Youngsters from a city primary school got to grips with IT and AI when they took part in a digital day at the University of Aberdeen recently.
More than 80 pupils from Gilcomstoun School enjoyed sessions with academic staff and students from the Schools of Social Science, Geosciences and Natural and Computing Science with a focus on exploring AI and the digital world.
The classes carried out an exercise to illustrate there are some amazing positives but also negatives of AI. The classes were tasked with being a government using the power of writing posts and hackers making alternative messages from the opposition. The exercise sought to bring the digital communications realm to life by evaluating who would get the most visibility and likes.
The School of Geosciences had the earth shaking with the class jumping to see the impact on a seismometer, testing distance and the number of people jumping for the amplitude of the jump in order to visualise the data collected.
Representatives from the School of Natural and Computing Science had pupils doing interactive tasks to understand how computers understand and use images. Post-graduate students were also involved in working with the students on computing, AI and transportation, giving them the opportunity to problem solve.
After a quick visit round campus to see the Cruickshank Botanic Gardens, the Zoology Museum, the Science Teaching Hub and the Sir Duncan Rice Library, the children were given a treat with a session delivered by the University’s Digital Services Team.
This saw them create a festive song using AI tools, which the youngsters then sang, raising the roof at the Fraser Noble building. The visit concluded with a talk from the University’s Careers Service about jobs in IT and potential jobs of the future.
Schools Engagement Officer Pam Cumming said: “Having met the classes a number of times previously in their school it was a delight to welcome everyone on campus for the digital day.
“From seeing a robot and working computers, to seeing inside labs, the museum and library, it was a great day visually as well as academically. The young people learnt so much about AI and technology I hope they found it inspiring.”
Among the many positive comments from the pupils, a couple said: "It was cool being at University. We did a task using AI to create images. We got a tour of the Zoology building and we got to touch real animals. A girl called Sam taught us about social media and we had to write a government note. It was a fun school trip."