I don’t know where you are reading this, but for me it’s the end of the summer break! So I hope you are enjoying some well-earned downtime! When we get to the point where we think about AI, 2023 will probably be remembered as the year AI hit the mainstream. There has been a lot made about it and how it will/already has/can change education. There is an increasing amount of news space being given to the fears of AI: how it could take over, be used for dark means, and replace people in their jobs. The last one has already happened to some degree, and may continue to happen in certain fields, but with the onset of AI and removal of some jobs, there will be the creation of new/other jobs. Opportunity can arise from difficulty if you are ready for it.
There has been lots of talk about how AI will impact education. Reports have already shown how tools like ChatGPT can have an active impact on a students’ grades in university. Schools have had the fear-mongering over how it will impact teaching and every student will cheat on homework and coursework. To this, I would say yes of course we’re going to see it being used by pupils. But that’s only half the story. Every pupil has a writing style that we will be aware of. A turn of phrase, a way of explaining concepts in their own words. When this suddenly transforms to into flawless writing that contains a level that we (as teachers) would struggle to maintain, then hopefully you will be able to spot this very easily. I did an experiment with the other subject leaders in our school where they provided me with an exam question and I gave them the answer. In most instances, the staff were able to say this wasn’t written by a pupil and in nearly every subject, the answer did not follow to exam specifications. This would mean that pupils will not score highly in submitting an AI-generated answer as it will be missing much of the nuanced expertise and exam technique that teachers know to provide to their students.
So to the topic at hand! When we think about using AI to help meet the needs of our students, we can think of the needs of all of our students. There will be students who need extra assistance and there will be students who need to be challenged. Using AI can help us to meet the academic needs of our pupils while allowing us to continue engaging with our students and delivering high quality teaching and learning.
USING AI TO CREATE DIFFERENTIATED MATERIALS
Using AI can help teachers to create a wide ranging number of learning materials that are appropriately differentiated in a short period of time when compared to the traditional/historical methods of creating differentiated material for class activities. Using AI can be a new and powerful way to cater for the diverse needs and abilities of multiple learners in a way that saves time for the teacher. Here’s a quick guide on how you can utilise AI for this purpose:
Understand the Learner Profiles: Begin by analysing the characteristics and learning profiles of your students. Consider their strengths, weaknesses, interests, and learning preferences. This will help you identify the areas where differentiation can be most beneficial.
Collect and Analyse Data: Gather relevant data about your students, such as their academic performance, assessment results, and feedback. This data will serve as the foundation for creating personalised and differentiated learning experiences.
Implement AI Tools: Explore AI-powered tools and platforms specifically designed for education. These tools can assist in generating differentiated materials by leveraging machine learning algorithms and natural language processing.
Adaptive Learning Systems: We can implement adaptive learning systems that use AI algorithms to adjust the difficulty level and content of learning materials based on individual student progress. These systems can provide personalised recommendations, adaptive quizzes, and interactive content tailored to each student’s needs.
Natural Language Generation: Utilise natural language generation (NLG) techniques to automatically generate customised learning materials. NLG can transform structured data, such as assessment results or individual profiles, into human-readable content like lesson plans, worksheets, or interactive tutorials.
Intelligent Tutoring Systems: Deploy intelligent tutoring systems that use AI techniques to provide individualised guidance and support. These systems can simulate one-on-one interactions, offer hints or explanations, and adapt their instructional strategies to match each student’s learning pace.
Gamification and Simulation: Incorporate gamification elements and simulations into the learning materials. AI algorithms can adjust the game dynamics or simulation parameters to challenge each student appropriately. This approach fosters engagement, motivation, and skill development in a personalised manner.
Continuous Assessment and Feedback: Leverage AI-based assessment tools to track students’ progress in real-time. These tools can provide immediate feedback, identify knowledge gaps, and recommend suitable learning resources to address those gaps effectively.
Iterative Improvement: Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the AI-driven differentiated learning materials. Analyse data, collect feedback from students, and make necessary adjustments to refine and enhance the personalised learning experience.
Human Guidance and Intervention: While AI can play a significant role in creating differentiated learning materials, it is essential to balance it with human guidance and intervention. Teachers should provide mentorship, monitor student progress, and offer additional support when needed.
Remember that AI is a tool, designed to augment, improve and support your teaching, it cannot replace you. Creating a combination of AI-driven differentiated materials and human instruction can lead to more effective and personalised learning experiences for students.
USING AI TO CREATE MULTIPLE MEANS OF REPRESENTATION
Using AI can help teachers to create multiple means of representation which can enhance the accessibility and engagement of learning materials for students with diverse learning styles and needs. Here’s a quick guide on how to leverage AI for this purpose:
Identify Learning Objectives: Determine the learning objectives or concepts you want to teach. Understanding the content and the desired learning outcomes is crucial for creating multiple representations effectively.
Select AI Tools: Explore AI-powered tools and platforms that can assist in generating different types of representations. Look for tools that offer capabilities such as image recognition, natural language processing, and data visualisation.
Text-to-Speech Conversion: Utilising AI-based text-to-speech (TTS) technology to convert written text into spoken words. This allows students with visual impairments or reading difficulties to access textual content through auditory means.
Speech-to-Text Conversion: We can use AI-driven speech-to-text (STT) technology to transcribe spoken words into written text. This can help students who struggle with writing or prefer to express themselves verbally.
Image Recognition and Description: Using AI models that can recognise objects, scenes, or visual elements within images. These models can provide alternative text descriptions or audio explanations for images, making visual content accessible to visually impaired or blind students.
Visualisations and Infographics: Leverage AI-powered data visualisation tools to transform complex information or data sets into interactive visual representations. Visualisations, such as graphs, charts, and infographics, can help students better understand and analyse the content.
Interactive Simulations: Explore AI-based simulation tools that allow students to interact with virtual environments or scenarios related to the learning objectives. Simulations can help students grasp abstract concepts by providing hands-on experiences and opportunities for exploration.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): Utilising AI technologies in AR or VR applications to create immersive and interactive learning experiences. AR and VR can provide students with different perspectives, spatial understanding, and sensory engagement, enhancing their comprehension and retention of the content.
Natural Language Generation (NLG): Employ NLG techniques to automatically generate written explanations, summaries, or lesson materials in various formats. NLG can create diverse representations, such as text-based summaries, bullet points, or concept maps, to cater to different learning preferences.
Personalised Recommendations: Leverage AI algorithms to provide personalised recommendations for learning materials. AI can analyse individual learning profiles, preferences, and performance data to suggest resources in different formats, accommodating the needs and interests of each student.
Collaborative Learning Platforms: Implement AI-powered collaborative learning platforms that facilitate communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing among students. These platforms can support diverse means of representation through features like real-time translation, visual annotation, or multimedia integration.
Accessibility Testing and Feedback: Ensure the accessibility and usability of AI-generated representations by conducting accessibility testing and gathering feedback from students with different abilities. Regularly assess and improve the accessibility features of your materials based on the feedback received.
Remember that AI is a tool that can assist in generating multiple means of representation, but it’s crucial to use AI to build content for the specific needs of your students. We need to regularly assess the effectiveness of the representations and gather feedback to refine and improve the learning experience for all learners.
USING AI TO CREATE ASSESSMENTS AND EXPLORING ANALYTICS
AI can be a valuable tool for brainstorming alternative and authentic assessments that go beyond traditional methods and doing so quickly. One Here’s how we can leverage AI for this purpose:
Define Learning Objectives: Begin by clearly defining the learning objectives or skills you want to assess. This will help guide the brainstorming process and ensure that the assessments align with the desired outcomes.
Analyse Learning Data: Utilise AI techniques to analyse learning data, such as student performance, feedback, and cognitive models. This analysis can reveal patterns, misconceptions, or gaps that can inform the design of alternative assessments.
Explore AI-Enabled Assessment Tools: Research and explore AI-enabled assessment tools and platforms specifically designed for generating alternative assessments. These tools may incorporate machine learning algorithms, natural language processing, or data analytics to provide innovative assessment approaches.
Performance-Based Assessments: Use AI to design performance-based assessments that require students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in real-world or authentic contexts. AI algorithms can analyse student performance data and provide insights on how to design tasks that assess application and problem-solving abilities.
Adaptive and Personalised Assessments: Leverage AI to create adaptive and personalised assessments that adjust the difficulty level and content based on individual student performance and needs. AI algorithms can generate tailored assessment items, adaptive quizzes, or interactive tasks to match each student’s abilities and challenge them appropriately.
Automated Scoring and Feedback: Utilize AI-powered automated scoring systems to provide objective and efficient evaluation of student responses. AI algorithms can analyse written or coded answers, assess the quality and correctness, and provide instant feedback to students.
Natural Language Processing: Employ natural language processing (NLP) techniques to analyse and evaluate student-written responses. AI-powered NLP models can assess the clarity, coherence, and accuracy of written work, allowing for more authentic assessments of students’ communication and writing skills.
Data Analytics for Assessment Insights: Utilise AI-based data analytics tools to analyse large-scale assessment data and identify patterns, trends, or insights that can inform the design of alternative assessments. AI can help identify assessment items that are particularly challenging or discriminative, leading to more effective and targeted assessment strategies.
Multimedia and Project-Based Assessments: Utilise AI to design assessments that incorporate multimedia elements or require students to complete authentic, project-based tasks. AI algorithms can assist in evaluating multimedia submissions, assessing creativity, collaboration, or multimedia production skills.
Peer and Self-Assessments: Implement AI-supported peer and self-assessment platforms that facilitate the evaluation and feedback exchange among students. AI algorithms can assist in matching student evaluations, detecting patterns in peer feedback, or providing guidance for self-assessment processes.
Iterative Improvement: Continuously evaluate the effectiveness of the AI-generated alternative assessments. Analyse student performance data, collect feedback from students and educators, and iterate on the assessment design based on the insights gained. Regularly refine and enhance the AI-driven assessments to ensure their authenticity and effectiveness.
Teacher Expertise and Review: While AI can assist in generating alternative assessments, it’s essential to involve teacher expertise in the process. Teachers can review and validate the AI-generated assessments, ensure alignment with learning objectives, and provide the necessary contextualisation and interpretation of assessment results.
I’ll remind you again here, that AI is a tool that supports your assessment design. It should always be combined with sound (and efective) pedagogy, as well as the professional judgment of a teacher. You will play a crucial role in interpreting AI-generated insights, providing context, and utilising alternative assessments effectively to foster meaningful learning experiences. AI will provide the quickl-assembled tools that you can put to use through your knowledge of student needs as well as fulfilling course requirements.
Like many tools we use in the classroom, the more we use it, the more confident we will be in using it and the more effective we will become as teachers. The use of AI can save us precious time and cognitive workload in so many varied ways that the best advice I can give is to play around with it, see what it can do for you in your subject area and move forward from there.