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Prize Nomination: „Narrative Futures: Panchatantra Fables meet Personal Primer“

© ECDF/PR/Felix Noak

The project “Narrative Futures: Panchatantra Fables meet Personal Primer” by ECDF-Professor Daniel Hromada from the Berlin University of the Arts (UDK Berlin) is nominated for the S+T+ARTS Prize 2024 in the category “Science + Technology + Art”. With the S+T+ARTS Prize 2024, the European Commission honors projects that successfully combine science, technology and art in a particularly successful way. The S+T+ARTS Prize is aimed not only at EU citizens, but also at artists, researchers and companies worldwide. 

Daniel Hromada’s project is an educational medium for young learners, which brings history and languages to life. The “digital primer” developed by Daniel Hromada and his team is a low-cost device with local AI software that learns with children. It contains a database that can grow with each person over time. “It allows a symbiotic learning process between users and the device. With personal primer we wanted to find an independent alternative to the smartphone-dominated education that is often promoted by Big Tech”, explains Daniel Hromada. At its core, personal primer aims to minimize the downsides and maximize the upsides of digital AI-assisted education. A circular system of human-machine peer learning, where the human learns from the machine and the machine learns from the human. This modular artifact is a book-like device. Components can be built and fine-tuned to individual needs. Currently there are four different versions, each with its own identity. While working on old fables such as “Panchatantra”, an ancient Indian collection of interwoven stories, drawings were made by hand and text was recorded by using speech recognition software. The results will be archived for future generations. Daniel Hromada describes the personal primer as an artifact that brings storytelling to life by reimagining ancient fables for today’s children.

"I feel very honored about the nomination. I am particularly pleased that the multidisciplinary orientation and creativity of my work and that of my research group is being recognized, especially internationally. This nomination honors our entire digital education team at the University of the Arts, and I would like to sincerely thank the Einstein Center Digital Future, which has enabled me to develop my research ideas and has supported my research for many years” says Hromada to the nomination. Daniel Hromada’s goal in teaching is, on the one hand, to expand the school curriculum so that children gain appropriate theoretical and practical knowledge about how digital artifacts work. On the other hand, he wants to explore the potential functions and tasks that digital artifacts can perform in the classroom. “Teaching is about more than just imparting knowledge. It also teaches values and behaviors. This is hardly taken into account in digital education today – if at all. The goal of digital education should really be to increase the quality, efficiency and intensity of the educational process as a whole,” Hromada notes.

Further information about the personal primer can be found here;

Nomination and award details can be found here.