Artificial intelligence (AI) has changed the world in recent years. It’s transformed how we work, the ways we spend our time, and how we interact with technology.
Whether it’s virtual assistants, large-language chatbots, or personalized Netflix recommendations, AI technology is everywhere. And yet, despite this, we still haven’t scratched the surface of its potential for change.
By 2030, the AI industry will be 13 times larger than today. By that time, an estimated 14% of the workforce will need to switch jobs due to automation. The transformation we’re experiencing today represents only a fraction of the impact artificial intelligence will have on future generations.
As a parent, you have an outstanding opportunity to set your child up for success in our increasingly data-focused work. By teaching AI as part of your homeschool curriculum, you’ll prepare your child for the world of the future, giving them the skills they need to navigate the complex digital world throughout their lives.
While teaching your children about AI may initially feel like a tall order, we at QuantHub are here to make things easier. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll run through everything you need to know about artificial intelligence in homeschooling, including what it is, how it works, and how you can introduce it into your curriculum.
But first, let’s start by outlining why AI is such an essential skill for children to learn.
Every Child Needs to Learn about Artificial Intelligence
In a recent report, Unicef outlined that the younger generation is the one likely to be most impacted by AI.
From the jobs they can choose to the way they interact with technology, artificial intelligence will impact every facet of our children’s lives. Teaching your children how to understand, use, and navigate the ever-evolving AI landscape is essential.
To do so, we need to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and tools to harness the benefits of this transformative technology responsibly.
When you provide your child with an understanding of artificial intelligence, you give them the power to traverse our increasingly digital world with confidence. They’ll gain an appreciation for the capabilities of machine learning, discover ways it can help them, and, crucially, learn where it falls short.
This nuanced understanding will prepare your child for the complexities of the modern day, allowing them to use artificial intelligence to their advantage, think critically about data, and make informed decisions about AI information throughout their young and adult lives.
Understanding Machine Learning and AI: Basics for Parents
Before you can effectively teach AI in a homeschool setting, it’s important to build your own understanding of some crucial concepts.
In this section, we’ll answer some key questions to help you develop your knowledge. We’ll also explain why these concepts are good to know when it comes to teaching your child about AI.
The Basics: What is AI?
In its most basic form, artificial intelligence (AI) refers to computer systems or machines that can perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as decision-making, pattern recognition, and problem-solving.
The most exciting (and scary) part of artificial intelligence is that it has the power to learn over time. We refer to this as machine learning. This means that AI can grow from its mistakes, develop better reasoning, and become more perceptive as time goes on. And it can do most of this on its own with minimal intervention from humans.
Better yet, AI can also learn by interacting with us. For example, when we talk with a chatbot, often built on large language models (LLM), the program gains experience based on the outcome of the conversation. If it provides an incorrect or unwanted response, it’ll analyze the feedback and adjust its understanding for future interactions.
The Basics: How is AI impacting our daily lives?
Artificial intelligence is intertwined into almost every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Here are just a few of the AI tools you may not even realize you encounter on a regular basis.
- GPS: When you ask a GPS for directions, AI evaluates all of the different options to provide you with the optimal route.
- Video Streaming: If you stream a program on Netflix or Amazon, AI will use this information to recommend similar shows based on your interests.
- Facial Recognition: Whenever you use facial recognition to access your phone, AI analyzes your features to determine if you’re the authorized user.
- Social Media: On social media, AI will show you personalized posts and adverts tailored to your preferences.
- Search Engines: When you type a question into a search engine like Google, AI will work in the background to understand your query and deliver relevant results.
Why is this important for homeschooling?
One of the biggest hurdles when it comes to teaching AI is explaining it in ways that are accessible to children. Understanding the basics of how it works is one thing; helping your child to understand it is quite another.
As a parent, it’s crucial to build a strong understanding of the different ways we use AI on a daily basis. Laying this foundation will make it easier for you to explain key concepts to your child in easily-relatable ways.
The Basics: What Separates AI from Human Intelligence?
Artificial intelligence works very differently to our own brains. Whereas we rely on sensory experiences and emotions to navigate the world, AI leverages enormous amounts of interconnected data and complex algorithms (rules) to recognize patterns and make decisions.
Because artificial intelligence thinks in terms of predefined algorithms, it struggles to perceive emotions as we do. It may find it hard to understand context, meaning, and nuances in communication. You can see why AI is a tool to complement our capabilities—not replace them entirely.
Why is this important for homeschooling?
If we want our children to have a healthy relationship with artificial intelligence, we must explain it in context.
Studies show that most children tend to overestimate the capabilities of AI tech because they lack a complex understanding of how it works. This leads to the idea that AI can ‘do everything’, which can encourage children to grow dependent on the technology, using it as a crutch rather than as a complement to their own ideas.
By helping our children build a realistic perspective of artificial intelligence’s capabilities and limitations, we empower them to harness the benefits of AI while being mindful of its shortcomings.
How to Learn More About AI as a Parent
Teaching your child about artificial intelligence can feel like a daunting task, especially if your own experience with AI is limited. Fortunately, there are a number of exciting courses and resources that can help you get up to speed. Here are some of our top picks:
- Google’s Generative AI Learning Path provides an in-depth overview of large language models and generative AI. The course will also provide more information about AI ethics and how to use machine learning responsibly.
- ChatGPT is a large-language model developed by OpenAI. The program allows you to engage in conversation with a highly advanced chatbot. You can ask it key questions, seek clarification, and deepen your understanding of AI concepts. This is also an excellent opportunity to try out AI for yourself and discover its strengths and weaknesses.
- Unicef provides an outstanding resource to help parents understand policies, rights, and requirements to ensure their children stay safe when using AI.
- QuantHub provides hyper-tailored, micro-learning sessions on digital literacy topics such as AI. Once you select the topics you’d like to practice, the platform will explain concepts, ask questions, and provide scenarios to help you learn the fundamentals of AI in as little as 10 minutes a day.
Teaching Your Child About AI: Step-by-Step
Now that your own knowledge is up to speed, let’s explore the different ways you can introduce your child to AI. In this section, we’ll walk you through how to get started.
1) Start with An Introductory Explanation
Before you provide your child with different tools, guides, and resources, we recommend starting with a simple introduction.
At this stage, it’s important to explain what artificial intelligence is in relatable terms by using a real-life example. You should also explain how AI can benefit us and what its limitations are.
To give you some ideas, here’s an example of a kid-friendly introduction to AI. Feel free to adapt this explanation to suit your child’s age and experience:
Introducing AI in a Homeschool Setting: Example
Artificial intelligence is like giving a computer the ability to learn and solve problems on its own. Remember when you first learned to tie your shoes, and now you can do it without thinking about it too much? AI is a bit like that, but for machines. It helps computers get better at doing tasks that we’d normally need our own brains to do, like solving math problems, finding patterns, and making important decisions.
AI is like having a really smart companion that can process a lot of information very quickly to help us with all sorts of challenges. But we shouldn’t consider it a friend. AI is a machine, not a human. It can’t understand feelings like we do, and sometimes it struggles to understand us. That means it isn’t always reliable, and we should only use it to help us with certain things, like solving complex problems and sorting through a lot of information.
2) Make it Relatable with Real Examples
Earlier we discussed the different ways AI impacts our daily lives. It’s time to put this knowledge to use.
When you explain the concept of AI to your child for the first time, it can be helpful to make the idea more accessible by relating it to the real-world.
For example, if your child uses YouTube or Netflix, show them how the platform recommends things they might enjoy based on the things they’ve watched in the past. You can explain that AI achieves this by gathering information and using it to make decisions.
Similarly, if you own a virtual assistant, collaborate with your child to ask the device some questions. You can explain how AI is the technology behind the virtual assistant’s ability to understand and respond. This is also an excellent opportunity to talk about machine learning as virtual assistants grow from experience to better understand your voice over time.
By helping your child make these real-world connections, you turn AI from a mystical topic into a familiar and fascinating part of their everyday life.
3) Leverage Beginner AI Tools to Build your Child’s Understanding
Once your child gains a basic understanding of AI and what it can do, they’ll likely want to explore the topic further and see the technology in action. Below, we’ve listed a series of age-appropriate introductory tools to help you and your child get started.
- Quick, Draw (All ages) challenges children to draw simple shapes and objects. Google’s AI model will then attempt to guess the drawing. This is an excellent, fun introduction to the ways in which AI can detect and predict images.
- StorySpark (All ages) uses AI to create personalized, child-friendly stories based on your prompts. Encourage your child to think of key details like characters, settings, and actions. Then, help them input their ideas and watch together as the AI crafts a beautiful bedtime story. This platform is a great opportunity to explain how AI can complement our own ideas and creativity.
- YouTube contains dozens of incredible, free resources to help your child learn the fundamentals of AI. Simply typing in ‘AI explained for kids’ is an excellent way to find engaging videos on a wide variety of topics.
- Once Upon Online (Age 5+) provides interactive stories about digital literacy and online safety. While these videos aren’t specifically tailored to AI, your child will learn a lot about staying safe when using online tools, such as chatbots.
- ChatGPT (Age 13+) is arguably the most advanced publicly available AI program in the world right now. It can hold human-like conversations, answer questions, and assist with tasks such as writing, coding, or calculations. It’s an incredible tool, and there are few better platforms if you want to teach your child the power of AI. The program is safe, and the chatbot won’t discuss inappropriate or sensitive content. That said, we encourage you to monitor and guide your child’s interactions to ensure they have a positive and educational experience.
4) Provide a deeper understanding with a comprehensive course
Once your child has a taste for AI, you can begin to introduce more complex topics through lessons and courses. Here are some of our top picks.
- Create and Learn (Age 5+) offers a wide range of free online classes for children of all ages to learn the basics of artificial intelligence, data literacy, and coding. In particular, the AI Explorers Introduction event runs several times each month and teaches all the basics of AI.
- Machine Learning for Kids (Age 11+) will immerse your child in the world of machine learning through hands-on coding projects and simple artificial intelligence models. They’ll learn how to build their own models and build a range of different skills that will deepen their understanding.
- Code.org (Age 11+) offers a number of AI lesson plans and modules that teach young people about AI. While the platform is primarily made with school educators in mind, many of the lessons are just as helpful for homeschoolers. Each of the offerings is classified based on the recommended age range, so it’s easy to find a suitable topic. These modules are excellent for any child who wants to build a more complex understanding of how AI works.
- Stempedia (Age 11+) offers structured AI courses with engaging materials and real-world examples to teach children the basics of AI. They’ll learn important concepts like optical character recognition and computer vision. They’ll even have the chance to write code to make their own projects.
- QuantHub (Ages 11+) leverages artificial intelligence to teach AI, data, and digital literacy concepts in as little as 10 minutes a day. It’s the perfect complement to any AI education and will adapt its questions to match your child’s skill level.
5) Encourage wider reading
Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic, and there are hundreds of educational books on the subject tailored to children of all ages. Here are some of our favorites.
- AIClub (Ages 4-10) offers seven kid-friendly texts that explore different aspects of AI in daily life. These short books cover everything from self-driving cars to digital assistants and smartphones. They’re an excellent resource to help your child think about AI in context.
- Artificial Intelligence & Me: The 5 Big Ideas That Every Kid Should Know (Ages 5-12 is a unique, accessible book explaining the basics of machine learning. It utilizes simple diagrams, pictures and real-world examples to make complex terms easily understandable.
- Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (Ages 13+) is an outstanding introductory book for older children and parents who would rather learn through reading than online courses. It covers all of the fundamentals and key concepts in an accessible way.
- Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (Ages 15+) is a streamlined, accessible introduction to the world of AI ethics. It discusses more profound questions, such as whether AI will change what it means to be human. As such, the book is better suited to older children with a basic understanding of AI.
Teaching Your Child About AI: Advanced Learning and Next Steps
As your child grows older and develops a more nuanced understanding of artificial intelligence, you can encourage them to think about AI in a broader context and consider how it will apply to their future. This will empower them to explore the realm of artificial intelligence confidently and responsibly.
In this section, we’re highlighting two key topics to consider as your child becomes more proficient with artificial intelligence.
Once your child has a comprehensive understanding of machine learning, you can encourage them to explore its capabilities themselves. But, as always, it’s vital to equip them with the tools to do this responsibly.
It’s crucial to reinforce the importance of ethics as your child explores the realm of AI. Take the time to discuss reliability, accuracy, and credibility. It’s also important to reflect on the biases that large language models often possess and how this can impact our own lives.
Similarly, remind your child artificial intelligence is a tool to support their own creativity, not replace it. Our brains are far more intuitive than large-language models will ever be, and it’s essential that we use AI not as a crutch but as a companion.
If you’d like to find out more about this topic, Cornell University provides a thorough insight into this topic both for parents and older children.
Career Opportunities within AI
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are an incredible pathway into a number of career opportunities, from the robotics industry to data science and beyond. As the industry continues to grow, the demand for these jobs will only increase.
If your child is interested in AI, consider introducing them to relevant career paths and exploring hands-on projects that align with their interests.
By working with your child to nurture their passion for artificial intelligence, you’re not just preparing them for the future—you’re opening doors to exciting and innovative career paths that will define the landscape of tomorrow.
QuantHub: Powering the Future of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence can be a challenging topic, both for parents and children. But it’s also incredibly rewarding, and an increasingly essential skill if we hope to navigate the world of tomorrow.
As a homeschooling parent, you have the potential to offer your child one of the most important skills any human can possess.
To provide your child with a fundamental understanding of AI is to offer them a key that unlocks countless possibilities. You’ll equip them with the tools they need to ask questions about data, utilize AI to their advantage, and thrive in a complex world that is increasingly shaped by technology.
If you’re looking to incorporate artificial intelligence into your homeschool curriculum, QuantHub is here to help. Our solution leverages machine learning technology to help parents teach their children key AI skills in a short space of time.
Our platform is more than just an AI tool. With over 500 skills and 40,000 curated learning resources, we have everything you need to help your child explore the world of AI with confidence.
To learn more about integrating data literacy into your lessons—or find out how our revolutionary program can help you understand and teach data literacy—schedule an appointment with our expert team today.