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Can kids love STEM the way they love Roblox? Enter Artificial Intelligence

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

Kids these days have no shortage of exciting distractions. With so many TV programs, games, videos, and chat apps available - how can we get kids to get genuinely engaged and excited about science and math?

Have you heard of Roblox?

My daughter loves Roblox so much that we have rules in our home just for how much time and money she spends on Roblox. I am amazed at the level of effort, creativity, and passion she pours into her Roblox designs. Best as I can tell - the excitement of Roblox comes from several angles

  • She can express her creativity in tangible ways

  • She can share her creativity with friends

  • There are new details and depths to explore

What else does my daughter love? - building AIs!

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is how computers learn to do things that are easy for humans - such as recognizing images, understanding speech, and so on. I started teaching my daughter AI when she was about 9 years old. She is now 12 and has built several AI projects to do things that she finds interesting - like recognizing pictures of animals and playing games.

This interest in AI is not unique to her. Through AIClub, my colleagues and I have taught AI, coding, and math to more than a thousand kids from Elementary to Middle and High School. We surveyed our AI students and found that nearly 100% of them wanted to learn more AI, nearly 100% wanted to learn more coding and nearly 50% of them wanted to learn more math!

So - what is it about AI that engages kids with STEM?

  • Using AI, kids can build real, tangible projects and see them work. For example, they can build AIs to detect their moods, recognize images like their favorite pokemon, solve science problems like diagnosing disease, or play games like TicTacToe.

  • They quickly want to build more powerful apps and have many ideas of things they want to build. They can also share the apps and games they build with their friends.

  • They are motivated to learn coding and math to bring their creativity to life. Along the way - they also learn that coding and math have real tangible benefits.

Kids have so much energy and creativity. When they can have fun and learn along the way, the result is a win for kids and families alike.

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