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As educators, we’re dedicated to creating learning environments that cater to the diverse needs of our learners. In today’s educational landscape, personalized learning has emerged as a key strategy to address individual learner profiles, interests and abilities. With the advent of generative AI tools now accessible to the general public, educators have an incredible opportunity to bring personalized learning with AI to life in every classroom.
What is personalized learning?
Personalized learning is an educational model that aims to customize learning for each student’s strengths, needs, preferences and interests. It often involves:
- Adjusting the pace of instruction: Allowing students to learn at their own speed.
- Tailoring teaching methods: Adapting the way subjects are taught to suit different learning styles.
- Leveraging student interests: Integrating topics and activities that engage and motivate learners.
UDL: The foundation of personalized learning
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is the backbone of personalized learning, advocating for multiple means of representation to accommodate the diverse ways learners perceive and comprehend information. This approach is essential for inclusivity, recognizing that learners’ needs vary. UDL emphasizes the importance of presenting information in various formats, such as text, visual, auditory, and interactive, to ensure that learning is accessible and meaningful for every student.
AI’s role in personalized learning
AI tools play a crucial role in actualizing UDL principles, making it feasible for educators to create diverse and adaptable content without being overwhelmed by the workload.
Let’s explore how personalized learning with AI can easily create multiple means of representation. We’ll use an example from a science lesson for ages 11-13. The lesson focuses on the conservation of mass in chemical reactions, with this specific standard:
“Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.”
Customizing text with AI chatbots
The curriculum provides the following explanation for the concept of conservation of mass in chemical reactions:
In chemical reactions, substances undergo changes to form new materials. Despite these transformations, one of the fundamental principles of chemistry is the conservation of mass. This principle states that the total number of atoms remains constant throughout the reaction. Atoms are neither created nor destroyed; they are simply rearranged. As a result, the mass of the reactants (the starting substances) is equal to the mass of the products (the substances formed). This law is crucial for understanding chemical reactions and is a cornerstone of chemical equations and stoichiometry.
Educators can use a conversational AI chatbot, such as ChatGPT or Bard, to quickly customize this text to learners’ needs. For instance, to simplify the text for learners aged 11-13, one might use this prompt:
“Please simplify this text for students aged 11-13: <copy and paste text>.”
A potential AI-generated simplification could be:
In chemical reactions, which are like recipes for making new stuff, the substances change to create new materials. Even though they change a lot, there’s a super important rule in chemistry called the conservation of mass. This means that the total number of tiny bits called atoms doesn’t change during the reaction. These atoms don’t disappear or magically appear; they just move around and stick together in new ways. So, the amount of stuff you start with (called reactants) is the same as what you end up with (called products). Understanding this rule helps us figure out how different materials react together and is really important for learning more about chemistry.
Prompting to customize text to a specific age range can be subjective. Therefore, to further tailor the content, educators could also adjust the text to a specific reading level:
“Please adjust this text to a 900 Lexile score: <copy and paste text>.”
The revised text might read:
In chemical reactions, substances change to make new materials. Even though they change, a key rule in chemistry is that the total number of atoms stays the same. This rule is called the conservation of mass. It means that atoms are not made or destroyed; they just move around and join in new ways. Because of this, the mass of the starting substances, called reactants, is the same as the mass of the new substances formed, known as products. This important rule helps us understand how chemical reactions work and is a basic part of learning about chemical equations and stoichiometry.
Now that the text is adjusted to learners’ reading levels, educators can take it even a step further and customize text to learners’ interests. Let’s imagine learners are interested in sports:
“Please edit to relate this concept to sports: <copy and paste text>.”
An AI-generated example linking the concept to sports could be:
In chemical reactions, substances change to make new materials, similar to how a relay race involves changes in runners. Just as a baton is passed from one runner to another without adding or losing any batons, in chemistry, the total number of atoms stays the same even though they change. This key rule is known as the conservation of mass. It means that atoms, like the batons in a relay race, are not made or destroyed; they simply move from one substance to another, joining in new ways. Consequently, the mass of the starting substances, called reactants, is the same as the mass of the new substances formed, known as products. This important rule, mirroring the constant number of batons in a relay race, helps us understand how chemical reactions work and is a basic part of learning about chemical equations and stoichiometry.
This prompt was left fairly open, and the AI used a relay race to create an analogy between atoms and a baton. However, a specific sport could be used in the prompt to further customize the text.
If you have learners whose interests lie elsewhere, add another prompt to customize the text to a different topic: gaming, makeup, anime, theater, anything!
Once educators have various versions of content customized to reading levels and/or interests, the “Groups” and “Share files” features of Hāpara Teacher Dashboard enable them to share these versions out with a couple of quick clicks. This tool streamlines the process of distributing personalized learning materials, ensuring that each student receives content that resonates with their unique learning style and interests.
Converting text into audio and video formats
AI technology also simplifies the transformation of written text into engaging audio and video formats. This process, which once seemed daunting, is now accessible and quick, thanks to user-friendly AI tools.
Creating audio content: For auditory learners, converting text to audio can enhance understanding and retention. Tools like Speechki offer a straightforward way to achieve this. For example, the explanation from our science lesson can be easily turned into an audio recording, providing an alternative way for learners to absorb the material:
Creating video content: Many learners benefit from visual representations. AI tools like Pictory can transform scripts into videos in a matter of minutes. Below is an example video illustrating the chemical reactions-relay race analogy, complete with a transcript for added accessibility.
From articles to podcasts: When educators have articles like Conservation of mass that they want students to engage with, AI can help personalize learning. Tools such as Recast can turn these articles into podcasts, complete with transcripts, making the content more dynamic and accessible.
Generating video transcripts
YouTube videos are a staple in modern classrooms, offering a dynamic way to present new concepts. To ensure these resources are accessible to all learners, it’s crucial that videos provide subtitles. Beyond subtitles, having a transcript of the video can significantly enhance accessibility. Transcripts allow students to follow along with the video content in a text format, catering to different learning preferences and needs.
AI tools have made the creation of video transcripts remarkably straightforward. For instance, Kome is an AI-powered tool that can generate a complete transcript of any YouTube video. Give it a try with this conservation of mass video.
Bringing it all together with Hāpara Workspace
AI helps teachers quickly create multiple means of representation for the same content, and Hāpara Workspace is the perfect platform for sharing these resources with students.
Workspace allows educators to:
- Organize and present diverse learning materials in a structured, accessible manner.
- Customize learning experiences by incorporating a variety of content formats.
- Monitor student engagement and progress effectively.
Simply add the standard to the first column of a Workspace. Then, add the various content versions to the second column. Include assessment options in column three and you have a Workspace personalized to diverse student needs!
By leveraging AI tools in line with UDL principles, educators can simplify the process of personalized learning. This approach not only makes learning more inclusive but also prepares students for a future where adaptability and personalized experiences are the norms. With platforms like Hāpara Workspace, integrating these diverse learning materials becomes seamless, further enhancing the educational experience for both teachers and students.