Artificial intelligence for the common good in educational ecosystems

Human ecosystems are affected and developed by human actions. AI places new demands on all parts and partners of the education system, hence we must be aware of the influence of different parts on the system. AI can become a common good, but this first requires urgent discussion between different partners on how power, rights, responsibilities, control, regulations and resources are negotiated and agreed upon in the system. AI must not increase inequalities and narrow knowledge. To avoid this, new governance is needed at global and local policy levels, and new analysis and design of curricula are required from the perspective of lifelong learning and values. AI learning environments also elicit questions on how human learners and communities will gain learning agency when machines are also learning. This sets new challenges to pedagogy. AI can serve as a powerful tool but it should be situated in a wider educational context to aim for sustainability and inclusive human and social development. sustainability and inclusive human and social development.

Read more from Professor Hannele Niemi’s article:
Niemi, H. (2020). Artificial intelligence for the common good in educational ecosystems. Humanistic futures of learning: Perspectives from UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks (Sivut 148-152). Ediciones UNESCO.

Sino-Finnish Joint Learning Innovation Institute Conference on AI in Learning (24.-25.11. 2020)

Sino-Finnish Joint Learning Innovation Institute organised an online conference entitled AI in Learning on November 24–25, 2020 in Beijing Normal University.

Sino-Finnish Joint Learning Innovation Institute (JoLII) is coordinated by the University of Helsinki and Beijing Normal University. The institute is a network of ten Finnish universities and one company, together with seven Chinese universities, one society and two companies, which are engaged in research cooperation for future schools and high quality education.

The mission of JoLII is to get Chinese and Finnish researchers, teachers and companies to work together for high quality learning and education for all people. The shared vision of the parties is to establish the Sino-Finnish Joint Learning Innovation Institute with the purpose to co-create inclusive, student-oriented learning solutions for future in China and Finland. More information about the collaboration can be found here.

The conference included presentations also from the members of our AI in Learning project. The themes of the conference included, among others, AI in education and learning–equity and ethics as big challenges, Ethical dilemmas in AI based learning environments from the perspective of educational technology companies, and Application of Machine Learning Methods in Intelligent Tutoring Systems.




AI in Learning project in Digitori event on 23.9.

The Digitori event organised in the Faculty of Educational Sciences at UH has highlighted interesting research related to digital technologies for a few years now. The autumn’s first online Digitori event featured researchers and business representatives also from the AI ​​in Learning project to talk about the research being carried out in the project. The event was attended by more than 50 participants. During the afternoon, interesting presentations related to artificial intelligence and augmented reality were heard.

The presentations related to AI in Learning project that were heard during the event are summarized below:

  • 14.10 Student wellbeing during remote study period: First measurement model and preliminary results, Mikko Kylväjä, creative director, School Day Finland, and Xin Tang, postdoctoral researcher, University of Helsinki
  • 14.40 AI in Learning: Games and Simulations, Heli Ruokamo, professor, Media Education Hub, Faculty of Education, University of Lapland, Pekka Qvist, manager, UI and Usability Engineering, NAPCON, Neste Engineering Solutions Oy
  • 15.15 AI tutor -tutkimusta Iivari-laboratoriossa, Joakim Laine, VR-oppimisen tutkija, Kai Hakkarainen, professori, Tiina Korhonen, yliopistonlehtori, Innokas-verkoston johtaja, Helsingin yliopisto & Timo Lindqvist, Upknowledge
  • 15.45 Tekoäly ja oppiminen: Eettiset haasteet koulutuspalveluita tarjoavien yritysten näkökulmasta, Päivi Kousa, tutkijatohtori, hankkeen koordinaattori & Hannele Niemi, professori, hankkeen tieteellinen johtaja, Helsingin yliopisto

A new study about AI ethics and learning: Educational technology companies’ challenges and solutions

The aim of the study was to investigate the ethical challenges, solutions and needs faced by companies that provide AI assisted products and services for different levels of education. The companies’ challenges were related in particular to four areas: regulations, human and machine learning and society. According to the studied companies, AI regulations are difficult to understand and implement, and there are serious challenges concerning inequality, safety, trustworthiness and responsibility. When designing solutions for educational use, companies suggested that AI applications should be preventive, safe, understandable and equal. Sufficient and accessible education, global collaboration, multi-professional support and dialogue between different actors in society were also emphasised. The findings indicate that companies endeavour to develop ethically sustainable AI applications and tools for learning, but the task is extremely challenging. All in all, challenges cannot be overcome alone, but all parties in society need to work together.

Reference: Kousa, P. & Niemi, H. (2020). AI ethics and learning – educational technology companies’ challenges and solutions. Technology, Pedagogy and Education. (Submitted)