December 3, 2018

INSPIRE takes giant leaps to teach children about artificial intelligence

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Want to inspire a child who will design the next Alexa? Or develop a new model of self-driving cars? This year you can inspire a child by simply buying select holiday gifts.

 For the fifth consecutive year, Purdue’s INSPIRE Research Institute for Pre-College Engineering has issued its annual gift guide. In celebration of Purdue’s Sesquicentennial celebration, the 2018 guide features innovative gift ideas that align with Giant Leaps sesquicentennial. This yearlong celebration highlights Purdue’s remarkable history of giant leaps, while focusing on what giant leaps Purdue can take to address the world’s problems.

As part of the celebration, the Giant Leaps Ideas Festival centers on four themes, including AI, Algorithms and Automation: Balancing Humanity and Technology.

The gift guide, which offers gift suggestions for STEM-related toys, books and games geared toward children ages 1 through 18, encourages an understanding and appreciation of STEM-related fields from a young age.

In a world where artificial intelligence is growing rapidly, there is an increasing demand for people who understand this innovative technology. Learning about the basics of artificial intelligence and other related concepts, such as coding, at an early age is a huge advantage. Many of the gifts listed on this year’s gift guide will help facilitate a child’s learning of these concepts and will give children the opportunity to explore these new and exciting technological advances.

Examples of technology that employs artificial intelligence are on the rise, and adapting to this new way of life is critical.

“Understanding coding, how to create algorithms and engaging in computational thinking can unlock a range of opportunities for children,” said Monica Cardella, director of INSPIRE. “It’s important that today’s children start learning about these concepts early on, as they are growing up in a technological age where they will see more and more instances of artificial intelligence in their everyday lives.”

Ten gifts that align with the Al, Algorithms and Automation: Balancing Humanity and Technology theme are:

This year’s gift guide is one of many elements that celebrates Purdue’s Sesquicentennial, 150 Years of Giant Leaps. 

Writer: Jaclyn Lawmaster,

Media Contact: Brian Huchel, 765-494-2084,

Sources: Elizabeth Gajdzik, 765-494-9599,

Monica Cardella, 765-496-1206,

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