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Scholars at Benjamin Turner Middle School take artificial intelligence course

Scholars at Benjamin Turner Middle School take artificial intelligence course

Several scholars at Benjamin Turner Middle School are learning the basics of artificial intelligence (AI) after school. Iona University brought its Engineering and Technology Express Program to BTMS to provide lessons in artificial intelligence to students that excel in math and science. Seventh and eighth-grade students who have a B average or higher in math or science are eligible for the program, which runs until March. 

The Engineering and Technology Express Program, one of three programs in the Iona University Science and Technology Entry Program, offers a multi-session course in AI. The program started at BTMS in the fall of 2022, where students are learning core AI concepts. Students gather in the computer lab for a digital lesson run by a professor from Iona University.  

Students taking AI class

“When I grow up, I want to have a job that’s related to technology, and I feel like this course can really take me that extra step so I can be one step closer to my goal,” said Frank Fabian, a seventh-grade student at BTMS. “It’s honestly just a great course. I’m really happy that I get to do these things with the people from Iona. It makes me feel really special to be here right now.” 

Students learn how to train and improve AI, measure AI, and tune its performance. Finally, they compare the differences between AI and robotics.   

“It’s fun, and it’s educational,” said Ja’mere Brown, an eighth-grade student at BTMS. “I like learning and expanding my knowledge on certain things. I didn’t really understand coding, so I decided I would go to understand more about it.” 

The program was designed by scientists at AIClub, a group of AI and software experts. Students work on training their AI throughout the course, and their instruction follows 4 C’s: core AI concepts, real-world context, hands-on capability, and creativity. The course covers AI classification, lifecycle, regression, Python,  and AI ethics with real-world exploration and hands-on activities.  The program culminates with students’ presentations, demonstrating their custom projects and sharing what they have learned. 

Students taking AI class