AI improves Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning (UDL), a crucial framework for improving accessibility, assists teachers in creating inclusive instruction. This framework enables students to access content in various formats, express understanding through multiple modalities, and engage with captivating content—all contributing to equity.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an emerging technology that can support educators in establishing a more UDL-friendly environment. While some teachers may be hesitant about students utilizing generative AI, reframing it as a research assistant, brainstorming collaborator, and tutor rather than just a tool for quick answers can foster ethical use. Both student- and teacher-facing AI tools have the potential to enrich engagement, representation, and expression in the classroom. Here, I present two such tools utilized in my English classes, with many others undergoing rapid development.

Using AI for UDL

SchoolAI is a tool that allows students to access information in various ways and offers teachers the ability to personalize AI chatbots, known as spaces, for specific learning contexts. For instance, utilizing the historical chatbot generator, teachers can prompt students to engage with a chatbot embodying an author or historical figure, and teachers can also create their own.

Interacting with a chatbot not only provides students with information but also teaches them how to engage in meaningful conversations with AI, a skill vital for the future. Students choose how to synthesize the information learned from AI, with some opting for note-taking while others prefer graphic organizers. Each student’s chat session is unique, sparking diverse outcomes and fostering engaging collaborative discussions among peers. Post-chat, I guide students to fact-check and assess information for biases before drawing conclusions from AI interactions, an essential step in cultivating responsible AI usage. Resources such as frameworks prove beneficial for students in evaluating gleaned information.

Enhancing Individualized Learning

Aiming for equitable, personalized learning aligns with the ultimate UDL goal. SchoolAI supports UDL by incorporating a text-to-speech function that enables students to listen to AI conversations, and a speech-to-text tool allows verbal responses instead of written ones. This multimodal approach ensures every student can participate, even those facing challenges in reading or writing, thereby promoting inclusive learning and heightened engagement.

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