Wednesday, February 7, 2024

AI and EdTech to the Rescue: Crafting Customized Practice for ELA State Exams

Creating engaging and effective learning materials that mirror state assessment questions can significantly enhance students' preparation for English Language Art state exams. With the advent of AI tools like Bard, ChatGPT, Dall-E, and Quizizz, educators now have the capability to craft customized practice questions and tasks that not only align with state standards but also help cater to the diverse needs of their students. Here are some ideas on how to utilize these tools for this purpose.

Google Bard

Use Bard to construct articles across various subjects at the appropriate grade level. For instance, if you're looking for a 5th-grade science article about ecosystems, Bard can help you build content that matches this criterion. Remember to always vet the results using your content knowledge and other tools.

Sample Prompt: Write an article of approximately [insert length] that is written at a [enter grade] grade level about [enter topic]. Provide similar claims and structure as this article: [Paste text of original article].

  • Fact check with Google by clicking the Google logo below the results. The highlighted portions lead to clickable links to sources. Use this to help vet the results.
  • Prompt further to make longer or shorter based on need
  • Paste new article into Google Docs for future reference

Given an article or a piece of content, ChatGPT can be tasked with generating questions that are similar to those found in state assessments. For example, if the article discusses the water cycle, ChatGPT can formulate multiple-choice or open-ended questions that test students' understanding of this topic. If you have a sample question written in a specific manner and structure, prompt ChatGPT to write a new question about a new text using that structure. Repeat this process for each section of the article to ensure comprehensive coverage.

Sample Prompt: Based on this text [paste article text here], write a question similar to this: [enter question type or sample question]

  • Repeat for all questions
  • If you have text dependent questions from other assessments, you can paste them in to have ChatGPT write similar questions for your new text
  • If you're wondering why I didn't have Bard do this originally? In my experience, ChatGPT has been more effective remixing text and structure.
  • Add to Google Docs

Dall-E and Adobe Firefly

Enhance the visual appeal of your practice questions and tasks by using Dall-E to create images related to the article's content. These images can be inserted into the text and questions to provide visual cues or serve as the basis for questions themselves, thereby aiding in students' comprehension and retention of the material.

Although Dall-E offers robust capabilities for image creation, to get the most out of it, you will need a paid subscription. Adobe Firefly can also be a valuable tool for educators needing specific imagery. At the moment, Firefly is free. Use detailed prompts to generate images that can then be inserted into your documents, potentially after adjustments to fit the desired layout.

Sample Dall-E Prompt: [type or paste descriptive criteria from article details]

  • Add images to text and question on Google Docs
  • Insert image using Insert Drawing function to have ability to crop into different shapes and wrap around text much like they might see on the exam
  • Dall-E is solid, but works best with a premium ChatGPT subscription
  • Adobe Firefly works well too and is free
Digital Delivery with Quizizz

Transform your article and accompanying questions into an interactive Quizizz lesson. Start with a title slide featuring the article's title, followed by slides that guide students through reading the article, either digitally or in print. You may want to link the article file on this slide since students often access the text digitally on state exams. Then, incorporate the questions you've created using ChatGPT, adding relevant images from Dall-E or Adobe Firefly. Design the quiz to include both multiple-choice and open-ended questions, setting appropriate time limits for each. Quizizz allows for both synchronous classroom engagement and asynchronous learning, giving flexibility in how students access and interact with the material. The robust reports produced by Quizizz are valuable tools for evaluating student progress and facilitating discussion in a PLC.

This entire process, the tips and sample prompts were all borne from prompt engineering. Prompts were entered and revised multiple times to produce the mimicked assessment resources. Click here to access a sample of a 7th grade ELA assessment task type that was mirrored from a released sample question. 

Friday, February 2, 2024

Empower English Learners and Teachers with Translation Chrome Extensions

In today's digital age, supporting English language learners (ELLs) has become increasingly innovative, thanks to simple yet effective tech tools. One of the game-changers in this field is the array of Google Chrome extensions designed to aid ELLs in navigating and comprehending the vast world of English content online. These tools are not just helpful; they can transform the way ELLs engage with language learning.

Imagine a student encountering a challenging text online. With these Chrome extensions (click here to access my favorite), they can simply highlight the text, and instantly, a small popup appears, offering the text translated into their home language. But it doesn't stop there. The popup also includes a button to have the text read aloud in their native language. This feature is incredibly empowering for English learners, allowing them to take control of their learning experience. They no longer have to rely solely on teachers or classmates to understand content, instructions, and more, fostering a sense of independence and confidence in their language acquisition journey.
Here is an example of how a student can use this tool in Google Classroom. Note the speaker button that, when clicked, will read the text aloud to them.

Here is a real photograph captured in a classroom situated in rural Tulare County, California. The student depicted speaks and reads limited English; however, they are utilizing a translation Chrome extension. This tool, approved by the school and deployed to student accounts, enables them to access instructions in Google Classroom. Similar to the example mentioned earlier, it features a speaker button that allows the text to be read aloud.

But the benefits of these Chrome extensions are not limited to students alone. Teachers, too, can leverage these tools to create a more inclusive and efficient learning environment. In California, where Spanish is the predominant second language, these extensions are invaluable. When preparing instructions, resources, or activities on platforms like Google Classroom, Quizizz, Blooket, Kahoot, Quizlet, and Gimkit, teachers can use these extensions for quick and convenient side-by-side translations of instructions, questions and answer choices.

The wisdom behind incorporating these tech tools provide side by side translation is that it allows teachers to provide all students with one version of a quiz, game, assignment, etc., keeping all responses, regardless of language, in one place. This approach not only simplifies the teacher's task, but also helps ELLs feel more included. They don't feel singled out or different because they are given the same version of activities as their peers. With just a few more clicks, coupled with some copying and pasting, teachers can make a significant difference in the inclusivity and effectiveness of their instruction.

These simple tech tools showcase the potential of technology to help bridge gaps in language learning and curriculum access. They are by no means a magic bullet or cure all for the support of English learners. By embracing such innovations, educators can enhance their support for English learners, making the learning experience more accessible, engaging, and empowering for all students while they engage in other, more in-depth and research-based instruction. 

The video below demonstrates a translation extension in real time with Quizizz and Google Classroom.