A promising event on early childhood education and Artificial Intelligence (AI) took place on 28 June 2023 at the Klax Berufsakademiein Berlin. The Erasmus+ funded research project "I'm not a Robot - Working with artificial intelligence in early childhood education" was reflected and concluded with a conference with around 100 participants. Participants came from Lithuania, South Tyrol, Denmark, Austria and Germany. The heterogeneous audience consisted of teachers, educators, students, game developers and other representatives of educational institutions. The one-day hybrid programme combined lectures and workshops. The toolboxes developed in the project and the corresponding e-learning platform were presented, tried out and their application discussed.
The project leader Susan Richter (Klax Berlin gGmbH) and the representatives of the project partners from Lithuania, Italy and Denmark explained their motivation to work on the project. The aim of the project was to develop pedagogical material on the topics of AI and digital media for Early Childhood Education. The project partners shared their findings on the freely available toolboxes and the associated e-learning platform.
Prof. Dr Ulrike Stadler-Altmann (Humboldt University Berlin, Germany) and Prof. Dr Lina Kaminskiene (Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania) presented the scientific findings of the project (see presentation 1 and 2): The partner countries show considerable differences in the use of AI and digital media in education. This has a measurable impact on the attitude of the educational professionals in the respective project partner countries towards this topic: What for some is a matter of course in everyday daycare is still a major challenge for others. None of the educators interviewed fear that AI will take over their work. Rather, the possibilities and potentials of AI are perceived as support for pedagogical work.
Antje Bostelmann, founder of Klax and co-initiator of this research project, emphasised the immense importance of the work of educators for a responsible digitalisation of society. This requires a profound understanding of the effects and mechanisms of digital technologies. This enables educational professionals to empower children to deal with Artificial Intelligence in a conscious and responsible manner.
"Making the importance of Early Childhood Education work visible in Europe requires the concentrated competence and clever networking of science and practice. The project and the conference lay a foundation for this important task." – Susan Richter
All information on the project, the toolboxes and project documentation can be found at www.im-not-a-robot.eu