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Juniversity receives funding for promoting media and AI literacy among schoolchildren

Published on 15.2.2024
Tampere University
Photo: Jonne Renvall, Tampereen yliopisto
Juniversity, which offers science outreach activities to children and young people, has received "Getting to know science" funding for two projects that promote AI literacy among pupils in primary and lower secondary schools and media literacy among pupils in lower secondary schools, respectively. The grants were awarded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

AI Wizards – on a Path to a Sustainable Future is a collaborative project carried out by Tampere University’s Juniversity and Aalto University’s Junior to develop learning modules that utilise AI applications as learning tools. The idea is that children in grades 1–9 take part in workshops where they interact with AI to address challenges relating to a sustainable future. The modules will explore themes covered by the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Experts from both Tampere University and Aalto University will participate in planning the workshops. The participants from Tampere University are education specialists. The AI Wizards project received a €125,000 grant and is set to continue until the end of 2025. 

In addition, Juniversity will organise a series of events titled Explore Media! for pupils attending grades 7 to 9 in lower secondary schools. The events will provide an experiential introduction into media research, media production and media researchers. The goal is to foster scientific literacy among pupils and help them interpret different types of media content and act responsibly in diverse media environments. 

The mini lectures, discussion events and workshops will be implemented in collaboration with experts specialising in communications and education at Tampere University. The Explore Media! project will end in the spring of 2026. The project received a grant worth €80,000. 

Bringing different branches of science closer to as many pupils as possible 

The workshops and events will be both geographically and socially accessible to ensure maximum reach.    

“The participants will be able to attend the AI workshops either in-person or remotely. The workshops will be suitable for primary school pupils, lower secondary school pupils and special groups. The media literacy events, which we will be hosting approximately once a month, will also be delivered in a format that allows great flexibility,” says Laura Salkonen, senior specialist in science education at Tampere University. 

The "Getting to know science" grants will enable Juniversity to build closer collaboration with different faculties at Tampere University and promote science education across disciplinary boundaries. 

“The two projects will not only strengthen Juniversity’s existing activities but also allow us to add new disciplines to our range of activities. Both projects will be carried out in collaboration with faculty partners,” Salkonen adds. 

Juniversity has previously collaborated with the Communication Sciences Unit at Tampere University to offer lessons in media studies to secondary school students. These experiences will now be put to good use during the Explore Media! project aimed at lower secondary schools. 

Juniversity is planning to utilise the newly developed operational models even after the two projects have been completed. 

The Finnish Cultural Foundation gave out a total of €800,000 in "Getting to know science" grants for twelve projects. 

Read more about the grants awarded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation. 

Juniversity is a university for children and young people at Tampere University and specialises in science education and collaborations with secondary schools. We provide children, young people and their teachers with a variety of multidisciplinary activities and experiences in the world of academia. Our activities are aimed at pupils in preschools, secondary schools and upper secondary schools. The faculties, research units and students at Tampere University are also involved in planning and implementing our science outreach activities and collaborations with upper secondary schools. In 2023, Juniversity served close to 20,000 participants.