(By Dr Chen Weiqiang and Mr Damian Boh Choon Kang)
The launch of AI Singapore’s AI for Students (AI4S)™ programme in Nov 2018 came to us at a pivotal moment, because we just took charge of two important aspects in Eunoia Junior College: the Robotics & Computing Club and the AI module within the college’s talent development programme “Programme ALTITUDE”. Coincidentally, prior to the launch of AI4S®, we also had previously explored the usage of Datacamp modules due its various attractive features for students and educators, which include:
- rich and constantly growing collection of Python programming, data science and machine learning modules, quizzes and projects;
- a comprehensive system to set assignments at varying levels (modules, chapters, exercises),
- the ability to create smaller teams for collaborative learning;
- Dashboards and leaderboards for faculty’s monitoring of students’ progress.
However, our exploration with Datacamp was limited in scale back then, as an educator account with Datacamp was only granted four accompanying student accounts. Therefore, AI4S®’s timely tie-up with Datacamp to grant Singapore students and educators free access of 6-months to its content was definitely a major motivating factor in scaling up its usage in the college.
With the support of AI4S®, in 2019, the Robotics and Computing Club have initiated three specialisation tracks namely:
- Data Science (DS)/Artificial Intelligence (AI),
- Robotics and Internet of Things (IoT),
- Mobile and Web applications development.
Using the Datacamp modules, new JC1 club members first master basic and intermediate Python programming before they choose to specialise in the DS/AI track, where they deep-dive into modules selected from the Datacamp’s maching learning skill track. Thereafter, they are expected to apply their knowledge on applied projects or competitions related to AI. They include the development of an AI and IoT crowd detector prototype and the new DJI Robomaster Youth challenge category in the Singapore National Robotics Competition, where the DJI Robomaster’s Software Development Kit allows students to write customised codes with Scratch & Python programming to perform computer vision capabilities which are not in-built.
In contrast to the Robotics and Computing Club, Programme ALTITUDE aims to develop in EJC students the capacity to consider the perspectives of the Languages, Arts and Humanities while gaining exposure to STEM fields, with a specific focus on the future impact on Singapore’s society. The need to centre STEM around the Arts, and pivot towards comprehensive Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering and Mathematics (STEAM) competencies recognises that the Arts will necessarily and increasingly be intertwined with technological progress. Students participating in the AI module of Programme ALTITUDE are also enrolled in the AI4S® programme, and apply their machine learning algorithms to analyse issues related to the Languages, Arts and Humanities. At the end of the Programme ALTITUDE, participants are to complete project deliverables and present their findings at a symposium, and the screenshot below illustrates a project deliverable based on Datacamp projects, which details how to use neural networks to identify letters in the “American Sign Language (ASL)” with Google Colaboratory.
Since the inception of AI4S® in end 2018, AI Singapore has been a very supportive partner of the AI educational programmes in Eunoia Junior College. In view of the growing importance of AI’s role in the global economy and humanity, we look forward in continuing the strong partnership and expanding collaboration opportunities in educating our youth for potential technological disruptions caused by AI in the ongoing fourth industrial revolution.
This article was written by Dr Chen Weiqiang and Mr Damian Boh Choon Kang.
Weiqiang: I am a mathematics lecturer in Eunoia JC, with former research experiences as a PhD graduate in applied Mathematics and signal processing researcher in DSO National Laboratories. In this era of growing technological disruption, I strongly advocate and support the younger generation, as well as fellow educators to embrace learning AI and applying that knowledge to contribute towards the betterment of society.
Damian: I am a physics teacher in Eunoia JC with robotics research experience in A*STAR. I am fully supportive of the AI and Maker movement in Singapore and hope to unleash our new generation’s inventive spirit and innovation, to contribute to the development of our Smart Nation.