Erasmus+ Training Course “Y-AI in Youth Work”
29/06/2024 – 07/07/2024 Kolín, Czech Republic

From June 29 to July 7, 2024, I had the extraordinary opportunity to transition from my usual role as a trainer to that of a participant at the Erasmus+ Training Course “Y-AI in Youth Work” in Kolín, Czechia. This course focused on the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in youth work, offering a blend of conceptual knowledge, practical skills, and ethical discussions.

As someone passionate about leveraging technology to enhance educational and social outcomes, I saw this as a unique opportunity to learn about the latest AI tools and strategies directly from experts and peers. I was also eager to experience Kolín from a different perspective, building on my previous visits as a trainer to explore new learning avenues as a participant.

General conceptual knowledge of AI

The course kicked off with foundational workshops that provided a comprehensive overview of AI. We delved into key concepts such as machine learning, neural networks, and deep learning. This knowledge was essential in demystifying AI and setting the stage for more advanced discussions. Understanding the distinctions between narrow AI, designed for specific tasks, and general AI, capable of performing any intellectual task a human can do, was particularly enlightening.

Practical skills

A significant highlight of the training was the hands-on sessions where we explored various AI tools. Workshops like “Why AI?” introduced us to powerful applications such as NotebookLM and ChatGPT. These sessions were interactive and practical, allowing us to create presentations and projects using these tools. The Tool Fair was another exciting session where participants showcased a diverse array of AI tools they use in their work, from and Canva to or Research Rabbit. This session highlighted the practical utility of AI and the creativity of the participants in applying these technologies in different contexts.

Ethical considerations

One of the most thought-provoking aspects of the course was the exploration of ethical considerations in AI. Discussions on algorithmic bias, data privacy, and the digital divide emphasized the importance of ethical AI use. The session on the Four Wicked Problems of AI—mining and extraction, data handling, bias and discrimination, and privacy and security—provided deep insights into the complex challenges that accompany AI advancements.

Sharing stories from our home countries during the “Stories from Home” workshop enriched these discussions, providing a global perspective on AI’s impact. We learned about the different stages of AI adoption, the challenges faced, and the innovative applications being developed worldwide. This exchange underscored the universal yet varied implications of AI, highlighting both its potential and the need for mindful implementation.

AI and Youth

A crucial part of the course was dedicated to understanding how AI can empower and support youth. We engaged in dynamic group discussions, addressing questions such as how AI can be used to optimize work for young people, teach AI in schools, and avoid common mistakes like overreliance on AI for trivial tasks. The discussions also covered the regulatory measures needed to safeguard young people, emphasizing education, ethical use, and privacy protections.

Personal conclusion

Although I came into the course with a solid background in AI, frequently using it in my work and being deeply interested in the ethical discussions surrounding it, this training was still incredibly valuable. It was enriching to be surrounded by others who shared my enthusiasm and expertise in AI. The week provided a unique opportunity to deeply focus on AI, allowing me to engage in intensive learning and reflection.

The Training Course was a transformative experience that expanded my horizons and deepened my expertise in AI. It provided a balanced mix of theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and ethical considerations, all within a collaborative and enthusiastic learning environment. I return from Kolín with renewed motivation and a toolkit of AI resources ready to enhance my work in youth development.

Article by Veronika Batelková (website, LinkedIn) participant of an Erasmus+ Training Course “Y-AI in Youth Work”

🌎 Erasmus+ Training Course “Y-AI in Youth Work” is funded by the Erasmus+ Programme.

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