Teaching Tech to Talk: K-12 Conversational Artificial Intelligence Literacy Curriculum and Development Tools

Authors

  • Jessica Van Brummelen Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Tommy Heng Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Viktoriya Tabunshchyk Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Keywords:

K-12 AI Education, Vikt@mit.edu, Conversational AI, AI Literacy, Block-based Programming, MIT App Inventor, Human-computer Interaction, Voice User Interface Design

Abstract

With children talking to smart-speakers, smart-phones and even smart-microwaves daily, it is increasingly important to educate students on how these agents work—from underlying mechanisms to societal implications. Researchers are developing tools and curriculum to teach K-12 students broadly about artificial intelligence (AI); however, few studies have evaluated these tools with respect to AI-specific learning outcomes, and even fewer have addressed student learning about AI-based conversational agents. We evaluated our Conversational Agent Interface for MIT App Inventor and workshop curriculum with respect to 8 AI competencies from the literature. Furthermore, we analyze teacher (n=9) and student (n=47) feedback from workshops with the interface and recommend that future work (1) leverages design considerations to optimize engagement, (2) collaborates with teachers, and (3) addresses a range of student abilities through pacing and opportunities for extension. We found evidence for student understanding of all 8 competencies, with the most difficult concepts being AI ethics and machine learning. We recommend emphasizing these topics in future curricula.

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Published

2021-05-18

How to Cite

Van Brummelen, J., Heng, T., & Tabunshchyk, V. (2021). Teaching Tech to Talk: K-12 Conversational Artificial Intelligence Literacy Curriculum and Development Tools. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 35(17), 15655-15663. Retrieved from https://ojs.aaai.org/index.php/AAAI/article/view/17844