Artificial intelligence in schools: Open dialogue between youth and policymakers

Faculty of Law - Common Law Section
Artificial Intelligence

By Common Law

Communication, Faculty of Law

Jane Bailey Valerie Steeves eQuality Project
On October 1st 2022, Professor Jane Bailey of the Common Law Section and Professor Valerie Steeves of the Faculty of Social Sciences hosted a Youth Summit to discuss the policy issues arising from the introduction of artificial intelligence educational technologies in Canadian schools.

Professors Bailey and Steeves were awarded a Connection Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to host the event, which gathered 30 engaged youth participants, aged 15-18, together with four key policymakers involved in education, privacy, equity, and equality.

The Summit used deliberative dialogue methodology, which provided participants with an opportunity to think deeply about the issues in advance and, on the day of the Summit, allowed for focused discussion around a relevant case study to facilitate the exchange of views. This gave a diverse group of young people an opportunity to articulate their concerns directly to key policymakers. The goal was not to create a consensus or vote on a particular outcome, but to foster an informed public debate that can support democratic policymaking. Professors Bailey and Steeves intend to publish a report and disseminate it widely through their partners and contacts to ensure that the results of the dialogue have as broad a reach as possible.

As leaders of the eQuality Project, Professors Steeves and Bailey have worked on a range of issues that affect young people’s relationship with, and experience of, digital technology. With a special focus on equality, equity, and new and emerging educational technologies, they have identified a need to seek counsel from the people nearest to the issue. This event was a way to ensure that young people’s voices are heard by the key stakeholders who are often tasked with making decisions that affect their lives.

A recent video posted on the Jurivision platform features Professors Steeves and Bailey discussing how they design inclusive research methodologies, originally presented as part of the 4th Autumn School on the Methodology of Research in Law.

SSHRC Connection grants support events and outreach activities geared toward short-term, targeted knowledge mobilization initiatives. These events and activities represent opportunities to exchange knowledge and to engage with participants on research issues of value to them.