Thursday December 09, 2021

Preschool, primary students to explore AI

Published : 02 Nov 2021, 00:44

  DF Report

The AI and Children -project will primarily function as a workshop touring in preschool and primary school classes. Photo: Boggy via City of Helsinki.

A project called Tekoäly ja lapset (‘AI and Children’), headed by Professor Teemu Roos, will primarily function as a workshop touring in preschool and primary school classes next year.

The project has been awarded a grant of €80,000 by the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, said the University of Helsinki in a press release on Monday.

The fundamental goal is to inspire and motivate children, as well as teach them how to work with artificial intelligence.

In addition to the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki, participating in the project are the University’s Faculty of Educational Sciences and the University of Eastern Finland.

The initial phase of the project will run for a year, during which learning materials and models will be tested as well as partnership classes selected, in addition to which ways to increase the openness of learning will be investigated.

“We are still at the preparatory stage, but the goal is to launch the project at the turn of the year. This will provide us with a solid foundation in the form of practical experience and feedback,” Teemu Roos said.

The project as a whole will not come to an end in a year, but the first phase should provide a clear picture of how to further develop AI-related teaching targeted at children. There are already interesting partners involved, but additional parties are also being sought.

“These workshops will take place in cooperation with teachers, since preschoolers still need supervision, and they are unable to independently complete an online course or related materials,” said Project Planning Officer Sanna Reponen.

However, the goal is to consider how to activate schoolchildren in their free time too. In the project, materials that can be more freely worked on at home will be designed, as will opportunities for families to complete activities together.

“As a subject area, it is more practicable to implement artificial intelligence and machine learning in the real word compared to, say, programming. To get started, you don’t need to know the basics of information technology,” Roos said.