An ‘intelligent traffic light’ system, which promises to reduce commute time, an automated walking stick for the visually impaired, and an ‘Alexa’ type machine, which acts as a counsellor robot for students, are some of the projects that the bright young minds of the city have created. These are not projects of graduation students but a sample of work that students in city schools have created through scratch programming and machine learning — a branch of artificial intelligence. While some schools in the city are already encouraging students to warm up to newer ways of technology, others will soon be joining the bandwagon by introducing AI as an elective subject.
While several schools in the city have been using AI and technology specifically for students’ projects, others have plans of incorporating AI as a new addition to the timetable. This comes after the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) recently decided to introduce artificial intelligence (AI) as a skill subject for students of classes 8, 9, and 10 — a move that is aimed at making students well-versed in newer technology.
Suncity School, Sector 54, will be putting in place a three-tier AI course for students of classes 8, 9, and 10. “We are in the process of incorporating AI in our curriculum for the upcoming academic session. Categorisation of the syllabus, and review of books for the same is currently underway. While students of class 8 will be introduced to the basic level of AI, classes 9 and 10 will be familiarized with subsequently higher levels,” said Deepa Gandhi, head, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) department, Suncity School.
Gandhi added that AI was a huge draw among students, and the school was expecting many of them to opt for it. “AI is in demand these days. Most students find it interesting. So far, students had been making projects through coding and other applications. With AI as a new subject in the timetable, they’ll be encouraged to explore the field in greater depth,” added Gandhi.
While some schools already have ICT teachers who will be teaching AI to students, other schools said that they’d be opening vacancies for specialists once the syllabus is finalised. Schools are currently in the process of the finalising the syllabus with the help of IT experts and teachers.
Students in Heritage Xperiential Learning School, Sector 62, are already using AI as part of the school’s Maker-Centered pedagogy. The school has adopted a comprehensive digital literacy curriculum, which is mapped from classes 1 to 12 on data sciences, AI and machine learning. Students from class 6 onwards are allowed to program their own AI machines. “We believe that by giving students a chance to design with AI tools, they will develop a strong understanding of how AI products such as Alexa are programmed and the process of machine learning,” said Noora Noushad, design and technology head of the school.
Using the concepts of machine learning, students of the school have developed projects such as an automated walking stick for the blind that works as a proximity detector for the visually impaired.
Shiv Nadar School has also been involving students in AI. The school introduces students to programming and machine learning from class 7 onwards. “We start focusing on technology-based learning and machine learning from class 7, and by the time the student is in a higher class, he/she is given a project to work on that will benefit society. Our students have designed an intelligent traffic light system using Machine learning, which is a branch of artificial intelligence,” said Mark Nelson, head, IT department Shiv Nadar School.
Nelson, however, added that mere introduction of AI wasn’t enough. “While the CBSE initiative is welcome, it is equally important to have a context in place. CBSE and schools need to offer a context in which AI can be used. AI can be connected to history, social science, and even biology. This understanding needs to be developed,” added Nelson.