A Guide to Teaching AI Literacy in South African Classrooms

Inspired by a recent article in the Times Higher Education about AI literacy, I drafted a guide for South African teachers who may want to integrate AI literacy into their classes.

As teachers shaping the minds of the next generation, you have the critical task of preparing your learners for a future that is, as we speak, being sculpted by rapidly evolving technologies. One such game-changer is Artificial Intelligence or AI. Now, more than ever, AI is becoming a household term. But what does it mean for the classroom? What is AI literacy, and why should it matter to you and your students?

At its core, AI Literacy is the knowledge and skills needed to engage with and critically evaluate AI systems and technologies effectively. This is not just about understanding the nuts and bolts of algorithms – it’s about cultivating an awareness of how AI impacts our daily lives, the ethical considerations, and discerning the biases and risks that come with AI-generated information. 

Now, imagine the future workplace your learners will enter. The tools and technologies that will be at their disposal are the ones that are either powered by or will work alongside AI. By integrating AI literacy into the classroom, we are not just keeping education contemporary; we are empowering our learners to be informed contributors to society, practised at navigating the AI-infused landscape.

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Blue-Bots and CAPS Foundation Phase Coding and Robotics

Blue-Bots are fantastic tools for teaching young children about basic programming concepts. They are colourful, child-friendly robots that are specifically designed for use by younger learners.

Here’s an overview of the Blue-Bot’s features and functionalities:

  1. Simple Control Buttons: Blue-Bots have seven buttons on top: Forward, Backward, Turn Left, Turn Right, Go, Clear, and Pause. These controls are designed to be as straightforward and intuitive as possible, making them accessible to young children.
  2. Step-by-step Programming: Blue-Bots follow instructions in sequences, which children can program in steps. The robot moves one ‘step’ per command, with each step being about 15cm, equivalent to the Blue-Bot’s length.
  3. Memory Function: Blue-Bots can remember up to 200 commands, allowing children to experiment with longer sequences of instructions.
  4. Sound and Light Indicators: Blue-Bots make sounds and flashlights to confirm each action. This provides immediate feedback to children about what the Blue-Bot is doing.
  5. Robust Design: Blue-Bots are built to withstand the rigours of a classroom environment. They are designed to be resilient to dropping and rough handling, ensuring they can survive the enthusiastic use of younger children.

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Unlocking 21st Century Skills: The Benefits of the ‘Coding and Robotics for Foundation Phase Teachers’ Workshop

Amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where technology and digital literacy drive progress, education has never been more crucial. Educators can keep pace with this seismic shift by integrating the new CAPS subject, Coding and Robotics, into their teaching practice. This is precisely why Cambridge has developed an essential new workshop: “Coding and Robotics for Foundation Phase Teachers”.

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