This module aims to develop upper secondary school students’ future-thinking skills, imagination and agency on societal issues in the context of artificial intelligence (AI).
The topic of this module has been chosen for its increasing impact on society, for the epistemological change that AI underwent through its development over the 19th century up to the ‘Big Data’ sciences, and for its relevance for future-oriented activities.
The module is articulated in three main phases. In the first, students are introduced to the contexts of application of the AI now, in the present, through a lecture and a group activity. In the second phase, through experts’ lectures and interactive activities, students are guided to compare three different approaches to AI: the two symbolic approaches (imperative or logic programming) and the sub- symbolic (neural networks). In the third phase, future-oriented activities are proposed, with the aim of turning the addressed STEM concepts into future-scaffolding skills: the students are required to project themselves into a desirable future in 2040, to identify, in this scenario, a problem solved through AI and to propose an action that, in 2018, contributed to address it.
The module has been implemented and tested in four contexts (110 students in total): in January- February 2018, at the ‘Liceo Einstein’ in Rimini and at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Bologna (about 20 hours for each implementation); during a summer school for 40 students at the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Bologna, on June 13th-19th 2018 (36 hours); in October-November 2018, at the ‘Liceo Einstein’ in Rimini. The materials here reported are the result of a multiphase process of refinement.