KHDA director-general says Artificial Intelligence tutors ‘will understand us’
Children interact and showcase their work to visitors at the What Works Dubai Expo 2020 event at the Emirates Aviation University on 27th November, 2017.
Dubai: In a decade, there will be Artificial Intelligence (AI) teachers in the classroom, Dubai’s education chief told the What Works conference on Monday in Dubai.
Dr Abdullah Al Karam, director-general of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), was speaking about the rise of AI in various fields, including education, during his opening address to the conference.
What Works is a KHDA event bringing together education stakeholders to share best practices and discuss trends affecting schooling.
Dr Al Karam said: “In the next 10 years, we will have AI teachers, who will understand us and cater to our individual needs, no matter how many kids we will have in the classroom — if we will still have classrooms, and if we will still have schools.”
He added that technology was changing too rapidly, while “values and ethics” related to technology were not changing fast enough. The director-general said AI will soon become “the norm in our communication, not the exception”.
Dr Al Karam added: “Having a strong sense of values and ethics will make sure that technology will remain the tools we use to serve the purpose of our lives — and not become the purpose itself. As educators, we have strengths. For most of us, that strength is not technology but it is people. Focusing on that strength means we have to rethink the purpose of education as we know it today.”
He explained that “in the very near future” the study of sciences and technology “will not be possible without knowing more about the other side” of the equation, which he called ‘CORE’ — Creativity, Originality, Responsibility and Empathy.
Espousing empathy at What Works was Shaikha Shamma Bint Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, who shared insights on the initiatives she founded for children.
CORE values, Dr Al Karam said, will be the “foundation on which our world will be built on, and the purpose of education: we will be able to send our children to this new world where we know how to live peacefully with ourselves and with each other”.
Journey to Expo 2020
The theme of the latest edition of What Works was ‘Our Journey to Expo 2020’. Dr Al Karam said that CORE, peace and happiness formed “the main message” of Expo 2020 Dubai, which will start on October 20, 2020. “We can start bringing the spirit of Expo into our schools today,” he added.
Schools have already started incorporating Expo 2020 Dubai themes into their curriculum, What Works delegates said on Monday. The themes include Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability.
The KHDA, as an Official Supporter of Expo 2020 Dubai, is one of several organisations in the UAE that are extending their support to Expo 2020 Dubai and its youth engagement initiative, called Youth Connect.
Speaking at What Works, Marjan Faraidooni, senior vice president of Legacy Development and Impact at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “It was a great opportunity for Expo’s Youth Connect team to engage with and hear directly from teachers and principals about their thoughts on Expo 2020 and how Expo can contribute to schools in the UAE and help broaden our students’ horizons.”
Alya Al Ali, director of Youth Connect, Expo 2020 Dubai, told Gulf News on the sidelines of What Works that the engagement programme has reached around 25,000 individuals — learners and educators — in all seven emirates. The initiative includes school roadshows by Youth Connect teams as well as school field trips to the Expo 2020 Dubai site.
“Whenever we talk to students about the Expo, we really see how it inspires them. You can see hope in their eyes. We also get inspired by them, which is also very important. Their questions challenge us, what they tell us is very important as well,” Al Ali said.
At What Works, primary students from Dubai British School led a workshop on integrating Expo 2020 Dubai themes into school curriculums. Simon Jodrell, head teacher at the school, said: “We’ve looked at how we can best use the cultures, the traditions, the history and geography of this fantastic country [UAE] that we live in, and how we can link that to Expo 2020 Dubai and the exciting times that are ahead for the UAE.”
Bright idea — students create solar robot
Dubai: Brothers Aadi Verma and Aarush Verma presented their mobile solar robot ‘Machine Craft’ at the What Works conference in Dubai on Monday.
The project was selected to represent GEMS Modern Academy at the conference, hosted at Emirates Aviation University. Aadi is in grade six and Aarush is in grade five.
Compared to solar panels at a fixed angle, the prototype robot tracks the sun’s movement using an ambient lights mode to maximise energy, capable of producing 40 per cent more electricity in some regions, the brothers said.
The modules are continually adjusted to the optimum angle as the sun’s trajectory moves across the sky.