The past three to four years, I have focussed my IT teaching in Kinder – Year 2, having been captivated by their openness, cognitively, and impressed with their abilities to understand complex concepts so readily.

One recent unit of work with my Year 1 IT class, has focussed on the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI), particularly robotics.

Our school has a Nao robot, “Richie”, and he has been a regular in our IT lessons.

The students find having what they consider to be a “real life” robot in their classroom engaging, and their application in our lessons is nothing short of perfect!

They have been on a dynamic learning journey as they have come to understand that Richie is not a “real” person or a “real” robot.

We have spent many lessons comparing the things we as humans can do, with the way that Richie does them.

We have observed that Richie can’t do everything that we humans can and researched with justifications, why.

We have investigated the physiology of Richie’s body and marvelled at the differences and similarities we have found.

When it came to comparing “brains” the students were easily able to distinguish between algorithms we made and represented in code blocks that made Richie work and something quite different that happens in our brains.

Our imaginings on how an idea formulates or why sometimes you just know things, like having ESP, had the class stumped in silence more than once!

The silence at these times was joyful as I could almost hear the deep and purposeful cogs turning… Those lovely learning tangents had us touch on ethical issues in the area of AI and how this might affect the future in terms of jobs, inequalities and legal rights of robots, risks to humans and the replacement of humans.

Reflecting on the term’s work, I am inspired by the astuteness and amazing insight of the Year 1s, as they created and deepened their knowledge and made lasting connections to its use in real life. Year 1s Intelligence clearly ahead!