With the introduction of Enriched Module on Coding Education for Upper Primary Level and Module on Artificial Intelligence for Junior Secondary Level by the Education Bureau, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will emerge as an essential subject for students in the future. However, how can educators design AI courses and activities that foster empathy and creativity to help students transform knowledge into valuable skills? The Jockey Club AI Community Innovation Programme (the Programme), organised by the MakerBay Foundation and funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, brings together participants from schools, communities, and the industry to learn, play and solve real-world problems with artificial intelligence. Since its launch in April 2022, the programme has conducted over 100 AI workshops, training over 1,000 participants in understanding and applying AI, as well as providing free learning opportunities to students from disadvantaged backgrounds and supporting them in designing AI solutions for the community.
The “Showcase Day” of the programme was successfully held on 25th February. Mr. Cyron Chan, the Programme responsible, and the Executive Director of MakerBay Foundation pointed out in his opening speech that “Though the epidemic has accelerated the pace of technological adoption and most students have a tablet at home, this does not imply that their digital skills have improved. On the contrary, we may have overlooked the importance of computer operations. Artificial Intelligence is a major trend in the future. Through systematic training, we would like to guide students to transform from mere Internet users to creators who make good use of online resources. In the long run, we hope to enhance their learning interests, enable them to put theories into practice, thereby establishing a sense of achievement and self-confidence. Today, we are delighted to see the solutions they have made using AI. Technology must be applied in practice to realise its value.”
The Jockey Club AI Community Innovation Programme includes seasonal Challenge Day that provides opportunities for participants to apply their knowledge and design AI solutions for the needy such as the elderly, and visually impaired persons, as well as to address environmental issues. The Showcase Day demonstrated a series of creative AI ideas, including mobile applications that incorporated AI motion detection, enabling seniors to exercise easily at home; mechanical guide dogs in malls that responded to verbal commands and provided voice navigation to guide users to their destination; and recycling robots with image recognition technology, that automatically identify and collect recyclable items in campus canteens and rest areas to reduce waste.
The team from Hong Kong Taoist Association Ching Chung Secondary School designed a city hunt mobile app that supported AI games, promoting the health and well-being of the public through exercise. In the sharing session, they stated, “This mobile app, used in conjunction with city hunting, includes a dashboard that displays the progress and score. Participants can also complete designated games through the image detection function of the application. We learned to handle each instruction carefully, check and test it patiently, as well as realised the importance of teamwork and listening to different opinions.” For the primary school session, programme participants designed a light detection device, which used AI to detect users entering a space (such as a restroom) and automatically turned off the lights when no one was detected. It can also adjust the light intensity according to outdoor lighting conditions.
The event also invited Mr. San Wong, a mentor of the Programme and founder of R2C2, Ms. Nicole Wong, a teacher at St. Francis Xavier’s School, Tsuen Wan, one of the collaborating schools in the Programme, as well as Mr. Michael Yung, Strategic Advisor, Google Cloud of Google (Hong Kong) Limited, to share challenges and suggestions when putting ideas into practice at the seminar, anticipating more AI solutions designed by students to be launched in the future.
The Jockey Club AI Community Innovation Programme will expand its community workshops to include web page and Python programming development in addition to the existing Foundation of AI, game design, and mobile app development. The Programme aims to cater to the needs of students at different levels by emphasizing both theoretical and practical learning, as well as discussing ethical and moral issues related to AI. Moreover, it will support teachers, social workers, and parents in nurturing students’ interests and collaborate with schools and NGOs to provide more opportunities for underprivileged students to access AI.