STE(A)M educational specialist, I-Innovate has brought another 21st Century learning programme to South Africa to open up opportunities in our under-served school communities for learners to develop the talents and skills that are sorely needed in the Digital Age. Grade 3 to 7 learners from RA Padayachee Primary and their teachers have stepped into the astounding world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) during an after-school STEM education programme, the AI Family Challenge.
I-Innovate has partnered with U.S. developers, Curiosity Machine to bring the AI Family Challenge to South Africa with aim of ultimately reaching 20 000 learners in disadvantaged communities around the world. Learners, teachers and family members get together to explore fascinating facets of AI technologies such as machine learning, speech recognition, prediction models, autonomous vehicles and neural networks.
The AI Family Challenge curriculum is hands-on so that vital Digital Age skills such as computational thinking, electrical engineering, mobile computing and robotics can be developed in a fun, interactive learning environment. As learners learn and apply AI concepts, they are inspired to use them to find solutions to pressing community problems when it comes to food, agriculture, health, transportation and energy. The ‘learn by doing’ approach to mastering the series of design challenges presented by I-Innovate are aimed at igniting creativity, problem-solving, collaboration and innovation. The learning experience fosters a strong and valuable sense of empowerment, confidence and inclusion in the learners.
“With these hands-on design challenges, we make complex AI concepts tangible,” says I-Innovate CEO, Trisha Crookes. “For instance, participants understand how autonomous vehicles process different signals by building a system of circuits to simulate sensors and rapid decision-making. More importantly, over the course of the challenge, participants develop a learner mindset that gives them a lifelong ability to innovate and problem-solve.”
Having previously connected Cape Town schools to the International Space Station through the ExoLab programme, I-Innovate continues to work with partners to bring global thinking and Digital Age experiential learning to South African learners. “The AI Family Challenge is another inspiring and highly relevant way of showing children in our communities that they can have a meaningful impact today and in the future,” concludes Crookes.
For further information about I-Innovate and their programmes, visit