The Key Learning Area (KLA) for Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE) includes the History K–10 Syllabus, Geography K–10 Syllabus and new Stage 6 syllabuses. The importance of what is loosely grouped as ‘social’ and ‘environmental’ subjects are fundamental in the education of young Australians (Marsh, 2008).
The rationale for including social and environmental subjects as part of the curriculum is highlighted by the Goals of The Adelaide Declaration on National Goals for Schooling in the Twenty-First Century; which aim to equip school leavers with the capacity to make informed decisions in regard to ethical, social justice and matters of morality, to ensure they active and informed members of society (Marsh, 2008).
It is only the HSIE curriculum that helps young people understand such social issues, and take any appropriate action at a personal level, having a much broader role and impact in the lives of students then mere subjects for academic study. Further it is the one major discipline, which provides context on how we have reached our current state as groups, societies, nations and individuals. (Taylor, Fahey, Kriewaldt & Boon, 2012).
Whilst the Australian Curriculum outlines what is to be learning outcomes in the HSIE curriculum, it is the process of translating the curriculum into sequential, engaging and relevant learning experiences that will determine its success (Gilbert & Hoepper, 2017 p. 75). Worthwhile learning experiences are believed to reveal new understandings, be appropriate to students’ backgrounds, support high expectations, the respect of and inclusion of all students, encourage critical analysis, promote deep authentic learning through higher order thinking and ensure connectedness to the world beyond the classroom (Gilbert & Hoepper, 2017 p. 75).
The development of pedagogical approaches in achieving outcomes must consider all students backgrounds, experiences and learning styles. The ‘technology’ component of TPACK (Technological Pedagogical and Content. Knowledge) is fundamental to curriculum implementation and the incorporation of ICTs (Roblyer, & Doering, 2014 p. 366).
Samples of learning ICTs which will be incorporated into HSIE include; Muzzy Lane’s Making History (http://www.muzzylane.com/products/making-history/) and The Oregon Trail (http://www.learningcompany.com) , addressing themes of continuity and change, power authority and governance. The International Communication and Negotiation Simulations (ICONS) (http://www.icons.umd.edu) addressing themes of Global connections.
Gilbert, R. & Hoepper, B. (Eds.) (2017). Teaching Humanities and Social Sciences: History, Geography, Economics and Citizenship in the Australian curriculum. (6th ed.). South Melbourne: Cengage Learning.
Marsh, C. J. (2008). Studies of society and environment: exploring the teaching possibilities. (5th ed). Pearson Education Australia: Frenchs Forest, NSW.
Roblyer, M., & Doering, A. (2014). Pearson New International Edition. Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow, England: Pearson.
Taylor, T., Fahey, C., Kriewaldt, J., & Boon, D. (2012). Place and Time: Explorations in Teaching Geography and History. Frenchs Forest: Pearson