Innovation competition: Ethical AI in Learning

The City of Helsinki invites companies to develop ethical artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to support personalised learning processes and individualised learning materials. Helsinki is in the global forefront of developing innovations for the education sector. In 2016, Helsinki was the first capital in the world to create a digitalisation strategy for learning, and the City is also a global pioneer in innovations and equality related to learning.

In relation to these themes, the City of Helsinki’s aim in this innovation competition is to co-develop AI-based Learning Analytics (LA) with a strong emphasis on ethical approaches to learning and children. The aim of the trial is to develop an AI-based Learning Analytics solution, which is built considering the perspectives of a diverse learners and equal opportunities for learning. The company involved will have a unique opportunity to accumulate competence and capabilities related to ethical AI and Learning Analytics together with the top experts of the City of Helsinki.

Ethics as a starting point

The company (or companies) will be coached with regard to modern pedagogy and ethical thinking. The pedagogical approaches in the City of Helsinki are collaborative learning and the development of the social-emotional skills, among other aspects. The City of Helsinki Education Division’s framework for ethical AI solutions can be used in the development of ethical AI applications. In addition to this, cloud architectural support will be offered for utilising Azure cloud platform, as necessary.  

The solution must be a generic technological solution/application that can be used for learning and teaching in the context of a variety of subjects. For example, the solution can utilise AI to personalise a learner’s learning process, adapt the learning materials to the leaner’s needs or produce information related to competence development and the personalisation of the learning process. The desire is for the solution/application to consider a learner-oriented approach to learning, each learner’s learning process and collaborative learning as starting points. The solution/application should not be based on mechanistic learning concepts, such as gaps, closes or multiple choice tasks. 

Requirements for the trial

The City of Helsinki is specifically procuring a trial. The City of Helsinki can initiate the trial with one or more companies, and joint bids are permitted. After the completion of the development efforts and trial, the solution must be in a proof of concept phase (POC). The total price of the development and trial period may not exceed €59,000 (+VAT 24%). The solution will be developed on the Helsinki EdTech Testbed platform. Please check the detailed requirements from the official call for offers (attachments).  Companies outside Finland are welcome to apply and travelling to Finland is not required for the selected company/companies.

How do I sign up? 

Companies can register for the competitive bidding by submitting a tender via the designated electronic form by 4 pm on 13 April 2022 (UTC +3).

See the attachments for the official call for offers.

Attachments 

Questions and answers

Is there a clear use case that you want them to design towards? It mentions personalized learning, but it’s not clear if this would be learning content related or something else?
The solution must be a generic technological solution/application that can be used for learning and teaching in the context of a variety of subjects. For example, the solution can utilise AI to personalize a learner’s learning process, adapt the learning materials to the leaner’s needs or produce information related to competence development and the personalisation of the learning process. We are open and interested to see and hear new ideas from edtech companies!

Are you primarily interested in companies that can develop ML / AI models (not that much focus on the data engineering side). Is this correct?
Yes.

Are you sharing this with academic institutions/universities, or just private companies?
Innovation challenge is focusing on private companies.  The companies can be e.g. innovative edtech startups, SMEs or subsidiary companies of universities.

We are an EdTech startup and are in the process of founding our company. Right now, one of the team would need to represent the company as a private person. Can we still apply, or is this an immediate disqualification?
Innovation challenge is focusing on private companies.  The companies can be e.g. innovative edtech startups, SMEs or subsidiary companies of universities. You will need a company ID or equivalent for participating in the innovation challenge.

The 59K Euro is for POC, correct? Does that mean that the winning firm might be hired for more extensive work?  
As a result of innovation competition The City of Helsinki will procure a trial/POC (Proof of Concept). Most likely one POC will be procured. However, this is a good change for all companies to present their expertise and potential to City of Helsinki. The procurements followed by the trial are to be considered separately depending on the City´s developmental goals and projects and the outcome of the trial.

Do you have a sense of the data that will be used and is it already processed/ready for analytics, or is that part of the POC?
Data sources and data used by AI solution/application will be defined as a part of the trial/POC. Data sources can e.g. consist of student information system (SIS) data, learning outcomes, learning diaries, essays or other textual content as well as technical log data. In addition, the solution/application developed in POC may gather the data needed for AI/ML.

Do you forsee Open Education Analytics being part of this, either in the set-up of the infrastructure, in using OEA modules or packages, or in contributions from the project back to OEA?
City of Helsinki Education Division participates is Open Education Analytics Network (see https://openeducationanalytics.org/ for resource). OEA resources may be utilized as basis for the solution / POC.

Is there any expectation that the solution should cover basic and upper secondary education?
It is possible that solution covers only basic education or only upper secondary education or alternatively both.

Could the focus be on the teachers? Instead of students?
Yes.

Could you share more information on the data that you already have in a centralized repository? (i.e., OEA Architecture)?
In centralized repository there are data mainly based on Student Information System, such as data on grades, absences, pedagogical support. During a trial/POC is possible to gather other or more granular data needed.

Could you elaborate on the data that could be found on your systems from a student perspective

  • Texts: Essays? Discussions?
    If this data is needed, it will be gathered during the trial/POC.
  • Emotional Data:
    Any continuous feedback from the student on motivation & joy of learning being recorded?
    If this data is needed, it will be gathered during the trial/POC.
    Bullying?
    If this data is needed, it will be gathered during the trial/POC.
  • Sociograms or a way to trace interpersonal relations and networks of the students?
    If this data is needed, it will be gathered during the trial/POC.
  • Student submissions, quizzes & student assessments?
    If this data is needed, it will be gathered during the trial/POC.

Could you share if there are any transactional systems being used by the students that could add to understanding how a student learns? (i.e., MS Teams, Google Classroom, any specific app, LMS, etc.)
There are e.g. MS Teams, O365, G-suite, It’s Learning available for students. If other environments or apps are needed, they should be specified and agreed before the trial/pilot.

Is there any app or similar where students are (or could be) interacting with a BOT?  Could you elaborate if this is viable for upper secondary?
Not in use.

Could you elaborate on the data that could be found on your systems from a teacher’s perspective

  • On Course planning? Is it structured?
    Teachers in Finland have a great autonomy related planning, so we are not having data course planning or lesson plans. However, the curriculum includes the objectives of learning and learning goals.
  • On exchanges, messages or discussions between teachers and students or parents?
    Not available.
  • Is there any repository where we could find examples of how a teacher is delivering & presenting the learning material? (i.e., class recordings?)
    We may refer best practices / cases published on : Explore innovations (hundred.org)

Is there any app or system where teachers can exchange messages with parents or students?
Yes, it is a feature in our Student Information System. However, these messages are under secrecy of correspondence and cannot be analyzed.

Do teachers have access to any platform where they can see and analyse how a student is learning?No. However, teachers can follow students’ exercises and products on O365, G-suite and Itslearning.

Want to hear more?

  • Anna Rantapero-Laine

  • Senior Advisor
    EdTech and Learning Environments
    City of Helsinki
    Economic Development, Innovations and New Experiments