One of the challenges of teaching is ensuring that your lessons are designed in a way that supports the learning of the all the students in your class. In the average classroom you might differentiate for high potential students, lower ability students, and EAL/D students. (Adjustments for students with specific diagnoses or disabilities will be addressed in another post).
What role can AI play in supporting differentiation?
Let's assume you already have a lesson planned for students of general ability on a topic. Either post it online somewhere publicly so that you can just direct the AI tool to the website, or summarise your lesson plan so that it can be easily copy and pasted (ensure the formatting is super simple).
Some prompts you could use in a tool like ChatGPT are:
As a trial, of this process I ran the following prompt:
ChatGPT produced a 7-point guide on differentiating the lesson (it was about a page and a half long) including suggestions related to content, process and product differentiation. Examples included providing advanced reading and opportunities for individual exploration (each with several sentences explaining how to do this). It provided a few options for allowing students to use different learning pathways, and also a few options of different products the students could create to demonstrate learning. Some of the advice provided was a bit generic, about differentiation strategies generally, but there were several good suggestions that were practical and could be easily used in the classroom.
Following this I tried the following prompt:
This prompt provided seven different lesson activities which were reasonably original and fairly different to each other. This was even more successful when I choose a specific learning ability (e.g. for example a student with low literacy levels).
I'm still exploring what this can do for supporting teachers to differentiate, but in these first few tentative steps I think AI definitely has something significant to offer. Moving forward, it will be fairly simple to create multiple differentiated versions of the same lesson very quickly to best cater for our students. The key is going to be knowing how to ask for what you want. My hint: keep asking more questions...
Deputy Principal at a Sydney high school. Coordinating author of the Geoactive text book series.