Co-learning spaces and emerging technologies experience centres:
In earlier blogs, I have described some aspects of how Artificial Intelligence will change the models of education, as we know them. Two elements of it are the AI-fluent SmartEducator and the AI powered autonomous learner.
While it is true that a lot of the teaching, learning, coaching and mentoring can be done remotely and on mobile devices, there is also significant value in meeting in person at defined spaces….. that are not designed as traditional classrooms or laboratories.
I have named them “ co-learning spaces and emerging technologies experience centre”. These spaces will help create a holistic learning disposition as different from the narrow academic discipline and certification approach of traditional institutions.
What is it ?
It is a dedicated physical space where a number of co-explorers who are eager to be well prepared for the 21st century can find others members with similar interests and it becomes a co-learning space for the AI and emerging technologies learning community.
The co-learning space would be accessible at designated times for the learners to engage with an interact with the learning resources and the human resources (co-learners) available there. There would be a facilitator managing the space. This would preferably be a woman entrepreneur who receives an initial training and continued technology enabled support following the model suggested by Sir John Daniel several decades ago for scaling teacher training.
The Co-learning space and Emerging Technologies Experience Centre should have an ambience that is conducive to creating an interest in learning by doing.
The atmosphere and infrastructure:
Should be conducive to foster learning adventures. There would be a set of books ( some with multiple copies that can be borrowed for a limited time), electronic resources and projection facilities for group viewing of videos, PowerPoint presentations and interactive discussions.
Learning has various aspects covering self-study, peer learning and learning from mentors. Hence these learning centers offer spaces for every aspect of learning i.e.
1. Self Study Area/ zone : This is a conducive environment where silence is maintained providing a table, chairs, power sockets, and internet connectivity. Learner can use their books/laptop to study
2. Peer Discussion Area/ zone: This offer sitting capability accompanied by a cafe facility. This can be thought of as a meeting/conference room in a coworking space.
3. Mentor Access/ zone : This space may offer some spaces for learning looking to talk to mentors or attend some classes and workshops
There would be adequate tables, chairs and other furniture, air-conditioned environment, wifi, tea/coffee, pantry and some additional space to have lunch etc. Needless to mention adequate toilets.
Pictures of leaders and their quotes:
Pictures ( portraits )of leaders, their brief bios and their quotes:
- Luminaries and heroes of AI: https://www.ailuminaries.com
- A list of 20 women who are making an impact on AI:
Alan Turing; Herbert Simon ; Marvin Minsky ; Edward Fiegenbaum; Andrew Ng
Ian Goodfellow ; Geoffrey Hinton; Joshua Bengio; Yann LeCun ; Tim Berners Lee
10 Women Leaders in AI, Machine Learning and Robotics:
Rana el Kaliouby ; Fei-Fei Li; Cynthia Breazeal; Tessa Lau
Timnit Gebru; Devi Parikh; Daphne Koller; Neha Narkhede
Manuela Maria Veloso ; Caitlin Smallwood
The infrastructure :
I am suggesting the smallest unit as a place that can accommodate 30 students simultaneously. Students will learn better if 2 students share an equipment. So there will be 15 workstations. Of these 3 could be PCs with appropriate software loaded. There would be 3 sets of Raspberry Pis configured for AI projects and 6 Alexa Echos with 3 of them being without a screen and 3 with screens ( Echo Show). And 3 Amazon DeepLens.
Then wi-Fi with subscriptions to some cloud services…. Then some posters and pictures to create an atmosphere. I have specially worked on finding accomplished women AI scientists to act as inspirational role models for girls …. then a list of books to be bought…this will give a broad idea.
There may be 15 workstations, which could be configured as follows:
1: The IndiPi systems : 3 numbers
2: Alexa, echo and Alexa show : 3 numbers
3: Windows PC/ Macs : 3 numbers
4: Intel Mobidius CNN stick : 3 numbers
5: Amazon DeepLens : 3 numbers
A reasonable model can be one where 30 learners can be actively involved simultaneously. Apart from the furniture and allied equipment like TV/screen and projection system, and some media players and printers, there have to be special equipment at the centre.
Learners are best served in pairs, and occasionally larger numbers for specific projects.
There has to be good wi-Fi to support all present, and facilities for participating in remotely held webinars.
Furniture , A/C, power (UPS) infrastructure… according need…
To begin with there will be the following types of projects giving a feel and experience of a range of emerging technologies.
1: Experiencing Siri :
2: The Alexa experience :
2.1: Exploring existing Alexa Skills
2.2: Creating New Alexa Skills
3: The Raspberry Pi experience :
4: The IBM Watson services:
5: The AI Hub from Google :
5.1: Learn how to find and use assets on the AI Hub.
5.2: Discover how to share assets within your organization on AI Hub.
6: 3 D Printing
7: Internet of Things
8: Augmented Reality
9: Virtual Reality
10: Brain-Computer Interfaces
More projects will be continually added.
There is a recent news item announcing a modestly priced AI learning kit from an IIT Delhi start-up. https://m.economictimes.com/small-biz/startups/newsbuzz/iit-delhi-startup-launches-diy-artificial-intelligence-kits-for-school-students/articleshow/73665611.cms
Other activities : Peer and social learning at the co-learning space:
Seminars and lectures :
Scheduled as well as occasional seminars as well as lectures.
These co-learning spaces can be very useful for groups that are pursuing MOOCs from Coursera, edX, Futurelearn and our own SWAYAM.
They can also be meeting points for any webinar or online courses offered by individuals or smaller organisations.
More specifically , I offer a suite of courses that learners can access through their mobiles and WhatsApp. Such learning spaces can be physical places for interaction of learners amongst themselves.
They are a great opportunity for lifelong learners. I hope that during this year 2020, we may see the creation of several such spaces fostering the development of lifelong learning communities.