RA Padayachee pupils step into the world of Artificial Intelligence

Trisha Crookes introducing the pupils to a new world of learning.

Grade three to seven pupils from RA Padayachee Primary and their teachers stepped into the astounding world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) during an after-school Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education programme, the AI Family Challenge.

STE(A)M educational specialist, I-Innovate brought another 21st century learning programme to South Africa to open up opportunities to under-served school communities for pupils to develop the talents and skills needed in the digital age.

I-Innovate has partnered with U.S. developers, Curiosity Machine to bring the AI Family Challenge to South Africa with aim of ultimately reaching 20 000 pupils in disadvantaged communities around the world.

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Pupils, teachers and family members get together to explore fascinating facets of AI technologies such as machine learning, speech recognition, prediction models, autonomous vehicles and neural networks.

The curriculum is hands-on so that vital digital skills such as computational thinking, electrical engineering, mobile computing and robotics can be developed in a fun, interactive learning environment.

This fun learning process teaches the pupils essential skills and boosts their confidence in using the knowledge to improve their surroundings.

As pupils learn and apply AI concepts, they are inspired to use them to find solutions to pressing community problems when it comes to food, agriculture, health, transportation and energy.

The ‘learn by doing’ approach to mastering the series of design challenges presented by I-Innovate are aimed at igniting creativity, problem-solving, collaboration and innovation. I-Innovate CEO Trisha Crookes said the learning experience fosters a strong and valuable sense of empowerment, confidence and inclusion in the pupils.

“With these hands-on design challenges, we make complex AI concepts tangible,” said Crookes.

“For instance, participants understand how autonomous vehicles process different signals by building a system of circuits to simulate sensors and rapid decision-making. More importantly, over the course of the challenge, participants develop a pupil mindset that gives them a lifelong ability to innovate and problem-solve.”

This fun learning process teaches the pupils essential skills and boosts their confidence in using the knowledge to improve their surroundings.

Having previously connected Cape Town schools to the International Space Station through the ExoLab programme, I-Innovate continues to work with partners to bring global thinking and digital Age experiential learning to South African pupils.

“The AI Family Challenge is another inspiring and highly relevant way of showing children in our communities that they can have a meaningful impact today and in the future,” said Crookes.

For further information about I-Innovate and their programmes, visit www.i-can-innovate.com

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  AUTHOR
Elana Wagner
Journalist

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