Something very special happened in the Dubai on April 25th & 26th. The world’s first ever Artificial Intelligence & Golf Tournament for students took place in the UAE—the #ParOne Invitational #STEAMathalon hosted by @myKalebr. Twenty school teams participated in this exciting two-day event, with Regent International School being the only primary school to compete against 19 other secondary schools. Students were scored on innovation, creativity, sustainability and the robot’s ability to play golf.
I am proud to say that Regent tied with Al Ittihad Private School as Grittiest Teams, winning a trophy and AED 600 Emaar vouchers.
The #STEAMathalon was all about real-world learning, “empowering and engaging students with 21st Century workplace skills, where learners discover, innovate, market and celebrate.” Students were faced with problem to solve: to train their AI golf bot to compete in a custom mini golf course. Sounds easy.
However, this was not robotics in the traditional sense of giving direct commands & pressing go, but rather this #STEAM challenge required higher level thinking skills in which students had to teach the machine to play golf, to recognize obstacles and to make a decision as to how to maneuver itself into position in order to determine how hard to hit the ball. In other words, our talented Year 6 pupils were working with Artificial Intelligence.
In addition, Regent students had roles to fulfill: Team Leader, Head of Engagement, Head of Technology, Head of Design, Head of Engineering and Head of Marketing with key responsibilities, all synergistically combining for the betterment of the team. They had to create a persona for their golfbot: CLAIR, which was named after the Irish word cláir and translates programming. The persona had to be marketed & support garnered via the online STEAMathalon platform, learning important lessons about digital footprints, social media netiquette & marketing skills.
Over 2 ½ months, our enthusiastic students were motivated to learn effectively, work in collaboration and be in friendly competition with each other, dealing with issues such as tolerance, problem solving, critical thinking & disaster management: what do you do when the robot breaks right before game time? How do we create a marketable brand? What tools can help us collaborate & break down barriers? Just some of the real-life skills learned, developed and honed.
AI is becoming more and more prevalent every day and even more so very near future, with the launch of the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence in 2017. At Regent, the evolving Computing curriculum incorporates many of these themes for students to explore.
We don’t know the jobs of the future, but we can certainly prepare tomorrow’s leaders with the skillsets, the thinking abilities, the problem-solving strategies, the collaboration & empathy skills, the technology, and most importantly—teach them about a grit—a key ingredient for anyone’s success.
We are so proud of Team Clairity. They are such role models for the younger students. The #ParOne #STEAMathalon was an experience the students, the whole school community & myself will remember for a long time.
You can find out more, watch news footage and read up on the event on here:
Mr Troy Ellison
Head of Computing & ICT
Regent International School