Meet Emily Shelton, a curious and dedicated Learning Coach at KaiPod Learning who understands the importance of facilitating diverse and interdisciplinary learning opportunities to prepare learners for a rapidly changing world. Recently, Emily hosted a Mindjoy AI Hackathon at one of KaiPod’s learning centres in New Hampshire, USA. The mission: using Python coding to build a personalized AI homework assistant!
We caught up with Emily to hear about her experience with AI and her views on the current education landscape.
Letlhogonolo: Could you share a bit about KaiPod and what makes it a special place for learners?
Emily: KaiPod is an in-person learning centre (micro-school) for online learners and home-school students. We foster student growth through hands-on group projects, regular enrichment activities, respectful academic learning blocks, free play, and socialization time throughout the day. It’s an incredible space for learners to become well-rounded, independent, and self-aware individuals. They can explore their interests in a structured and supported way while having the backing of a strong community to pursue their academic and personal goals.
Letlhogonolo: Why do you feel it’s important for learners to be exposed to different experiences as part of their learning?
Emily: It’s important to foster well-rounded, curious, and open-minded learners with a comprehensive understanding of the world. Learners may never even know they have a passion, talent or interest in something until they are exposed to it! At KaiPod, we’re focused on offering these self-discovery opportunities through our regular enrichment activities, which help learners build their adaptability, resilience and creativity. Mindjoy has been a great organization to partner with for coding and AI experiences.
Letlhogonolo: Why do you think it’s important that learners engage with AI?
Emily: Engaging with AI is critical because it’s shaping learners’ lives as we speak! The working world they will enter will be vastly different from what it is right now. Learning about AI can also open the door to new opportunities and a deeper understanding of where the world is headed.
Letlhogonolo: What advice would you give other coaches or educators curious about AI but unsure how to start or go about it?
Emily: There’s a lot of information out there, so start small and take it step by step… Hands-on learning experiences are the best way to get familiar with AI - it makes it far less intimidating. Mindjoy has some AI tools which educators can use to reduce their admin time, or you can use their introductory AI projects on their platform. These are great ways to get familiar with AI if you’re a newbie.
Letlhogonolo: Why was an AI Hackathon a good fit for KaiPod’s pedagogy and goals?
Emily: Technology is such an important part of everyday life. AI is transforming the world as we know it and I think learners should understand how it works and how to use it! There are many different aspects of digital literacy to consider if we want to educate students to be global-minded citizens, and that's what we want to do at KaiPod.
Mindjoy’s projects are a great way to introduce learners to AI and coding. The project design allows learners to be creative and explore their interests while also learning critical skills. We also loved how Mindjoy’s platform ensures that technology can be taught alongside any subject or topic - it offers a holistic approach to learning.
Mindjoy exists to make learning hard fun and relevant for young people by empowering educators to transform their lessons into fun, tech, projects age. We are helping to shape the future of education, and learning coaches like Emily are helping us make this a reality.