Creating audiovisuals with AI: interview with education expert

In December 2023, Domus, one of the three science centres being part of Museos Científicos Coruñeses (MC2), organised a co-creation workshop to discuss potential piloting ideas for STE(A)M Learning Ecologies to implement in Spain.

The outcomes of the workshop resulted in a plan to create a learning pathway to help students become more familiar with AI-powered tools. Specifically, pupils will be involved in the creation of audiovisuals with the help of AI (from the draft of the script, to the selection of music and animation).

We now explore the innovative piloting idea thanks to the contribution of Mr the head of the STEM Department at the Center for Educational and Digital Innovation (CIEDix). CIEDix will support the pilot activities in 2024.

Can you “paint a picture” of the context in which your STE(A)M Learning Ecology will operate? Describe the local setting, including any noteworthy elements relating to stakeholders involved (science centres, science-related programmes, industry, local actors, researchers, experts, etc.) or nature that can be complemented for a better educational experience.

One of my functions as head of STEM at the Center for Educational and Digital Innovation (CIEDix, for its acronym in Galician) is to help teachers to improve the experience of students in this type of subjects. One of the easiest ways for pupils to learn about the usefulness of the subjects they study is through contact with actors in their immediate environment.

In this particular case, the interactive museum Domus has been in charge of contacting companies in the audiovisual world and Artificial Intelligence AI, a University with experience in designing activities for teenagers in the field of AI, and our center that has been responsible for developing the curriculum of the two AI subjects that have been implemented in Galicia (a work performed together with other actors, including members of the team of the University of A Coruña). The pilot SLE will be complemented by students of STEM clubs associated with secondary schools, and representatives of civil society such as the youth association XenTD100cia, responsible for bringing science to rural areas.

How did your participation begin in the context of STE(A)M Learning Ecologies? How will the collaboration with other stakeholders be for your SLE pilot?

I have been a teacher of STEM subjects in a secondary school for 25 years – until January 2023. Throughout that time, I have participated in projects at regional and European level with the interactive museum Domus. Now, even though Domus has changed its work scenario, I have considered a collaboration in a different field.

This year, as a member of CIEDix, I have collaborated with researchers from the University of A Coruña (in the field of AI and education) and members of Mundos Digitales – associated with the audiovisual sector. We also maintain close contact with STEM teachers through working groups for the development of resources that can be replicated in other schools. Therefore, collaboration with the other stakeholders has been easy, as we had previously established direct, one-on-one partnerships. I trust that we will collaborate smoothly also in the context of the STE(A)M Learning Ecologies.

In light of your experience, have you discovered or implemented new and effective teaching methods, activities, approaches, etc.? Can you offer a practical teaching tips that you found particularly productive and applicable to science education? How has this impacted your approach to teaching?

Once the teacher decides to contact the closest actors to invite them to enter the classroom, students and teachers are aware of the skills needed to manage in society. Therefore, much of the learning methodology changes and adapts. The content is identical, but the methods are different. Hence, we need a teacher capable of adapting, accompanying, and helping with the solution of problems, without solving them.

The most interesting effect has been the creation of several engaging products: a citizen science mobile application, a workshop bringing science closer to children, a musical performance with programmed lights, and even the creation of a science fair in the village.

Obtaining a final product that students can show to their environment allows them to learn by doing: learning science and technology by doing science and technology. 

In this Ecology, the objective will be to create, with a new and unknown tool, a joint product that the student can show. This product will be impactul and significant, at least for their environment, and can be replicated in formal and non-formal education centres.

Looking ahead, how do you envision the future of STEM/STE(A)M education based on your experience with Learning Ecologies? What changes or advancements do you anticipate in the way STE(A)M subjects are taught, and what role do you see for initiatives like STEAM Learning Ecologies in shaping the future of science education?

Over the years, STEM subjects used to be taught independently. More recently, we have found out that these subjects become much more valuable if we allow the interaction between them. We can say that 1+1 is more than 2; when we combine the teaching of two subjects, learning outcomes are greater than that of two subjects. If we combine four or five STEM subjects, the learning is exponential! When we introduce A for Arts, the interest of the subjects increases because there is a high number of students who approach STEM subjects through the arts and learn more about the STEM sector as a tool for their goals. 

When classroom activities arise outside the school environment and have a subsequent projection outside the classroom in form of various activities, we provide a lot of added value for several actors: we enrich the students because they feel part of a society; we enrich the teachers because they can learn first-hand about new initiatives and needs that are being developed just a few steps away from the school; and we enrich society itself, showing that school teaches with new methods so that future citizens can acquire their skills by practising them in real-world scenarios.

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