SEAMEO STEM-ED Shines at Asia’s Premier Smart City Expo

At the forefront of Taipei's dynamic Smart City Summit and Expo (SCSE), Dr Kritsachai Somsaman, Director of SEAMEO STEM-ED Centre, took center stage. His presentation, "Harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Education in Southeast Asia: Opportunities and Challenges," offered a captivating exploration of the region's burgeoning curiosity in using AI to revolutionise education.

Today Southeast Asian nations are increasingly recognising the transformative potential of AI in education. However, many are still in the exploratory phase, investigating how AI can enhance student learning, support teachers, and streamline administrative tasks. Some nations are pioneering AI-based educational tools and integrating AI into their curricula, employing Generative AI to enrich the student learning experience and optimise administrative functions. Despite these promising initiatives, significant disparities in AI awareness and readiness remain. To empower education in Southeast Asia with AI technology, comprehensive policies on responsible AI use in educational settings and robust frameworks for educator training and support are crucial.

For a decade, SCSE has been the leading venue in Asia for showcasing innovative Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Beyond facilitating business exchanges, SCSE serves as a pivotal platform for government and business collaborations. This year's theme, "Digital & Green Transformation," reflects the evolving landscape of urban sustainability. The 2024 SCSE, spanning Taipei and Kaohsiung from March 19th to 23rd, expects to attract over 150,000 visitors and 800 exhibitors, offering myriad matchmaking sessions and forums. Additionally, the 2050 Net Zero City Expo's 2nd edition will spotlight endeavors toward achieving carbon neutrality, aiming to spur economic growth and foster green employment. Kaohsiung, historically an industrial center, aims to leverage SCSE to propel its transition toward a smarter city.

Regarding AI in education, while some countries are forging ahead with innovative AI-based tools and curriculum integration, others are still in the nascent stages of exploring its potential. Dr Somsaman highlighted the transformative impact of Generative AI in enriching student learning experiences and streamlining administrative tasks. Despite these advancements, significant disparities in AI awareness and preparedness persist. To unlock the full potential of AI in Southeast Asian education, SEAMEO STEM-ED Centre Director emphasised the need for comprehensive policies on responsible AI usage and robust educator training frameworks.

In his detailed presentation, Dr Somsaman shed light on the ongoing research surrounding Generative AI's efficacy in educational contexts, noting its exploratory nature in the absence of robust empirical evidence. Highlighting the importance of monitoring AI's impact, he emphasised key areas such as teacher and student satisfaction, learning outcomes, engagement, and inclusivity. Dr Somsaman advocated for a multifaceted evaluation approach, utilising surveys, interviews, and feedback mechanisms to assess the effectiveness of AI tools in fostering enriched educational environments.

In conclusion, the 2024 Smart City Summit & Expo and Net Zero City Expo emerge as dynamic platforms attracting a diverse array of over 2,500 international participants. From municipal officials to global mayors, attendees represent a spectrum of expertise spanning sectors like healthcare and transportation. The expos offer a rich tapestry of exhibits, including AI demonstrations, 5G innovations, and forward-thinking solutions in healthcare and disaster preparedness. As these events continue to shape the discourse on urban sustainability, they stand as a testament to the collective effort towards building smarter, more resilient cities worldwide.


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