News  |    |  December 30, 2019

Bringing artificial intelligence and MIT to middle school classrooms

News article by Stefanie Koperniak.
Published in MIT News.

Excerpt:

In the age of Alexa, YouTube recommendations, and Spotify playlists, artificial intelligence has become a way of life, improving marketing and advertising, e-commerce, and more. But what are the ethical implications of technology that collects and learns personal information? How should society navigate these issues and shape the future?

A new curriculum designed for middle school students aims to help them understand just that at an early age, as they grow up surrounded by the technology. The open-source educational material, designed by an MIT team and piloted at this year’s Massachusetts STEM Week this past fall, teaches students how AI systems are designed, how they can be used to influence the public — and also how to use them to be successful in jobs of the future.

During Mass STEM Week in October 2019, middle schools across the commonwealth replaced their regular curriculum with an immersive week of hands-on learning led by a team including Cynthia Breazeal, associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT; Randi Williams ’18, graduate research assistant in the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab; and the nonprofit organization i2 Learning. [ . . . ]