Kahyun Choi, an assistant professor of information and library science at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, has been awarded a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to develop an artificial intelligence literacy program for youth in underserved communities.
The project, “AI & Co-design in public libraries: Empowering underserved youth to cultivate symbiotic relationships between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and their communities,” is a collaboration between researchers at the Luddy School, the IUPUI School of Informatics, and Michigan State University. It will engage youth from economically underserved communities with core knowledge about AI to codesign AI technologies for local industries. Activities will include understanding youth and how they conceptualize AI, developing AI literacy programs and materials, running the AI literacy programs in the three partner libraries, and developing and disseminating the findings and materials.
“I have used machine learning algorithms in my research for the last 15 years,” Choi said. “After joining IU in 2019, I created and offered an introductory machine learning course using music applications. While witnessing the growing importance of AI in our daily lives and developing the AI course for Luddy students, I realized that the public's access to AI knowledge is limited because AI knowledge is mainly disseminated by higher education programs. Through that realization, I wanted to develop and offer a more diverse and accessible AI education program.”
Along with Michigan State Assistant Professor Hee Rin Lee, Choi looked to public libraries as an avenue to present an AI literacy program thanks to the existing infrastructure and experience in delivering STEM education to local communities over the decades. The duo plan to pilot the program at the Capital Area District Library in Lansing, Michigan, the San Diego Central Library in San Diego, and the Carroll County Public Library in New Windsor, Maryland.
“We bring our expertise in AI and participatory design to this project,” Choi said. “IUPUI Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science Soo Hyeon Kim joins our research team as a research scientist with her expertise in informal STEM education. Our AI literacy program has two modules: one for understanding core concepts of AI and the other for envisioning AI for local industries. The second module introduces actual workplaces of local industries in manufacturing, healthcare, and public safety, respectively, and their ongoing issues. In the co-design activities, participating youth will envision how AI can help solve the problems of their local industries. I am curious about their ideas and how our community-specific AI literacy module can create a more engaging and empowering learning experience.”
The project will generate publicly available open-source AI education modules and webinars to support public libraries running their own AI literacy programs. Choi and her colleagues plan to adapt the project for rural libraries in the future.
“Expanding access to education about technology, especially when it comes to underserved populations, is a core belief of the Luddy School,” said Kay Connelly, associate dean for research at the Luddy School. “This project has the potential to have an enormous impact when it comes to providing access to AI education to communities.”