Artificial intelligence (AI) for kids
Nowadays, artificial intelligence (AI) has gradually yet definitely been integrated into our daily life and work, and kids learning AI has become necessary. Just recall your daily life, we talk with chatbots for customer service when we are shopping online, while computer vision helps us recognise objects, and autopilots use AI and cameras to drive the car by themselves. Even at work, AI helps write news articles, analyze sales data, and feed us with the most relevant ads. Good AI courses for our kids can make them stay ahead of not just their peers, but also the AI machine in future.
Very soon, AI will be able to take up many sophisticated jobs, such as copywriting, accounting, and even CG creations. ChatGPT of OpenAI has just achieved to pass business and law school’s exams (*)! If we are intelligent, AI is only one step behind. If we want our kids not to lose the match at the starting line, not to other kids, but to AI and robots, our kids need to master computational thinking skills and AI knowledge. This is just imminent.
So, what AI knowledge should kids learn? And what should they do to learn it effectively and efficiently? As a parent, here are 7 tips for you to bear in mind when designing an AI learning path for your kids.
1. Starting with coding skills, as preparation, early
If AI is the pinnacle of the learning pyramid, coding skills are its foundation. Mastering AI goes way beyond using professionally AI apps, such as ChatGPT or midjourney. Make sure your kids are able to create AI apps instead of just using AI apps.
To do this, coding skills are the foundational skills that your kids MUST master, and earlier better. Research also indicates that kids learning tech skills early can help them form a good “technology sense”, or a computational thinking style. With that sense, they can pick up new relevant tech skills when they reach teenage or adulthood.
However, most kids, at the age between 5 to 10 cannot type or think abstractly to code with sophisticated language-based programming languages, such as python or Java. To solve this, they can learn block-based programming skills, such as Scratch and MIT App Inventor.
The coding platform visualize the programming process and logics, allowing kids to invent their own applications with syntax blocks. That greatly relieves kids’ cognitive burden in coding learning. Also, those languages are developed for kids to learn coding with fun, such as building simple games and interesting apps. That can further develop kids’ interests in coding and pave the way for learning AI in the future. Blueinno has provided sophisticated Scratch training courses for kids taught by experienced instructors.
Kids start learning basic AI concepts with block-based programming language such as Scratch
3. Project-based learning
If you have experience of learning programming languages, actually any practical skills, you will agree that one learns best with a task. A hands-on project provides several things critical to build up the learning curve, an initial problem to solve, a goal to achieve, a motivation to work on, and much satisfaction when the mission is accomplished.
So, good AI training programs should build a problem-solving environment with different types of projects for your kids to solve in the process, in order to achieve intended learning outcomes. As a result, not only do your kids learn the programming language, you will find they also develop other crucial skills in the process, such as problem solving, building prototypes, deep interest and much satisfaction for them to move further their learning curve. See how we teach with projects.
Training kids to master AI and showcase their projects has become a necessary part of STEM education nowadays
4. Have fun with peers
Projects bring fun, so do peers! What else can be more interesting than achieving the project goals with your classmates with the same vision. Besides, communication and teamwork are extremely important to the future workplace and one’s career. Just simply you won’t expect that ChatGPT or Tesla’s autopilot is developed by a single person.
So, besides mastering necessary AI skills and knowledge, learning how to get along and work with others in groups are equally important. A peer-learning environment with minds alike, like having siblings in the family, can provide an ideal place for your kids to learn with others.
Every year, Blueinno organizes STEM project demonstration day to let students showcase and learn from each others.
Blueinno’s students learn AI in peer with fun
5. Connect to the world with creativity
If peers provide an outlet for your kids to learn and think from different angles, the whole world then is a testing field for your kids’ ideas. Afterall, we want to apply what we learn to contribute. Through bridging their ideas to practical situations through such as prototyping, kids will learn how to materialize their ideas and make them well receivable by the world for practicality, perhaps profitability as well.
Here, it would be ideal if kids learn AI coding skills and knowledge together with prototyping skills, such as design thinking, together. Design thinking can also be practiced in the hands-on projects in the course. At the end of the course, kids can showcase their tested inventions in the public or competition, further enhancing their critical thinking and creativity for future development.
Blueinno’s student showcased her coding project on the Demonstration Day, her invention has combined creativity and care for the world
6. Nurture a caring heart is equally important
We always say, technology is a double-edged sword amplifying human’s power of harnessing nature, and can result in a good or bad way. We don’t want to train our kids to be a machine only following orders, or a cold-blooded inventor without conscientiousness. To avoid this, we need to nurture kids with empathy and a caring heart along their AI skill development.
It is easier said than done, but we have to keep up with this vision. Ask your kids how the AI skills they learned can help people and nature around them. Sometimes, choosing courses with relevant elements, such as Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations or Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) concept, can also help.
The photo of kids taking STEM generated by AI software midjourney
7. Gather momentum for life-long learning
Technology changes extraordinarily fast nowadays, today’s avant-garde skills may become obsolete tomorrow. We learned DOS, Basics and Pascal perhaps 20 years ago, and now most of them have been forgotten. However, their underlying computational thinking concepts and logics remain the same, that is why python and C are not strangers to us. As a computer science professor once said to me, “Coding is only a tool, but computer science is the logic that we need to learn.”
Therefore, developing kids’ interests in tech innovation and commitment to lifelong learning is just equally important as the AI skills they learn today. Only with the momentum to update their knowledge and skills constantly, can they survive and win through decades in the future, a world of ever-changing. Those courses that can tell kids how to master the unchanged elements and develop readiness to receive and master new skills quickly worth considering.
Those 7 key points are not isolated and relevant to each other. For example, you first develop your kids with block-based programming languages, followed by more sophisticated language-based syntax. A caring heart to contribute can also be achieved by connecting what kids learned with the outside world. Hence, a well-planned learning curve with an integrative curriculum for your kids will be the best.
To achieve this, parents can consider two approaches. The first one is to capitalize on free online resources to self-tailor a curriculum for their kids.
The second one is the seek training schools, such as Blueinno, providing such integrative curriculum to your kids. Blueinno has over 50 coding and technology courses for students with ages from 5 to 18, plus other courses for adult training. They group those courses under different technology development stages, from Explorers to AI Specialists and Innovators, for your kids, and taught by dedicated and experienced instructors who have years of experience in AI and relevant industries. Blueinno’s courses also adopt a project-based learning approach with design thinking elements to develop your kids with creativity, empathy, and applicability. Check out our curriculum and courses here.
Center on the Developing Child (2007). The Science of Early Childhood Development (InBrief). Retrieved from www.developingchild.harvard.edu.
Campbell, C., & Speldewinde, C. (2022). Early Childhood STEM Education for Sustainable Development. Sustainability 2022, 14, 3524. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063524.
Catherwood, D. (1999). New Views on the Young Brain: Offerings from Developmental Psychology to Early Childhood Education. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 1(1), 23-35. https://doi.org/10.2304/ciec.2000.1.1.4.