EduAI Programme

EduAI

Transforming stories and books through AI 

The purpose of this project is to implement a programme in the creative use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Education for students in the age group 8 to 10 years. The following programme description sets out the scope of the project and the detailed implementation schedule of the programme.

Project objective

In line with the National Strategy and Vision for AI in Malta 2030, the main purpose of this project is to develop and promote AI in Education projects with children (8 to 10 year olds), educators and parents.  Parents are important stakeholders in the educational process. The parents/caregivers will be invited to participate so that the students can demonstrate the Artificial Intelligence (AI) skills that they have acquired through the program.

This project will demonstrate what is within the realm of possibilities using AI in Education through the direct involvement of educators, children and their parents. This will bring about a better understanding of the possible role of AI in Education.

Deliverables

I. A programme of two learning projects which promote AI in Education, like:

a. Making AI puppets as AI conversational agents, to demonstrate radio communication and machine learning,

b. A number of AI literacy related games, also through speech/voice recognition.

II. A training programme/s for tutors (animators) and teachers, which may include the following:

1) AI in our Everyday Lives

2) Introducing the AI puppets

3) AI puppet activities

i) Bringing the puppets to life -pulsating heart activity

ii) Name tag - Names of the puppets

iii) Talking to each other – radio communication

iv) Compass game

4) Machine learning

i) Rock, Paper, Scissors

ii) Speech/Voice recognition

iii) Video to show voice recognition usage in AI assistants: Siri, Cortana, Google, Alexa) Speech Recognition Vocabulary and Sentence Building Quiz

iv) Literacy activities through specific themes.

III. Delivery of a school programme in AI in Education (4 weeks). 

IV. A promotional video and a training video on AI in Education.

The project team is composed of:

i. Prof Charles L. Mifsud and Centre for Literacy of the University of Malta – Project Proponent and Consultant – has designed the AI literacy learning programme and relevant learning scenarios in conjunction with the digital education colleagues for two AI literacy projects and facilitates the training of the animators involved in the project; the project implementation and evaluation; and the educational aspect of the promotion and training videos.

ii. The National Literacy Agency is organising the programme in the participating schools, coordinate the animators and teachers’ training, and the participation of parents.  It is also providing the learning slots at different schools and facilitates the participation of the Agency animators and participating teachers and has procured the learning devices.

iii. The Malta Digital Innovation Agency (MDIA) is sponsoring the programme, developing and providing the promotional material, such as the training and promotional videos, and providing digital support.

Using an open source platform, educators, 8 to 10 years old children and their parents are participating in creative programming activities in which they learn how to build games, program AI assistants and train their own AI models. Some of the activities are mediated by embodied intelligent agents which help learners scaffold learning and collaborate better.

Conversational agents and connected toys are becoming common in homes. Increasing exposure to "intelligent" technology raises important questions about the ways that children understand it and how they could learn with and from it. Embodied intelligent agents, such as social robots, afford longer-term engagement in the home for children and their families. Through the platform, children and parents can learn to program with embodied intelligent agents which in turn become learning companions. The goal is to enable learners to interact with a social robot but also program it, train it to remember and learn things over time, and have reflective conversations with their peers prompted by it.

As part of the AI in Education projects we will be able to consider why, how and when can embodied intelligent companions support children and parents to learn via reflective teaching. In this research and development project we will address the following questions by allowing children and parents to use a visual programming interface to control and customize an embodied intelligent agent.

i. What are the new intergenerational learning pathways that such companions can facilitate? 

ii. How can these future learning companions be integrated into various learning applications and what are the generalizable design considerations?

Groups of up to fifteen (15) children (8 to 10 year olds) per class who will engage in AI mini projects involving Micro:bit devices and laptops. Both children and tutors (animators and teachers) will be engaged in reflective discussions throughout on the outcomes of the projects.  Parents will be involved accordingly.
The AI in Education programme will be part of 'The Pleasure of Reading' (Gost il-Qari) program of the NLA through a dedicated weekly session for a total of 4 weeks. It is envisaged that there will be 6 classes involved in the AI in Education project, preferably from different Colleges. About 90 students, 10 NLA animators, 6 classroom teachers, and 180 parents will be involved in the project.  In view of the prevailing circumstances, aspects of the planning, preparation, consultation, implementation and evaluation processes may be conducted in an online mode.

Phase 1

Planning phase to determine the AI in Education projects which will be implemented throughout the project. A number of learning scenarios will be created for each project. There will be a field-trial phase if conditions allow for this.

During this period:

i. the NLA will procure the micro:bit devices and laptops and provide the services of a digital educator;

ii. MDIA will provide digital and connectivity support and the digital production of the promotional and training videos.

Phase 2

Training for all the animators who will be involved in the AI in Education projects. They will be briefed and guided accordingly.

Phase 3

Two AI in Education learning projects will be implemented with up to one class per school with the following sequence.  The number of classes may be increased as required. The programme may be repeated.

i. Introduction

ii. Demonstration

iii. Practice

iv. Reflection on practice

v. Interviews with children, animators, teachers, and parents

vi. Reporting on the outcomes of the AI in Education sessions

 

Phase 4

i. Project evaluation

ii. Finalisation of promotional and training videos, preparation of which will be on an ongoing basis throughout the project.

There will be two projects within each class participating in the The Pleasure of Reading (Gost il-Qari) Project.  This will be beneficial from an educational point of view as the children will have a variety of tasks and activities.  As the children will be mixed-ability they will have the opportunity to try a range of tasks. There will be increased opportunities for the sharing of devices as not all the children may be able to bring their own tablet, albeit the one provided by the government.

Therefore, these are the envisaged project numbers:

i. 6 classes x 15 children maximum. Up to 90 children in the two AI in Education projects will benefit from this program

ii. 6 classes x 15 children maximum x 1 teacher x 1 animator per class, with a program of four sessions

iii. 10 animators will be involved.  These will be supported by the class teachers.

iv. About 180 parents will be involved in the AI in Education project.

1. Education Curricular outcome:

A programme of tried and tested AI in Education learning scenarios for specific projects which can be replicated in a number of learning contexts.

2. Research outcome:

Through the recording of observed sessions and interviews with the participants with regard to the research questions, there will be a triangulation of research data and findings.

3. Promotional/training outcome:

Through the video-recording of some of the activities, interviews with the consultant, tutors, children and parents, a visual record will be compiled for the creation of promotional and training videos, etc.


For further information please write to: charles.l.mifsud@um.edu.mt

Prof Charles L. Mifsud

October 2020

The training sessions of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Education programme EduAI were held on the:

 

9th December 2020: Continuing Professional Development session for teachers

5th January 2021: Continuing Professional Development session for teachers

16th February 2021: Continuing Professional Development session for teachers

8th April 2021: Continuing Professional Development session for teachers

23rd April 2021: EduAI Test session with children and parents

7th May 2021: EduAI Test session with children and parents.

4th June 2021 and 22nd June 2021:

  • Vocabulary Quiz on Wild Animals with AI puppets (Reading animator-child pairs);
  • Practicing directions with MicroBit-powered Robot with wheels.

3rd August 2021: EduAI Summer School at the Qawra Primary School

3rd November 2021: Continuing Professional Development session

7th January 2022: Continuing Professional Development session :

  • Reinforcement of Book Reading: The Day the Crayons Quit;
  • Related Vocabulary to Book;
  • Giving Directions through voice recognition
20th April 2022: Continuing Professional Development session:
  • Practising different literacy games based on the storybooks implemented so far:“You can't take an Elephant on the Bus” and “The Day the Crayons Quit”.
  • Speech recognition and identification of rainbow colours on cards.
  • Giving directions through the ‘microbit’ controlled robot.  Directions related vocabulary, place names and ‘treasure hunt’ activity in the make-believe towns to find relevant sites and buildings.



The innovative AI in Education programme for educators is sponsored by the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA) and is coordinated by the Centre for Literacy of the University of Malta in conjunction with the National Literacy Agency. Educators are designing AI puppets and AI language and literacy games with children and parents.



 


An AI in Education demo session involving a group of 10-year-old children and their parents was held on the 26th August 2022.

Following a group reading activity of the book: The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, the children worked on a number of related tasks on the computer involving the giving and receiving of directions using voice and flash cards recognition.

One task had the theme: Giving directions around town, and the other had the theme: Giving directions at the Safari.

Following this, the children and the parents practised the relevant language and vocabulary by controlling the motorised robots around the town and safari plans.




https://www.um.edu.mt/literacy/eduaiprogramme