27 April 2022
What I learnt about AI on #caschat last night
On a Tuesday evening most weeks between 8 and 9pm a group of enthusiastic educators come together to Tweet answers to questions presented by the host on a topic related to Computer Science and Computing. Last night the topic was Artificial Intelligence – something I am both curious and very nervous about. So I readied myself for an interesting (and frantic typing) hour following the discussion with the aid of Tweetdeck - and I was not disappointed. Hosted by Michael @MikeJonesCSTalk the evening went something like this...
Icebreaker: Why bother with AI in the curriculum?
It’s a big part of our present and will be an even bigger part of our future. @wnfranklin
Feel it’s important to examine how AI will feature in society. Lots of decisions to make for future generations. Vital that students see the benefit as well as potential harm, and so they can hope to influence its direction going forward @TeechGeek
I think we should teach AI in school because we want the next generation to understand ALL it's capabilities and develop it in the best ways possible. @rcoultart
So there was a definite feeling that AI is something we should be teaching in school, but the answers to Question 1: Are you teaching AI at your school? Why/why not? Do you plan on doing so in the future? showed that we aren’t all doing it yet, for various reasons. Where it is being taught it is clearly a topic that students enjoy and engage with well.
Some amazing resources were then shared as part of Question 2: What are your go to places for information on AI/curriculums you use? and this is where the tabs opened for me to explore later multiplied! Too many to add here so I’ll share them as a resource separately.
It was good to hear that the general consensus for Question 3: Does teaching AI require investment in hardware? was ‘No’, again linking to lots of the free online resources as mentioned above.
Question 4: Do you need to be an expert in AI to create an AI/teach about AI? was an interesting one for me because I’ve always maintained that you don’t need to be an expert in anything to teach it, you just need enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. And this was reflected in others’ answers too @LauraKeeney01, @sneekylinux, @clickschool, @MWimpennyS and @TeechGeek. Yet somehow I haven’t quite embraced this ideal when it comes to AI in the curriculum! Possibly because it isn’t a statutory part of what we have to deliver and is therefore easy to avoid? I certainly think it could generate some amazing discussions and ‘big questions’ that would rival anything that comes about in Religious Education lessons!
*I did have to ask one question eventually… ‘Is AI the same as Machine Learning?’ and rather than making me feel like it was a silly question (which it might have been!), some great answers came my way:
Machine Learning (ML) is just one type of approach to building models in AI. Others include Deep Learning and rules-based. @caschat_uk
Arguably, AI is what we get the kit to do. ML is the conclusions the kit comes up with once we've trained. Sorry, a really fuzzy answer. One way is to think - AI is the way I taught you ML is you being able to decide whether the object is a person or a bin bag in the wind. @MikeJonesCSTalk
Finally, we arrive at Question 5: Where have you been able to map AI into your curriculum/where would you map AI into your curriculum? Answers weren’t just limited to the Computing/Computer Science curriculums either, which was fantastic to help me consider some of those wider ramifications I was wondering about.
And to top all of this, today, Ben @BenberryPi tweets about this Future Learn course Introduction to Machine Learning and AI where I can “Discover the fundamentals of machine learning, how it works, and learn to train your own AI using free online tools.” So I’ve no excuses now for not being able to get my head around AI and how to teach it in Primary school. Thank you #caschat once again.