Enabling children to build AI programmes
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
By Ken Kahn
From 2016 to 2018 Niall Winters and Ken Kahn participated in the European eCraft2Learn project whose aim was to apply elements of the Maker Movement to STEAM education. The main task we had was to create resources to enable students (13 to 17 years old) to incorporate AI into their projects. We have continued to work on the programming components, guides, and sample projects since then. Most recently, two teams in India have each decided to build ambitious sequence of lessons and activities using our AI programming learning resources. They both have plans to beta test these resources with thousands of students. One of the Indian teams is also developing a very inexpensive, yet capable, educational robot. We are collaborating with them to adapt our software to interface with the robot. The team in Chennai was sufficiently interested in our efforts to fly Ken Kahn there for a short visit in February (when India had reported only 3 Covid-19 cases).
All the software we have produced has an open source license and the learning materials have Creative Commons licenses. Consequently, we only learn of schools or projects building on our work if they contact us. While we are unaware of any users in the UK (but in June we plan to introduce our materials as part of the Go Girl project), we are aware of users in Greece, Singapore, Indonesia, China, Spain, Germany, Finland, and Cuba. The Chinese team (led by Jingjing Zhang who received her doctorate from our department) launched a project and began gathering data from trials when the coronavirus put everything on hold.
More information about our efforts to enable school children to do AI programming at https://ecraft2learn.github.io/ai/