The impact of teaching programming and artificial intelligence in defining and developing students’ 21st-century skills

By Osama Merei
Head of ICT Department INPSAA

Osama Marei is the Head of the ICT department at Al Ittihad National Private School – Al Ain. He has more than 15 years of experience in Education Management. He is a certified educator by many organizations as well, like Google and Apple.  He had been awarded the title of MIE Expert for the academic year of 2021 – 2022 by Microsoft. He is a passionate educator, he likes to teach and educate his community with interesting methodologies such as PBL (Project Based Learning).  STEAM, Robotics, and Artificial Intelligence are his main interest and passion.


The process of creating algorithms to inform a computer how to complete a certain task is known as programming. A variety of computer programming languages, such as Java, Python, and C, can be used to write codes and create programs.

On the other hand, Artificial Intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence by machines and computers.  There are three main types of AI, basic AI, normal AI, and complex AI. During the current time, we haven’t reached for the complex or super AI yet.

Assembly Language was one of the earliest computer language families still in use. There are numerous languages and implementations, with at least one for each computer processor construction. It’s known as a low-level programming language since it’s so simple. It is one of the more challenging languages to work with, yet this is how low-level computers work. For educational purposes, there are several simplified languages.  Like general-purpose languages include C/C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, Swift, and Visual Basic.

Teaching Programming can help refine skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.  This can be implemented through PBL (Project Based Learning) and group work.

 AI in Education:

Artificial Intelligence in Education is focused on the study, creation, and assessment of computer software that help teachers and students learn more effectively.  Several long-term objectives have been proposed, including the ability to understand complex students’ responses and learn as they go; determining where and why a student’s understanding has gone astray, providing hints to help students understand the material at hand, and eventually simulating the behavior and guidance of a human tutor.

To develop the students’ 21st-century skills, they need more than traditional learning. They should apply collaboration, communication, and problem-solving along with the traditional skills, like social and emotional proficiency.  Together all will help students to succeed in the growing digital age.

With Artificial Intelligence (AI), making an impact on the educational field is useful when it comes to problem-solving in learning because AI is based on complicated software designed to simulate the cognitive functions of the human brain.

AI can be used as an essential learning tool to improve the students’ learning experience.   It can be a tool to learn a lot about a certain topic in a short amount of time. That would work with the gifted and talented students. And since AI will provide a fast learning environment, these students will love to learn with AI and will show better learning outcomes.

From another aspect, AI can be used to track collaboration indicators while the students are doing collaborating work.  Also, it can be used to monitor and manage collaborative learning.

Programming and AI are the needs of our current digital age; both are beneficial for any learning community, especially as we are working with our children in refining and improving their 21st-century skills. I believe these fields can be connected with any subject taught and will improve the learning experience in many aspects.