Two thirds of parents 'don't know what an algorithm is'
Published 02/09/2014 | 09:10
Two in three parents have admitted they do not understand what an algorithm is, ahead of the launch of the new computing curriculum in UK schools this week.
A poll of 2,000 parents by O2 has revealed that many do not feel informed or prepared for the significant changes ahead.
Two thirds said they did know about the changes to the computing curriculum and one third admitted they are worried they will not be able to adequately support their children with their computing homework.
When tested against the new computing curriculum, a quarter of parents admitted they didn’t think they could complete tasks expected of five year-olds.
The updated curriculum, now taught to children as young as five, has been designed to equip the next generation with essential skills to succeed in the digital age.
Children will start learning to write code when they enter school the age of five, and will not stop until at least 16, when they finish their GCSEs.
By the end of key stage one, students will be expected to create and debug simple programs as well as ‘use technology safely and respectfully’. They will also be taught to understand what algorithms are, and how they are implemented as programs on digital devices.
By the time they reach key stage two, pupils will be taught how to design and write programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems. They will also learn how to understand computer networks and use logical reasoning to detect and correct errors in algorithms.
Upon entering secondary school, key stage three students will be taught about Boolean logic, given an understanding of algorithms that reflects computational thinking and be taught about the different hardware and software components that make up computer systems.
Key stage four is more open, with students teachers and exam boards seemingly given more freedom on the content of the course, and teaching focused on achieving higher levels of study and a professional career.
"A new computing curriculum fit for the 21st century is a step in the right direction for young people. Young people are brilliant. They are brave, ambitious and possess native digital talent that we need to nurture," said Ronan Dunne, chief executive of O2.
"Much is already being done across the UK to nurture that talent, but a greater emphasis must be applied to the support network to allow them to put their digital expertise to practical use. Simply put, more needs to be done to help parents get to grips with the fast-changing world of digital technology."