The ‘Learn to Machine Learn’ project is a three-year Erasmusplus strategic partnership aimed to come up with an innovative solution for the teaching and learning of crucial 21st century skills relating to digital literacy, computational thinking, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).
The University of Malta’s Institute of Digital Games is leading the project consortium, which includes leading experts and academics in artificial intelligence, education, and games from the National Technical University of Athens, Korais Educational Enterprises SA, Greece, Science Centre Malta, and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
University rector Alfred J. Vella recently launched an event at the Institute of Digital Games in Malta to disseminate findings of the project. Internationally established researchers and educators from Malta, Norway and Greece presented their work on game-based learning, computational thinking, ethics of AI, and the didactics of AI training in primary and secondary education. Guests also had the opportunity to try out the games that form the basis of the project and connect with the researchers.
In his opening address, Prof. Vella said: “It isn’t enough to simply have students learn about the functions of AI and machine learning, they also need to understand the consequences of the decisions and inherent biases of the tools that will be central to their lives and work.”
He stressed that the new generation of citizens has to develop advanced digital literacy skills, to question and critically analyse and interpret data and information, recognise misinformation spread via social media platforms, emerging cultural and social biases embedded in the architecture and design of computer systems, and the ethical and political implications.
The ultimate aim should be that today’s children and teenagers develop into responsible citizens and insightful thinkers able to navigate the complex digital space and effectively contribute to its design.
Prof. Georgios Yannakakis, director of the Institute of Digital Games, who is driving the project, said: “The project brings state-of-the-art innovation into schools, transfers the notion of AI literacy to primary and secondary education and aims to introduce students to the core principles of AI and ML through a uniquely designed game-based educational toolbox.”
Specifically, the project’s core objectives are:
to design an AI and ML framework within the primary and secondary educational context;
to implement an innovative game-based learning toolbox that realises ML training scenarios;
to produce relevant and effective training, teaching and learning material for course development based on gameful ML activities;
to educate teachers to effectively engage students;
to promote creative reflection on AI ethics, data biases and societal implications, and
to widely involve students in ML training courses that include playful game-based learning activities so that they become AI literate but, most importantly, responsible citizens of Europe with regards to the ethics and threats of AI.
The event ended with a practical hands-on ‘Focused reflective workshop for educators and learners’ that explored the educators’ and learners’ insights on the current state and practices in formal education on digital literacy skills, game-based learning, artificial intelligence and machine learning student awareness.
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