Dr. R.O. Bott Will See You Now: Exploring AI for Wellbeing with Middle School Students


  • Randi Williams Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Sharifa Alghowinem Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Cynthia Breazeal Massachusetts Institute of Technology




Artificial Intelligence Education, Ethics, Middle School Computing Education, Social Robots, Machine Learning, Chatbots, Design Justice


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is permeating almost every area of society, reshaping how many people, including youth, navigate the world. Despite the increased presence of AI, most people lack a baseline knowledge of how AI works. Moreover, social barriers often hinder equal access to AI courses, perpetuating disparities in participation in the field. To address this, it is crucial to design AI curricula that are effective, inclusive, and relevant, especially to learners from backgrounds that are historically excluded from working in tech. In this paper, we present AI for Wellbeing, a curriculum where students explore conversational AI and the ethical considerations around using it to promote wellbeing. We specifically designed content, educator materials, and educational technologies to meet the interests and needs of students and educators from diverse backgrounds. We piloted AI for Wellbeing in a 5-day virtual workshop with middle school teachers and students. Then, using a mixed-methods approach, we analyzed students' work and teachers' feedback. Our results suggest that the curriculum content and design effectively engaged students, enabling them to implement meaningful AI projects for wellbeing. We hope that the design of this curriculum and insights from our evaluation will inspire future efforts to create culturally relevant K-12 AI curricula.




How to Cite

Williams, R., Alghowinem, S., & Breazeal, C. (2024). Dr. R.O. Bott Will See You Now: Exploring AI for Wellbeing with Middle School Students. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 38(21), 23309-23317. https://doi.org/10.1609/aaai.v38i21.30379