To create is human. Or is it? It certainly has been for the past 300,000 years or so, but now we have company. The so-called Digital Age has irrevocably changed the way we interact with the world, with machines now responding to emails, performing surgery, assembling cars and, recently, even controlling and landing a fighter jet without human help! But modern artificial intelligence goes far beyond traditional computer programming and is inspired by the human brain itself.
AI is only going to get bigger, and the race is on: tech companies such as Microsoft, Google and Meta are currently investing billions of pounds in AI. Sounds hunky dory, but what could go wrong and where do we draw the line? Will AI one day outsmart us? And of course privacy is always a hot topic (hello there, Alexa!) As Stephen Hawking once said, AI is likely to be ‘either the best or worst thing ever to happen to humanity.’
If you’re fascinated by artificial intelligence, machine learning and the future of technology, consider a summer school programme in 2023 to get ahead and test-drive a course rarely offered in typical high schools, and bolster your chances of being accepted into a top UK university. Accelerate your future career prospects (or career change!) as a Developer, Data or Robotics Scientist, or Machine Learning Engineer, in fields as diverse as finance, manufacturing and medicine – with job growth in the AI field expected to expand by 71% in the next five years, the future is certainly AI!
But where to start? Which provider offers the hands-down best course for teens, adults and kids? And where do Computer Science, Robotics and Coding come into it? Read on for our essential guide to choosing the perfect artificial intelligence summer course for you, this summer 2023.
Best AI Summer Courses for Kids (8-12)
It’s never too early to start learning about AI. In fact, it’s downright clever – computers will be running the world soon, after all!
The award-winning Oxford Summer Courses runs a week-long ‘Technology Explorers’ course for ages 8-12 at Harrow School in London. It’s hands-on, interactive and – most importantly – FUN! Students learn through games and project work with a meaningful real-life focus; it’s the perfect way to get young learners really excited about the future of technology, including the basics of programming and electronics, design or modelling, and engineering.
For those who are captivated by coding (including visual coding, variables, loops, algorithms and problem-solving) but are also keen to brush up on their English language skills at the same time, Bucksmore Education runs a unique one-week ‘English plus Coding’ course for ages 10-13 at two prestigious UK boarding school venues – this one is for you!
Best AI Summer Schools for High School Students (13-18)
Teens already live and breathe tech, and know how critical AI will be in the near-future. Can’t survive without Instagram and TikTok? Did you know, ChatGPT, the program that responds to any query, has reached 100 million monthly users – a faster rate of adoption than either of them. So it’s fair to say that a summer AI course is definitely a smart move!
Leading the way, Immerse Education offer an advanced two-week pre-university course in Artificial Intelligence, located in Oxford. It’s ideal for teens aged 16-18 who are looking for a well-balanced introduction to the world of AI, with equal weighting of theory and practical exploration. The course dives into the history of AI, its applications in different industries, as well as its ethics – tackling big questions you’ll see in the press a lot, such as ‘can AI sort out the problem of fake news?’ Getting practical, you’ll learn about algorithms such as MiniMax, simulated annealing, genetic algorithms, and Monte Carlo methods – and learn how to use them to solve optimisation problems. You’ll also explore the different (often brand new!) career paths that the AI field can take you into – invaluable ahead of choosing an AI-focused degree at a UK university. This one can also be done online, if a residential stay in Oxford isn’t on the cards for you.
Immerse also do a two-week computer science course for teens aged 13-15 and 16-18, located in Cambridge, if you’re looking for something more practical and a little broader than strictly AI (and want to be based in Cambridge rather than Oxford). And Cambridge is a great choice, by the way – Alan Turing, the famous World War II codebreaker, studied here, and nowadays Cambridge is famous for its cluster of over 1,000 specialist tech companies, known as ‘Silicon Fen’. In this course, you’ll discover the history and trends within computer science, but the focus is firmly on the practical: you’ll explore programming, data and networks and get to grips with programming languages such as Python.
The highly-accredited Oxford Royale doesn’t offer an AI course per se, but its popular two-week ‘Designing Tomorrow’ course for teens aged 16-18 in Oxford and Yale provides a very broad introduction to the emerging technology that is shaping the future, with a particular emphasis on robotics and engineering. This course is perfect if you’re currently unsure about what to study at university, or even what you’re specifically interested in within the realm of tech (and that’s okay, by the way!) Highlights include participating in a robot competition using LEGO Mindstorms sets and visiting real-life emerging technology firms.
Want to build your own robot (who doesn’t)? Well, the well-established Worldstrides has a popular two-week Robotics and AI course for teens, located in Cambridge. Offering a good theoretical foundation in the future of AI before getting hands-on, students will gain a practical understanding of digital electronics and construct their own robot.
Also worth considering if you already know specifically what you’d like to study at university: get a taste of what it’s like to be a Data Scientist with Worldstrides’ Data Science course for teens, or delve into its fascinating Cyber Security course. Both are two-week long courses and are located in Cambridge.
Best for AI Summer Schools for Adults (19+)
Get ready for the future! By the mid-2030s, a massive 30% of jobs will be at risk of automation. But don’t panic, AI will create more jobs than it destroys, with the hottest demand being for Data Scientists, Data Analysts and AI and Machine Learning Specialists. Get upskilled and adapt with an AI summer course in 2023!
Lady Margaret Hall, a pioneering Oxford University college with its own summer school, offers two Artificial Intelligence courses for adults aged 19+ in Oxford, and they’re some of the best out there for STEM students looking to expand their knowledge or for those looking to boost their career prospects within the tech industry.
If you’re new to the world of AI and machine learning and are looking for a well-rounded overview (perhaps you want to check it’s definitely for you before investing further), ‘Theory and Practice’ is a sensible choice. A non-scary introduction to a labyrinthine subject, prior knowledge of machine learning and artificial intelligence isn’t essential and you only need a basic knowledge of calculus and linear algebra. It offers a solid grounding in both the theoretical foundations and practical applications of AI.
Its ‘Advanced Applications’ course is a better choice for those who are already familiar with the key theoretical foundations of AI and machine learning and want to dive deeper into its applications in three streams, perhaps in preparation for future advanced study in the field. In this course, you’ll explore Generative Deep Learning and train networks to produce new synthetic samples. You’ll learn to design and train Graph Neural Networks and you’ll discover the applications of Reinforcement Learning, a method used when training a robot to interact with its environment and achieve an objective.
So…what’s the verdict?
We’ve run a very fine-toothed comb through the AI summer school offerings for 2023 and our verdict is in! Young learners, book Oxford Summer Courses’ Technology Explorers course in London for a fun and interactive approach. Teens, hands-down, it’s Immerse Education’s well-balanced pre-university Artificial Intelligence course in Oxford for you, and adults – sink your teeth into Lady Margaret Hall’s two robust Artificial Intelligence courses in Oxford.