Artificial Intelligence Empowers Future Leaders

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a challenging subject to many secondary school students and even teachers. Diocesan Girls’ School got an early start on this. To arouse students’ interest in AI, examples drawn from daily life, international and local news have been used. The school has also participated in different AI schemes and courses, such as workshops organised by Google and the CUHK Jockey Club AI for the Future Project, which are divided into different levels to meet the needs of students with different backgrounds, interests and abilities. Students are expected to understand more about AI through these courses, from basic theory, experience to hands-on practice.

Cultivating Learning Interest

According to Mr Michael Nip, Computer Literacy Teacher of Diocesan Girls’ School, the AI curriculum framework includes five stages:
Awareness
Cognition
Interaction
Ability Enhancement
– Ethics
Internet tools and experiments have also been set up for students to experience. The curriculum focuses on AI ethics and future career, teaching students about the ethical principles and proper use of AI from an early stage. The AI curriculum coverage was gradually expanded to other levels. With more IT lessons added to their schedule, each student will have at least 20 sessions about AI experience to develop their interest in technology

Students used iPads and laptops to control AI mBot Robots.

As an IT teacher, Mr Nip confessed that with the pandemic and the development of AI, IT teachers have to quicken their pace in order to cope with technological advancement and changes. He believes that the current education has to be transformed with technology at a faster pace. He also emphasises the utmost importance of cultivating students’ interests in AI. ‘Students who are passionate about technology will be more engaged when learning about it. They will also try to know more when they are aware of the big trend of technological advancement and are curious about it,’ he said.

Small Steps, Big Difference

Student Learning in AI Lesson.

It is often believed that AI education requires a huge amount of resources and advanced skills. Mr Nip says: ‘Not necessarily.’ A few years ago, his school purchased a batch of ‘mBot Robot Carts’, which were then programmed and upgraded by the school staff. The carts, now AI-programmed, cost merely $800 each. With this example, Mr Nip tried to show that the most influential factor in the development of AI education was not money – it was whether teachers have the confidence to implement it. Schools intending to initiate AI education might want to start with extra-curricular activities, he said. Through relative small-scale teaching activities, teachers are more likely to build up their confidence in teaching AI. The class scale and teaching contents can then be expanded if student response is positive.