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How schools are incorporating AI in the curriculum to make children future-ready

Apeejay schools are now teaching students about coding, data science, and various applications of AI

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To equip children for a technology-driven world, the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 stressed a revision of the standard school curriculum to incorporate subjects educating students about modern technologies. From promoting digital literacy to teaching coding and the implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI), NEP’s recommendations for technology-based learning are undoubtedly a step towards future readiness.

In tandem with the goal of empowering children with the relevant skills and toolsets, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has also introduced AI as a subject for classes IX and XI. “The aim is to demystify AI for students, equip them with the skill sets and the mindset required for AI readiness and enable them to create meaningful social impact solutions as evidence of achievement,” mentions the official circular.

Showcasing a similar zest to preparing children for an AI-driven economy, Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park, began AI classes in 2021. Manju Jayswal, the teacher who conducts these classes along with a colleague, says, “Last year, we started these sessions for class IX. This year, even class X students are learning AI as a skill subject, which is also a part of their board exam curriculum.”

Also Read: Can AI solve the world’s pressing issues?       

In the classes, students are taught various topics including technical reasoning, deep learning, machine learning, data science, and the structure of AI. Class X students are also required to do an AI project using Python. Students of classes VI, VII, and VIII, on the other hand, are introduced to AI in their GK books. “It is being taught as a unit,” Jayswal adds.

In 2019, the same year that CBSE introduced the subject, Apeejay School, Pitampura, conducted a workshop on AI and Machine Learning for students of Class XI. Students learnt about the increasing usage and importance of AI in recent times.

A glimpse of AI workshop held at Apeejay schools

The school also runs an Atal Tinkering Lab (ATL), a flagship initiative under the Atal Innovation Mission of the Government of India, to inculcate a culture of scientific research and innovation in high school students. At ATL, students from class VI-IX are encouraged to explore projects surrounding robotics, the internet of things (IoT), and more.

Sarika Minocha, a teacher at Apeejay School, Pitampura, who has been the ATL in-charge for the past four years, explains, “Until a few years back, we had a Robotics club. In 2018, it was substituted with ATL. Students use this forum to create different kinds of projects in the lab: Robotics projects, smart medicine boxes, smart boards, radio frequency identification (RFID) cards, and so on.”

During the pandemic, the school also conducted live online workshops. “Children learnt how to create circuits, develop apps, especially for games, and a little bit about electronics. We recently organised a mega tinkering event in which nearly 10,000 labs participated to mark Children’s Day,” the teacher shares.

The ATL classes resonate NEP’s emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education while inculcating newage skills, states Minocha. “We want our children to be adept at everything. At our tinkering lab, we deal with science and technology, engineering, and mathematics. Simultaneously, they are also learning life skills like teamwork, patience and persistence, and presentation skills, to name a few. I tell my students that it is their overall grooming that we are promoting through this class. And they enjoy experimenting with new techniques and methods at the lab. The tinkering lab encourages the spirit of exploration.”

In her classes, the Apeejay teacher also makes sure to incorporate AI lessons. “I have taken some classes on AI to show how it is linked to all the projects the students have worked on. We will be incorporating AI full-fledged at our lab very soon.”

In September this year, Apeejay School, Saket, conducted a workshop to introduce children to AI. Children from classes VI-VIII learnt about the advantages and various applications of AI from Abhishek Jindal, director, Inn STEM LAB.

Jayswal remarks, “AI is known to play an important role in achieving sustainable development goals. And students, who will soon join the workforce, should have the required knowledge. Through our efforts, we are trying to give practical exposure to students by making them work on interesting projects. Meanwhile, as teachers, we are also receiving technical education from industry experts at Intel and IBM in collaboration with the CBSE. I have attended many online workshops on the AI module.”

AI has penetrated education at a large scale. It has already been applied to various educational testing systems. Experts also emphasise the power of AI in driving efficiency and streamlining administrative tasks for teachers. They further argue it can facilitate personalised education whereby educators can use AI systems to help students learn at their own pace, in accordance with their grasping abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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