The Faculty of ICT, at the University of Malta, in collaboration with the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA) has recently hosted a week-long bootcamp on: 'xPloring Intelligence - a Bootcamp on Us and Tech,' The primary focus of this bootcamp was that of nurturing creativity and demystifying Artificial Intelligence (AI). This bootcamp was open for young students between the ages of 11 and 13 and was held on campus between 11-15 September 2023.
The scope of 'xPloring Intelligence' was to introduce young students to the exciting world of AI and emerging technologies, fostering a sense of curiosity and critical thinking. Although it is known that young children are born into a world dominated by technological innovation, it doesn't necessarily mean that they understand the workings of such technologies. Driven by the understanding that today's children will be the digital leaders of tomorrow, this bootcamp aimed to provide a solid foundation.
The program featured diverse activities, from hands-on coding sessions to interactive discussions on AI touching upon philosophical concepts, ethics and application. All participants were encouraged to unleash their creativity through the development of practical projects and guided exploration.
One of the key goals was to facilitate reflection on how AI works. Participants had the opportunity to explore aspects of data collection and machine learning and with guidance from experienced educators, students tackled complex concepts with energy and enthusiasm.
The bootcamp's success lay not only in imparting technical skills but also in nurturing soft skills like teamwork and communication. Through collaborative group work, students learned the art of cooperation and problem-solving, essential traits in today's interconnected world.
The week-long journey reached its end in a ceremony where certificates of achievement were awarded to participants. The bootcamp, which has gained accreditation from the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education (DQSE), ensures that the certificate holds significance beyond the program itself, adding to the students' educational portfolio.
The bootcamp which was also part of the Faculty of ICT’s outreach program of activities was very well received by parents and students with encouraging feedback. 'xPloring Intelligence - a Bootcamp on Us and Tech' is an example of the Faculty of ICT's commitment to empowering the next generation with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in a digital age where the focus is not just on consumption but on creation.