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5 Exciting Ways We Can Encourage Kids to Learn AI


Given how deeply entrenched AI (artificial intelligence) is in our everyday lives, it’s ironic that few of us talk about it or even really understand what it is.

As the We Are Teachers website explains, though the global economic impact of AI is anticipated to approach $16 trillion by 2030, only 45% of US high schools offer computer science courses. Furthermore, many of these are not compulsory.

So, how can you take things into your own hands, and give kids a head start by encouraging them to learn more about AI?

Weave the subject of AI into routine conversations

Your own kids probably often utilize AI without even realizing it. AI decides – for example – which of their friends’ posts to show in what order on social media feeds, and how characters in computer games react to the player’s on-screen actions.

So, you could look for subtle ways to raise the subject of AI as you see any of your children using consumer technology that you know relies on it.

Teach kids how to code

This is an especially good idea if you know any kids already showing an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) subjects.

On the fast.ai website, data scientist Rachel Thomas explains: “In STEM, code is the language of creativity, and without knowing how to code, you are reliant on tools created by others.”

She particularly advocates JavaScript, as it is “interactive, visual, and the language of the web”. Hence, JavaScript is “the best language for creating things that will interest … non-coder friends.”

Bring your kids to a ‘maker space’

A ‘maker space’ is basically a space where people are already using, or can use, AI to create intriguing machinery. Thomas notes that maker spaces have been increasingly added to libraries across the United States, and can include design software, woodworking tools and more.

There might even be a Maker Faire event held periodically in your particular area – in which case, you could do a little research to see when the next local Maker Faire event is coming up.  

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Introduce your child to the Raspberry Pi

A Raspberry Pi is a pocket-sized computer visually reminiscent of a circuit board and capable of being connected to various devices and accessories. The Pi itself can be programmed to do its user’s bidding through the ports to which these add-ons are attached.

You can buy a Raspberry Pi – along with various hi-tech attachments for it – from a specialist online store such as The Pi Hut.

Show kids what other people have achieved with a Pi

“I’m here to talk to you about my game of life on a Pi – a Raspberry Pi controls an Arduino which lights up the LED Matrix,” the then-13-year-old Amy Mather said at the Raspberry Jamboree event in the UK city of Manchester in 2013, as quoted by WIRED UK.

It’s a strong testament to the Raspberry Pi’s ability to inspire young people’s interest in AI – and an incentive for you to encourage such interest in kids you know personally.