conditions:

  • The two half-credit courses created from a full course must together contain all of the expectations of the full course. Students must successfully complete both parts of the course if it is to be used as a prerequisite for another course.
  • The title of each half-credit course must include the designation Part 1 or Part 2. A half credit (0.5) will be recorded in the credit-value column of both the report card and the Ontario Student Transcript.

Boards will report all half-credit courses to the ministry annually in the School October Report.

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The expectations identified for this course describe the skills and knowledge that students are expected to acquire, demonstrate, and apply in their class work and tasks, on tests, in demonstrations, and in various other activities on which their achievement is assessed and evaluated.

Mandatory learning is described in the overall and specific expectations of the curriculum.

Two sets of expectations – overall expectations and specific expectations – are listed for each strand, or broad area of the curriculum. The strands in this course are lettered A through C. Taken together, the overall and specific expectations represent the mandated curriculum.

The overall expectations describe in general terms the skills and knowledge that students are expected to demonstrate by the end of the course. The specific expectations describe the expected skills and knowledge in greater detail. The specific expectations are organized under numbered subheadings, each of which indicates the strand and the overall expectation to which the group of specific expectations corresponds (e.g., “B2” indicates that the group relates to overall expectation 2 in Strand B). This organization is not meant to imply that the expectations in any one group are achieved independently of the expectations in the other groups, nor is it intended to imply that the learning associated with the expectations happens in a linear, sequential way. The numbered headings are used merely as an organizational structure to help teachers focus on particular aspects of knowledge, concepts, and skills as they develop various lessons and learning activities for students.

Teacher Supports

Specific expectations are accompanied by supports such as examples, teacher prompts, and/or instructional tips. Examples are meant to clarify the requirement specified in the expectation, illustrating the kind of skill or knowledge, the specific area of learning, the depth of learning, and/or the level of complexity that the expectation entails. Teacher prompts are sample guiding questions and considerations that can lead to discussions and promote deeper understanding. Instructional tips suggest instructional strategies and authentic contexts for the effective modelling, practice, and application of computer studies concepts.

Teacher supports, such as the examples, teacher prompts, and instructional tips, are optional supports that educators can draw on to support teaching and learning, in addition to developing their own supports that reflect a similar level of complexity. Whatever the specific ways in which the requirements outlined in the expectations are implemented in the classroom, they must be inclusive and, wherever possible, reflect the diversity of the student population.

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Computational thinking is a model of thinking that is more about thinking than it is about computing. It is about designing and evaluating potential solutions to problems – often through programming. The concepts of computational thinking include:

  • decomposition (the breakdown of a problem or task into steps or pieces)
  • pattern recognition (the identification of other problems or items that are similar)
  • abstraction (the reduction of a complex task to its essential components)
  • algorithms (a set of instructions to follow to solve a problem)

When these concepts are applied, they are known as computational thinking practices.

In this course, the computational thinking concepts and practices are situated in Strand A and applied throughout the learning in Strands B and C. For example, students consider how abstraction is used in the design of computers and hardware devices they use every day. Students also use abstraction and pattern recognition to inform the design of algorithms. In addition, students break up larger tasks (decomposition) and work iteratively, solving smaller steps that contribute to the larger solution.

Although computational thinking is considered a component of computer science, students are encouraged to consider how it can be applied in other disciplines and careers, including skilled trades.

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The expectations in the course are organized into three distinct but related strands. Strand A is an overarching strand focusing on the skills and considerations that will enable students to investigate concepts and integrate knowledge from the other two strands, and to make connections between computer studies and other disciplines. This strand also encourages students to examine various careers, including those in the skilled trades. In Strands B and C, students integrate Strand A expectations as they develop their understanding of strand-specific concepts; investigate hardware, software, and innovations; and use the concepts of programming and algorithms to design and create programs.

Throughout the course, learning related to the expectations in Strand A occurs in the context of learning related to the other two strands.

The three strands are as follows:

  • A. Computational Thinking and Making Connections
  • B. Hardware, Software, and Innovations
  • C. Programming

 The chart below illustrates the relationship between Strand A and the other two strands:

This diagram represents the relationships between the three strands in the Grade 10 computer studies course. 
Strand A: Computational Thinking and Making Connections appears in a large, overarching box at the top. Below it are the other two strands: Strand B: Hardware, Software, and Innovations and Strand C: Programming. The titles of the substrands are included in each box.
Strand A is connected to the other two strands with circular arrows indicating that the learning related to the expectations in Strand A occurs in the context of learning related to the other two strands.

Strand A – Computational Thinking and Making Connections

Strand A develops students’ understanding of computational thinking concepts and practices, and their use in designing algorithms and developing programs that support the needs of a variety of users.

In this strand, students analyze a variety of societal issues related to digital technology, taking various perspectives into account. They apply critical thinking skills to investigate the benefits and limitations of digital technologies. Students explore the relevance of programming and the impacts of digital technology innovations and cybersecurity issues on their daily lives and the lives of others. They also consider the importance of accessibility in relation to digital technology.

Students make connections between what they are learning about digital technology and programming and the application of this learning in different disciplines and industries, as well as in skilled trades.

Strand B – Hardware, Software, and Innovations

In Strand B, students develop an understanding of modern hardware devices and software applications, and how they can meet the needs of various users.

In this strand, students investigate how data and connectivity are integral components of many of the applications and devices they use every day. While learning about the collection and management of data in various contexts, students also explore and apply safe and effective cybersecurity practices. In addition, students investigate current and emerging innovations, including artificial intelligence, and their impact on everyday life, both today and in the future.

Strand C – Programming

In this strand, students build on their coding experiences in previous courses and grades. Students use the computational thinking practices as a framework for problem solving as they design algorithms and write programs using various programming concepts. They also develop the skills to interpret program errors and document their programs to enable collaboration with others.