Oak Knoll STEAM Learning Spotlighted in NJAIS Conference

The New Jersey Association of Independent Schools recently featured an Oak Knoll Lower School STEAM project in their January 25 “What the Tech Is Going On?” conference. The conference, subtitled “Rapid Fire Highlights of Innovation and Instruction In Schools,” challenged Lower School Science Teacher Regina Cherill and Associate Director of Technology Innovation & Integration Kim Connolly with the task of highlighting their novel artificial intelligence and ocean plastics unit using only three slides and three minutes of presentation.

Last year, the two teachers collaborated to create an exemplary grade 6 project that combined environmental science, current events, machine learning, robotics, and artificial intelligence to task students with creating floating robots that could recognize the difference between plastic and sea creatures and sweep up ocean waste without harming wildlife. You can read about that project here.

Throughout the Lower School, students are learning the Big 5 of Artificial Intelligence — which includes concepts relating to how machines learn, represent intelligence, interact with humans, and the societal impacts of a technology that can have both positive and negative uses.

Our teachers not only shared the methodology behind their exciting project but also learned from other STEAM teachers throughout New Jersey who are blazing trails in artificial intelligence instruction on all levels of pre-K to grade 12 education.

“The ‘What the Tech’ summit was full of inspiring ideas,” said Cherrill. “Hopefully, we also inspired others. Maybe some more schools in New Jersey will be putting their Sphero robots in the water and trying new things. There was a lot of chatter and lots of interest after the presentation. It was very cool.”

student holding award