Campus - 28.10.2022 - 00:00 

Young people discover the future of learning

50 high school graduates from St.Gallen and Schaffhausen embarked on a journey through time at SQUARE and immersed themselves in the learning of the future. They chatted with robot Lexi, tested chatbots, created Deepfakes, got to know robot Nao and navigated through the human body with HoloLens.

28 October 2022. Sparking an enthusiasm for technology, creativity and entrepreneurship in young people: That is the goal of the "Learning the Future" camp, which was jointly launched by the University of St.Gallen’s (HSG) Institute for Educational Management and Technologies (IBB-HSG) and the Institute of Computer Science (ICS-HSG). After a pilot camp in spring with young people from Kreuzlingen, one Matura class each from St.Gallen and Schaffhausen explored different technology and discussed future scenarios of learning.

Computer scientists who found companies

"Why does it make sense for the HSG, as a business university, to offer its own computer science program?" Prof. Dr. Sabine Seufert (IBB-HSG) and Prof. Dr. Siegfried Handschuh (ICS-HSG) welcomed the two Matura classes to SQUARE with this question. Information technology is taking up more and more space in companies and is indispensable, explained Siegfried Handschuh "It has become the actual product. Behind every platform is a business model." In the past, it was mainly business economists who founded companies, but today it is increasingly computer scientists. The professor cited Elon Musk, Steve Jobs or the CEOs of Google as examples.

At six stations, the 50 or so young people learned what smart learning environments will have to offer in classrooms in the future and how artificial intelligence (AI) and "smart tools" can assist learning. They were accompanied on their journey through time into the future by two student assistants, Miriam Kluser and Eduard Muqaj, as well as other students of business education and computer science. The young people enthusiastically communicated with the social robot Lexi and discussed what it could be used for and whether it would be suitable as a learning assistant.

With the help of VR goggles and a HoloLens, they dived into an underwater world and clicked their way through the anatomy of the human body. They learned about chatbots as smart assistants and experienced smart tools that can help with texting, creating avatar-based video tutorials or learning a new language. The sixth station introduced camp participants to educational innovations at SQUARE.

Enthusiastic, but also critical statements

After the tour, the young people summarized their experiences and impressions. One participant explained that he was amazed at how quickly and easily one could create deepfakes of oneself, but doubted whether the technology would actually bring advantages to everyday life. She could well imagine that the three-dimensional view could be useful in the classroom thanks to VR glasses and HoloLens, emphasized one participant. Not only the opportunities, however, but also the disadvantages and dangers of new technologies were addressed. In the second part of the event, the young people went to the Design Studio, where they were given the opportunity to develop their own ideas for the future of learning in teams. Prizes were awarded for the best ideas.

The "Learning the Future" camp received a good response, Sabine Seufert emphasized. The young people were highly motivated and enthusiastic. Both camps held so far have shown that the young people are able to use new technologies, but know relatively little about artificial intelligence. "Learning the Future" gives them the impetus to learn more about it, she said. "With our initiative, we are aiming for young people to experience interdisciplinary collaboration for themselves in an inspiring environment and thus get to know the learning culture of HSG. We are particularly pleased if interest in HSG is also awakened among female students," the professor concluded. The camp is scheduled to take place regularly in spring and fall.

Claudia Schmid 

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