“JOVAM, give me a tongue twister in German.” The young engineer and teacher Walter Velasquez from Colcabamba, a small village south of Lima, holds a microphone next to the head of his little robot. “Fischers Fritze fischt frische Fische” says a somewhat tinny but easily understandable voice through the microphone. JOVAM blinks his two big eyes. The audience laughs. The robot passed the acid test of its first public appearance at the annual conference on adult education, which was held as a hybrid event in Cajamarca (800 kilometres north of Lima) from 26 to 28 October 2021.
Walter Velasquez is highly satisfied, having spent six months working on the prototype that was presented to the public and the adult education community at the conference. Thanks to the financial support and technical assistance of DVV International, a learning companion equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) for work in the adult education sector was created. That is a unique achievement for Peru.
The preliminary work had begun with the construction of “KIPI”, the robot’s sister. While KIPI is already in use for children at several schools around Colcabamba, two JOVAM robots were produced for use in adult education. The name is composed of JOV, which stands for JOVenes (= young people), and AM, Adultos Majores (= adults).
One robot will soon be piloted in a prison, the second will go on tour to gain experience of adult education needs in different contexts. JOVAM is intuitive and interactive, it talks, can move and all the materials provided can be accessed via its screen. This opens up access to the world of AI for young people and adults in Peru.
While JOVAM also attracted the attention of journalists, the conference marked the potential of the newly emerging hybrid event format. Thanks to the skills in moderation and technical support acquired during the pandemic, the link between the participants on site in Cajamarca and the moderation in the virtual space worked out excellently. While only 40 people were present in the hall due to pandemic-related rules, about 9,000 viewers followed the event via Facebook and YouTube.
The congress was organised by the regional government of Cajamarca, the Ministry of Education and the DVV International Peru Office.
The report in Spanish can be accessed on the DVV International Peru website: www.dvv-international.edu.pe