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Welcome to the ERASMUS+ Project «AI-Bility»

Join us on our journey to learn how school children perceive and work with conversational agents.

We observe the abundance of smart toys, adaptive learning applications, and digital assistants for schoolchildren on the market. These products are artificial intelligence (AI) based conversational agents that can communicate using natural language. The current pandemic challenge probably plays an important role in promoting their adoption. The truth is, however inconvenient, that we still do not know much about how schoolchildren harness these AI-based conversational agents for their benefits. Because of the way they are designed (i.e., real touchable physique versus digital character), schoolchildren may have different kinds of interaction and experience with them. Moreover, they may be perceived differently because of their appearances (i.e., pet-like and human-like characteristics).

This project addresses a discussion that is likely to become more glaring in the next years, due to the increasing adoption of in AI-based conversational agents for learning and leisure activities. We focus on 11 to 13 years old schoolchildren in Liechtenstein, Germany, and France. In this age group, they begin to learn abstract reasoning (Jean Piaget’s concreate and formal operational stage) and develop belief in their own ability to solve tasks together with a sense of identity in relation to their social others (Erik Erikson’s stages 4 and 5 of psychosocial development).

We also take into account the concerns about digital divide between schoolchildren and their caregivers, a cultural gap between digital natives and digital immigrants. By understanding how schoolchildren perceive and interact with conversational agents, we can equip parents and teachers with hands-on know-how in guiding schoolchildren to develop a mindful and healthy interaction with AI-based conversational agents.