Your Stories: Diving into the CSER AI Primary Classroom MOOC by Jenny Graham

teacher learning online with computer

Jenny Graham, a Primary Teacher from Victoria, has enthusiastically offered to share her experience of undertaking our new MOOC on "Teaching Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Primary Classroom". We saw Jenny tweeting about AI and the MOOC on Twitter and we were curious to learn about her experience diving into this exciting area of Digital Technologies. Read Jenny's story... 

Ahhh! Would have been my first reaction if I was asked to teach a lesson on AI. I would have thought robots and space exploration. However, I was lucky enough to meet Celia Coffa who is the Victorian Project Officer from CSER Adelaide on two Professional Learning occasions. The first occasion I completed the MOOCS (Massively Open Online Courses) in F-6 Digital Technologies: Foundation, which I still refer back to today. When I met with Celia in the second Professional Development she enlightened me to the fact that CSER are now running an Artificial Intelligence MOOCS. And so it began….

Machine learning! Computer vision! Edge detection! Natural language processing! Unsupervised learning! Unconscious bias! Words I had absolutely no understanding of before I began the course, but with great development from the writers, when each new word was introduced there was usually a video explanation, curriculum linked examples and further references to help my understanding of the new language. And one by one I learnt the new words and my confidence grew in explaining the new terms to my students.

I was astounded and excited at the opportunities AI presents now and in the future. My eyes had been opened and I wanted that same spark of amazement I had when completing the course to be passed on to my students (and my own children). My first tweet about the course was ‘I can envisage the future careers of my current students.’ 

Unconscious bias fascinated me. When I read about the difficulty programmers would have in understanding their own bias it made me slow down my world and think whether my thoughts/actions have bias attached. It is a great comfort to know that Australia is currently producing an Ethics Framework for AI. Unconscious bias would lead to great discussions in the classroom and links to the capabilities outcomes in the Australian Curriculum. 

The course was great, Unit 1 had inspired and excited me for the great teaching opportunities, new knowledge gained, insight into the future and fascination at the workings of technology I used daily. 

Unit 2 I needed to slow-down. I had hit my first hurdle. What I liked about this course is that it is okay to have trouble learning one of the new concepts - and I am hoping it is normal. The way the course is written it doesn’t make you feel silly if it takes you longer to understand. There is a variety of ways the concept is taught and the beauty of the course is you can return anytime to refresh your knowledge. My difficulty was in using the Cognimates website to attempt an activity they suggested. I really, really wanted to conquer it as it is a great example to show students of the Artificial Intelligence process. I completed the course knowing I was going to return to the section which explained step-by-step how to use the Cognimates website. Anyway, long story short I returned, I mastered (well mastered in my eyes) and am confident of using this in my classroom. 

Going through that process helped me understand how some students will feel when I introduce AI concepts at the beginning. The course review at the end states ‘This is not a test and it’s fine if you aren’t sure about the answer as people learn at different paces and your knowledge might still be developing’.

The feeling of wanting to help you be the best learner you can be is underlying through the course. The language and explanations used by the writers gives you confidence in your ability to learn and reassurance that it is okay if it takes longer to process new skills/concepts. 

I feel part of the CSER community by participating in this course, sharing blog posts as part of the assessment and following CSER on Twitter. I have completed a few online courses and this one certainly gives you a sense that they want to help us to ensure we are as prepared as possible to pass our knowledge on to our students. Yes, that is daunting to me but I know that the course is always here for a refresher, there are blog posts in the CSER community with ideas from everyday teachers and that Twitter seems to be a great medium to pose questions. Oh and did I mention the course is free? ☺
 

Thank you to Jenny Graham for sharing her honest story of undertaking our new MOOC. If you would like to join our MOOCs on Teaching AI in the Primary or Secondary Classroom you can find them on our MOOCs page. 

If you have a story to share, we'd love to hear from you! Email us at cser@adelaide.edu.au 

Tagged in Your Stories, AI, MOOC