Knowledge about Machine Learning is becoming essential, yet it remains a restricted privilege that may not be available to students from a low socio-economic status background. Thus, in order to provide equal opportunities, we taught ML concepts and applications to 158 middle and high school students from a low socio-economic background in Brazil. Results show that these students can understand how ML works and execute the main steps of a human-centered process for developing an image classification model. No substantial differences regarding class periods, educational stage, and sex assigned at birth were observed. The course was perceived as fun and motivating, especially to girls. Despite the limitations in this context, the results show that they can be overcome. Mitigating solutions involve partnerships between social institutions and university, an adapted pedagogical approach as well as increased on-by-one assistance. These findings can be used to guide course designs for teaching ML in the context of underprivileged students from a low socio-economic status background and thus contribute to the inclusion of these students.
Machine Learning (ML) is becoming increasingly present in our lives. Thus, it is important to introduce ML already in High School, enabling young people to become conscious users and creators of intelligent solutions. Yet, as typically ML is taught only in higher education, there is still a lack of knowledge on how to properly teach younger students. Therefore, in this systematic literature review, we analyze findings on teaching ML in High School with regard to content, pedagogical strategy, and technology. Results show that High School students were able to understand and apply basic ML concepts, algorithms and tasks. Pedagogical strategies focusing on active problem/project-based hands-on approaches were successful in engaging students and demonstrated positive learning effects. Visual as well as text-based programming environments supported students to build ML models in an effective way. Yet, the review also identified the need for more rigorous evaluations on how to teach ML.
Information technology (IT) is transforming the world. Therefore, exposing students to computing at an early age is important. And, although computing is being introduced into schools, students from a low socio-economic status background still do not have such an opportunity. Furthermore, existing computing programs may need to be adjusted in accordance to the specific characteristics of these students in order to help them to achieve the learning goals. Aiming at bringing computing education to all middle and high-school students, we performed a systematic literature review, in order to analyze the content, pedagogy, technology, as well as the main findings of instructional units that teach computing in this context. First results show that these students are able to learn computing, including concepts ranging from algorithms and programming languages to artificial intelligence. Difficulties are mainly linked to the lack of infrastructure and the lack of pre-existing knowledge in using IT as well as creating computing artifacts. Solutions include centralized teaching in assistive centers as well as a stronger emphasis on unplugged strategies. However, there seems to be a lack of more research on teaching computing to students from a low socio-economic status background, unlocking their potential as well to foster their participation in an increasing IT market.