Notes from the Field: Giving school students a fun AI learning experience

How to inspire interest in AI among school students? My visit yesterday to Qinxian Junior High School in Jiufen to attend the opening of an AI summer camp being held there with the support of the New Taipei City Government provided some great answers to this question.

Thanks to the outstanding work of Professor Zhang Yushan of National Taiwan Normal University and his team, students were given hands-on experience with AI by participating in a number of awesome projects combining the computer vision and machine learning capabilities of VIA Pixetto with the interactive digital smarts of Arduino.

The AI Snow White Poisoned Apple project provides an excellent example of their creative approach to teaching basic AI principles and practices. By training VIA Pixetto to differentiate between red and purple, students can save the innocent young maiden from a painful death at the hands of the wicked witch.

AI learning experience

The AI Goods Sorting Machine gives students an appreciation of the potential of color and shape recognition technologies for automating production, logistics, quality control, and other commercial and industrial processes. Agricultural applications such as picking ripe vegetables or fruit can’t be far behind.

AI learning experience

For students interested in learning how to design and build self-driving cars, a track was laid out for them to train their vehicles to load different-colored objects and follow the route prescribed for that specific color.

AI learning experience

One important advantage of Professor Zhang’s approach is that it brings AI to life in a way that is relevant to student’s lives by storifying the learning process. Another key benefit is that it gives students the chance to learn how to mix hardware, software, computer vision, and machine learning technologies into a tightly-integrated solution for a specific problem – whether it be saving Snow White from the wicked witch or boosting the efficiency of a warehouse.

This is exactly the type of holistic thinking that students will need to develop in order to deal with the challenges and complexities presented by the acceleration of AI in all aspects of our daily lives.

Written by Richard Brown, Vice-President of International Marketing at VIA.

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