The Malta Independent 23 April 2024, Tuesday
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Gaming and AI are the future of education

Thursday, 11 May 2023, 12:47 Last update: about 13 months ago

AI has taken digital skills to a totally new level. The gamification of education is fast becoming a very powerful tool to engage students. eSports are being used to educate children with autism. Therefore, unless we lay the groundwork to develop talent through these new digital tools, we will fail in the race for the future.

These are some of the key messages that have emerged during "Transform-ED: Education Through Gaming and AI", a symposium organized by the European Commission Representation in Malta to discuss the future of education in Europe and how games and AI can be turned into a powerful educational tool to provide a more dynamic and engaging learning experience.

With a line-up of exceptional both local and international speakers, Transform-ED brought together educators, professional trainers, thought leaders, and various industry actors, including from leading firms such as Microsoft, Gameplan and AOZ Studio.

Addressing the opening of the symposium that kicked off the European Year of Skills, European Commissioner Helena Dalli stated that whilst digital technology makes us want to learn more, digitization is transforming how we learn, how we teach and how we work.

"This is why we should look at gaming and artificial intelligence not as potential threats but as two opportunities that can play a crucial role in a new approach to education by helping us capture the attention of students in a way that motivates them to want to learn better and more."

Commissioner Dalli explained how supporting young people to approach digital technologies in a more critical and constructive manner not only nurtures better citizens but also creates an opportunity for a stronger and more meaningful education experience that makes citizens want to learn and upskill themselves more.

"Skills are transformative and generate more work and wealth. This is why continuous skilling, today, is at the very top of the agenda at EU policy level. This is reflected in the over 170 initiatives undertaken by the EU Commission to encourage citizens to keep re-skilling themselves. As a result, almost 58% of adults across the European Union are participating in upskilling courses every year."

"However, the digital divide is still a challenge not only in terms of gender, where only 19% of those working in ICT are female but also on a wider level where only 54% of people in the EU have basic digital skills. At the same time, 90% of jobs require digital skills and two thirds of places of work are still finding it hard to find people with advanced digital skills. Our work now is to tackle these divides," added Helena Dalli as she called for education and labour market stakeholders to come together to encourage a more positive mindset for a more sustainable and inclusive Europe.

The three-day training symposium included several interactive breakout sessions that allowed participants to discover how effective games like Minecraft, integrate the educational curriculum with an element of discovery and competition to provide a more collaborative, engaging classroom experience, especially for students who might struggle to focus through traditional classroom methods.

As expected, AI technology was a key highlight of the proceedings as educational systems worldwide find themselves facing imminent disruption particularly with the advent of tools such as ChatGPT. The symposium in fact, brought to the fore several opportunities revealing how these tools can be put to good use to engage young learners around Europe.

Speakers encouraged educators to embrace AI rather than fear it and seek to grasp the prospects which it provides to them, particularly to develop personalized learning plans for individual students based on their strengths, weaknesses, and learning preferences. AI can also be used to develop assistive technologies for students with disabilities or learning differences, making education more accessible and inclusive.

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