I have first explored what the actual purpose behind the Grade 5 exhibition is, however, I also want to write a particular entry into my portfolio where I explore some of the main topics that have interested me; the topics that the children have chosen to explore, I mean.
One of the biggest one I was drawn to was that a particular student will be examining the concept of artificial intelligences (A.I) in education.
This topic has already been introduced to me from lecturer back at the university where they told us that, in the future, people are planning to replace many jobs with machines that have an artificial intelligence and are able to communicate independently. One of the professions could even be teaching… The child wants to examine this issue that can have drastic consequences in society. Millions would be out of a job because machines do not require breaks like humans and they are capable of being programmed to follow commands from their human overseers. However, some startling videos in recent media attention towards A.I “life-forces” have been quite scary in terms of blurring the lines between what is considered human and whats not:
However, Poth (2018) finds that the majority of these artificial intelligences will be used for supportive roles in practice, such as with administration paperwork, marking and keeping track of grades. They would not completely replace the role of the classroom teacher that needs to be human in supporting children in a classroom environment emotionally. A.Is are unable to feel emotions and understand the humanity needed to be supportive of children. However this could even eventually, through time and advancement in technology, be a simple program that needs to be implemented to robots… With emotions then, they could then claim rights just like the rest of us. Sophia, the A.I in the video, was the first ever robot to be seen as a citizen by any country and that was from Saudi Arabia. Gershgorn (2017) argues back that Sophia is merely a more sophisticated chatbot robot that has a face that has been very much sensationalised by the media… For this subject, it is really relevant for me as a future teacher and I am glad that a student is taking an interest in seeing what the future of education may look like and I hope to be of assistance when they are preparing all the aspects they need to complete
Hacking was another one that was of great relevance in today’s society and was similar in the sense that it was interconnected with the advancement in our dependence on technology in our modern world. We’re all so connected to the internet world that we really have become far more vulnerable to cybercrime and cyber attacks. A key story that always sticks with me is the cybercrime attack on the National Health Service (NHS) where the company was hit by a hacker, who supposedly did not need to create such an advanced virus to break the system, out of nowhere. This meant that peoples operations were cancelled and many issues occurred with the NHS across the UK. The student in particular wants to take their action into creating a platform where they can inform people about the dangers of hacking and how people can keep themselves protected from hackers.
A relevant theme that was featured across some of the students’ topics is the concept of warfare and conflict. Some are looking into the wars in Chad, the wars in Syria and the conflicts between North and South Korea. Now, these are much harder to analyse due to the broadness of war itself. However, what makes it far more relevant is the grouping of the children when it comes to literacy circles; the children have been assigned to particular groups depending on the themes of their topic. The children focusing on warfare then come together every week to talk about their developments in their exhibition and they can gain feedback from their peers and are able to gauge where they are at in comparison to the progress of the other students. Furthermore this also allows for them to see the types of issues that might be getting a focus from particular pupils. I know that these conflicts (particularly Syria and the Koreas) are very relevant to modern society because they are still very real and happening currently.
This, although not very in-depth research, was useful because it is in line with what the students themselves are doing. They have to go out and collect data centred around their issue in a more in-depth manner.
One really needs to get submerged into a topic wholeheartedly to truly understand it. This is where I fell the component of action really cements the exhibition process. There is one thing researching a topic but it is completely another thing to go out and try to make a change to a big issue that you are passionate about. Students are going to countries to do charity work and donate money that they have fundraised, there are students that are helping with homeless schemes in the area, there are also students that are wanting to bring awareness to a big issue that they are enthused about. It is emphasising to the pupils that they can really make a difference through doing something they are passionate about – a skill that interlinks with the learner profile that the IB wants to construct.
Personal topics such as the issue of anorexia or allergies are also going to be explored by students. Anorexia is one that is becoming ever-increasingly an issue in modern society because of our constant bombardment from social media around what we should look like or what the perfect body is. This then leads young teens and even children to feel pressured to live up to unrealistic expectations (which are most likely photoshopped and edited in the first place).
Overall, it has been quite useful to unpick some of the issues for myself, because it then allows me to see some of the issues in a more knowledgable sense. It also then allows me to see the topics and reflect on them knowing the kids that have chosen them, why have they chosen them? What has made them so passionate about this particular topic?
Gershgorn, D. (2017) Inside the Mechanical Brain of the World’s First Robot Citizen. QZ [Online] Available at: https://qz.com/1121547/how-smart-is-the-first-robot-citizen/ (Accessed: 23 April 2018).
Poth, R. (2018) Artificial Intelligence: Implications for the Future of Education. Getting Smart [Online] Available at: http://www.gettingsmart.com/2018/01/artificial-intelligence-implications-for-the-future-of-education/ (Accessed: 23 April 2018).