Cultivating AI Awareness in the Educational Landscape of the Netherlands

Between October 2023 and April 2024, Think Tank AlterContacts hosted three awareness-raising events within Work Package 3 of the EU co-funded project AI4VET4AI. They all took place at prominent educational institutions of the Netherlands: the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University, and Aeres University of Applied Sciences. The total audience included over 75 participants, both students and educators of non-digital specializations but with a strong interest in the impact of AI on their respective fields.

The first event at the University of Amsterdam was dedicated to the Role of AI in shaping the landscape of Social Entrepreneurship and SDGs. The experts of AlterContacts hosted an interactive session where the students explored the synergy between AI and pressing social issues. They discussed the illusion of problem measurement without resolution and demonstrated how Artificial Intelligence may help uncover some core challenges of social entrepreneurship. They provided real-life examples where AI enhances social impact. During the session, the students participated in a guided practical exercise where they were able to fine-tune their ideas for a social enterprise using Artificial Intelligence.

The second event titled “The Intersection of Artificial Intelligence and European Governance” took place at Leiden University in The Hague with Bachelor students in International Relations. In this engaging event, the AlterContacts experts outlined the current developments of Artificial intelligence in the context of the European Union, including recent regulations and laws. Together with the students, they analyzed how AI might influence international affairs in the years and decades to come, what challenges and opportunities it presents for the European Union; and what actions the EU can take. In the format of the World Café, students actively participated in the discussion, shared their insights, and debated the multifaceted landscape of digital developments and their impact on global affairs.

The third event took place at the Aeres University of Applied Sciences in Dronten. The seminar titled “Demystifying AI for Educators” was aimed at exploring the role of Artificial Intelligence in modern education. Together with the lecturers of Aeres University, the AlterContacts experts discussed the key concepts and tools of AI; the opportunities and threats it holds for teachers and students; and what could be the steps to holistically adopting it into everyday life. The participants gained crucial insights and practical strategies necessary for navigating the terrain of education in the digital era. They examined AI applications in educational contexts and innovative pedagogical approaches; and engaged in collaborative dialogue aimed at utilising AI’s transformative potential to enrich learning environments.

Overall, it is clear that there is a lot of interest in both students and teachers as to how artificial intelligence will shape the future of education and work life in the European Union. In the coming months, AlterContacts will continue a public outreach campaign for AI VET ecosystem build-up and awareness-raising in the Netherlands.

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