St. Vrain Valley School Special Education Staff are exploring Artificial Intelligence (AI) to personalize educational content in order to create a more inclusive learning environment that empowers students with disabilities to thrive academically and socially.
Imagine being able to cater teacher lessons to students’ specific interests and likes, such as sports, animals, travel, and pop culture. For one teacher, she is doing just that. Cassie Chase, Life Skills ACE special education teacher, is getting on board with AI because she sees how beneficial it can be for student learning.
For example, Chase has a Dr. Seuss loving student that struggles with keeping appropriate hands. She had the idea to create a social story that would not only help with the students’ reading comprehension goal, it would also teach the student how to maintain appropriate hands in a fun, engaging way. She said, “I had the initial idea and knew I wanted to create a Dr. Seuss inspired story, but I wasn’t sure how to do that on my own. I used ChatGPT and it generated a really great story and I only had to tweak a few things.”
Utilizing AI gave Chase the opportunity to create a tailor-made story that provided exactly what she wanted in a quick, easy way. “The biggest benefit of AI tools is it helps you get started with an idea that you have. It might not create exactly what you’re looking for the first time, but it gives you something that you can modify. It’s a timesaver and it’s fun,” Chase said.
District special education teachers and providers are encouraged to explore the use of AI to support instruction, evaluation/IEP writing, student accommodations and differentiation.
Staff have access to many sites that are supported by the district, such as ChatGPT, Drift, Magic School and Adobe Firefly, to name a few.
St. Vrain has also launched ‘Exploration AI,’ which is a year-long professional development program designed to equip educators with the knowledge and tools needed to integrate AI technology into their teaching practices and curricula. This program also offers some pop-up monthly training sessions that focus on promoting collaborative dialogue and shared learning. These sessions will include demonstrations and hands-on experimentation, all designed to improve participants’ pedagogical tactics and deepen their comprehension of various AI applications.