Artificial Intelligence (AI) learning via school textbooks? Kerala makes it happen

The release said KITE commenced the AI training for 80,000 secondary school teachers from May 2 onwards and so far 20,120 teachers completed the training
AI is happening in Kerala
AI is happening in Kerala (Pic: EdexLive Desk)

In a significant stride towards modernising education, Kerala has embarked on a pioneering initiative by integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into its school textbooks.

The state has unveiled plans to introduce AI learning modules within the Information & Communication Technology (ICT) curriculum for Class VII students.

This move is poised to impact over four lakh students across Kerala, who will now have the opportunity to delve into the realm of AI in the upcoming academic year, according to a release issued by the Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) here on Wednesday.

KITE CEO Anvar Sadath said one of the activities in the 'Computer Vision' chapter will involve students creating their own AI programme that can recognise human facial expressions.

"This programme will be able to identify up to seven different emotions on a person's face. It is the first time in India that all students in a class are getting an opportunity to learn AI uniformly," he said.

The new academic year which kick starts on June 3, 2024 will see new ICT textbooks for Classes I, III, V, and VII in Malayalam, English, Tamil, and Kannada mediums.

The curriculum framework emphasises the development of children's critical thinking, analytical skills, and problem-solving abilities, which are essential for their holistic development.

In this context, special emphasis has been placed on the development of logical thinking and programming skills in the ICT textbooks for the primary level, Sadath said.

The 'PictoBlox' package, along with 'Scratch' software that teaches visual programming, is introduced in the textbooks to enable students to practice programming, AI, robotics, and so on.

KITE, the technology arm of Department of General Education, will make available all the essential software for this in the laptops deployed in schools.

He said the new ICT textbooks for Classes I and III include FOSS (Free and Open-Source Software) based educational applications such as GCompris, eduActiv8, OmniTux, and TuxPaint which cover drawing, reading, language learning, numeracy, operations, and rhythm.

In addition to these, applications developed by KITE such as Traffic Signal through which children learn about traffic rules, and Waste Challenge which teaches waste disposal through gaming mode are also included in the ICT textbook.

Further, Language labs are also featured in the new textbooks.

"The new ICT textbooks present practical ICT activities that nurture life skills while also helping in the study of other subjects and providing guidance on cyber safety and fake news identification," said Sadath, who is the Chairman of ICT Textbook Committee.

The release said KITE commenced the AI training for 80,000 secondary school teachers from May 2 onwards and so far 20,120 teachers completed the training, stated the PTI report.

General Education Minister V Sivankutty has already issued instructions to provide training to all primary school teachers on the new ICT textbooks from June onwards.

New ICT textbooks will be introduced for Classes II, IV, VI, VIII, IX, and X next academic year, it added.

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