Middle School Teacher and Student's Experiences with Artificial Intelligence via Computational Cameras
36 middle school teachers along with 120 students in Phoenix, Arizona and Athens, Georgia will participate in summer workshops with technology modules featuring computational cameras to learn topics in artificial intelligence and computer vision.
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology applied to images and video is transforming society with broad applications to many social and economic sectors. To develop a citizenry that will participate in this technological revolution, it is essential to develop learning experiences for K-12 learners on the foundations of AI literacy in order to adequately prepare the workforce of the future. Supporting the teaching of AI concepts in the K-12 curriculum requires integrating knowledge from multiple disciplines. This project will develop and implement technology-infused summer workshops for middle school students in grades 6-8 in the areas of computer vision and machine learning through a program called ImageSTEM. The program uses computational cameras to integrate computer science, math and design thinking in teaching visual AI concepts while also drawing inspiration from media arts to enhance science learning experiences. Learning technology modules to be developed include color and lighting for physics-based vision to understand the interface between the physical world and image sensing; image classification pipelines that teach the basics of visual feature extraction, machine learning classification, and the collection and training of data; and use of machine learning for synthetically-generated visual media. Underrepresented students, including predominantly Hispanic/Latino students from Phoenix, Arizona and African-American students from a rural area in Georgia, will gain understanding and explore future careers in AI and STEM. The ImageSTEM program will disseminate knowledge and research findings on necessary skills and factors that underlie image-based visual AI technology for future STEM workforce development in industry, education, transportation, and healthcare. This project is funded by the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program, which supports projects that build understandings of practices, program elements, contexts and processes contributing to increasing students' knowledge and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and information and communication technology (ICT) careers.
Researchers will investigate the design and deployment of computational camera technology into the science and math curriculum of grades 6-8. Project objectives include (1) conducting six workshops across the two collaborating institutions of Arizona State University and the University of Georgia, co-creating the curricular material for the workshops alongside 36 middle school teachers, (2) deploying and testing in both the on-site workshops as well as in teachers? classrooms during the academic school year, (3) gathering evidence to advance and deepen the field's understanding of students' development of computer science knowledge and practices in the areas of computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, and (4) assessing the impact of these experiences on the adoption and strengthening of STEM identities of teachers and students during the year after participation in the workshops. Research into the cognitive skills, scientific identity, and workforce development will be conducted for teachers and students participating in the ImageSTEM program using a mixed-methods approach. Affect control theory-based survey instruments, semi-structured interviews, teacher reflections, and researcher observations will be used to assess changes in STEM identities and STEM educational and career aspirations. The project outcomes include deployment of the workshop lessons into the middle school curriculum by teachers during the academic year, and contributions to teachers? knowledge of visual AI technology, and how students learn and engage in problem-solving activities through visual AI applications. The project team will disseminate learning modules based on findings in the workshops and research activities through online and multimedia formats to the broader community of schools and teachers for greater impact.