Connect to Learn interns develop Digital Labs AI course for kids
Artificial intelligence – AI – is something that everyone seems to be talking a lot about nowadays, but how many people actually understand how it works?
As part of our Tekniksprånget internships with Ericsson, the three of us have had the opportunity to take a deep dive into the topic of AI over the past several months, and use what we learned to develop a hands-on course that teaches kids how to create a basic AI application.
The theme of UNESCO's Mobile Learning Week 2019 was "Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Development", making it the perfect place to unveil Connect to Learn's new Digital Lab AI course. As the course developers, we were thrilled to have the chance to travel to Paris to present the course to educators, technology experts, government representatives and other stakeholders from 130 countries around the world.
What is AI and how does it work?
The primary target group for the AI course is young people between the ages of 11 and 15. The overall purpose is to answer the questions "What is AI?" and "How does it work?" as well as to spark the participants' interest in learning more about AI and other STEM-related subjects.
On top of gaining a good understanding of the real-world problems that AI can solve, course participants also learn how to create a basic AI application. The course focuses on information retrieval (IR) and natural language processing (NLP) technology – the kind that is behind conversational assistants like Siri and Alexa – to build a factoid question-answering application.
Sharing our work at Mobile Learning Week
As you can probably imagine, it was really exciting for us to share our work with so many experts at a prestigious event like Mobile Learning Week. We answered a lot of questions about the AI course and got helpful inputs and feedback from many of the people who visited our booth. During the Strategy Labs on the last day of the week we also held a workshop where we showed what an AI course session would look like.
You can check out this video for a brief demonstration of the AI course:
Part of the Connect to Learn Digital Lab series
The AI course, set to fully release later in the year, is the fourth in Connect to Learn's Digital Lab series, and like the others, it consists of five three-hour long sessions. All of the courses are designed to be run as extracurricular activities, held outside of school hours, either by schools or by other organizations. The first three courses in the series focus on: (1) robotics, (2) scratch game development and (3) small electronics (micro-controllers).
The value of internships
On top of the fantastic support and guidance we got from the whole Connect to Learn team at Ericsson during our internships, we would like to specially thank Armin Catovic, AI subject matter expert at Ericsson, for the invaluable mentoring that he provided to help us create the course.
We are also grateful to Tekniksprånget and Ericsson for providing us with the opportunity to do these internships, as well as to all the individuals at Ericsson who took the time to answer our questions and help us make progress – one step at a time – toward reaching our goal. We have learned so much and our time at Ericsson has helped all three of us to get a clearer picture of what kind of work we want to do in the future.
Learn more about Mobile Learning Week
If you're interested in learning more about what happened at UNESCO's Mobile Learning Week this year, and Ericsson's plans for the future, check out the excellent blog post by Paul Landers, Head of Strategic Partnerships for Connect to Learn at Ericsson: How we are scaling up AI skill development in young people.