University of Bayreuth, Press Release No. 053/2023, 3 May 2023
Artificial intelligence (AI) for innovative school teaching
From traditional classrooms to teamwork learning environments: The University of Bayreuth has received a €1 million grant from the European Union for a STEM project that aims to promote deeper learning through AI learning facilitators in appropriate learning environments.
Initial AI developments in the school sector have so far focused on the relatively easy problems of memorising and recalling factual knowledge. At the University of Bayreuth, the EU Erasmus+ project Discovery Space (D-Space) is led by Prof. Dr Franz X. Bogner, Professor of Biology Didactics, until December 2025, which aims to develop individual solutions to multi-faceted questions for selected learning content.
D-Space will explore the possibilities of AI in conventional curriculum topics and test them in suitable learning environments with different support options.
"This is less about an inclusive approach and more about doing justice to the diversity in a class and promoting learning individually in a demanding way," says Prof. Dr Franz X. Bogner. This is where D-Space comes in and wants to provide each learner with a personal, digital tutor who specifically addresses individual interests and problems. These tutors then act AI-supported. They show individual learning paths and different learning interests and then lead to the common learning goal.
Currently, there are no commercial AI-based products for lifelong learning. The EU funding is now helping Prof. Dr. Franz X. Bogner's team to explore the potential for this. "In most education systems, cognitive skills and the acquisition of knowledge are traditionally valued. However, these approaches are not in line with the innovative and multidisciplinary curricula proposed by current reforms, which focus on developing 21st century skills that require deep understanding and authentic application," Bogner explains the decision for this project proposal in the corresponding EU call for proposals. Through D-Space, an AI-supported classroom will be developed on a pilot basis and used in practical lessons. The pupils will then receive a tablet on which the AI tutor will help them to learn selected curriculum topics individually.
Towards the end of the project, every pupil should be supported in this way in their individual problem-solving, thus testing exemplary in-depth learning in STEM education. Several technical teams in the consortium are to ensure age-appropriate software adaptation and support the development of key competencies. The target groups are lower and middle school classes. At the moment, classroom implementations are planned in Portugal, Spain and Greece, as teachers there have already been trained by previous projects. Depending on the progress of the project, Upper Franconian grammar schools or secondary schools may also benefit from an implementation at a later date, which will also depend on the approval of the Ministry of Education.