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How to Leverage AI Teaching Apps

ai teaching apps
(Image credit: Pixabay)

After two years of online, hybrid, and modified in-person teaching, it is certain that this upcoming school year will be both exciting and challenging. As many teachers relied on the use of edtech tools and online platforms to ensure continued learning for students during the recent pandemic, taking it to the next level by using artificial intelligence or AI teaching apps to help you teach can be a great practice. 

You may already be using some such as ClassDojo (opens in new tab) for virtually assisted classroom management, or others that monitor plagiarism (opens in new tab) such as Plagiarism Checker X (opens in new tab) and the Editor feature in Microsoft Word or Outlook email. 

So how do teaching apps that use artificial intelligence actually work? AI allows digital tools to think, respond, create, and compute as if they were a human doing so, using algorithms and information available. Consequently, leveraging these platforms and apps can support teachers in making their jobs more efficient, effective, and even exciting. Meaning, you can have more time to teach and connect with your students and spend less time on mundane administrative tasks. 

What follows are a range of AI teaching apps that can be leveraged in all learning settings, grade levels, and academic subject areas.

AI Teaching Apps: Automated Grading 

We all know that grading takes a significant amount of time that could be used to further engage students in learning experiences. Teachers can rely on edtech tools such as Gradescope (opens in new tab), which uses AI to administer and grade assessments for teachers while giving students feedback with explanations on how they can respond to questions in the future. Gradescope also allows for different types of assessments including traditional exams, bubble sheets, worksheets, projects, and problem sets. Some of the subjects that Gradescope supports include biology, computer science, chemistry, economics, engineering, physics, and math. 

Google Classroom (opens in new tab) can also give teachers extra time through customizable-yet-automated comments within assignments by using embedded features with AI technology. 

Tutoring, Coaching, and Extra Support 

Apple has Siri, Amazon has Alexa, and teachers have chatbots. Instead of spending time answering frequently asked questions related to the lesson, using new edtech tools, navigating online platforms, or other questions that students and their families tend to ask year after year, AI chatbots can be used. Some of these include Botsify (opens in new tab), Ocelot (opens in new tab), and Juji (opens in new tab), and each have different levels and features based on teachers’ needs. 

Apps such as Duolingo (opens in new tab) for language use AI and algorithms to help students practice through repetition based on their individual progress. And social media-like AI platforms such as Brainly (opens in new tab) serve as a social community space as well as a place for extra support while working through learning content.  

Personalized and Deeper Learning 

It would be great if teachers could multiply themselves, but it is usually just one of us with a full roster of students! However, by using AI apps, students can engage with personalized and adaptive learning situations through tools such as Cognii (opens in new tab). Because the AI adapts to students as they progress through the scenarios, deeper learning can occur. Students can also build their critical thinking skills and since the feedback is in real-time, there are no gaps between exposure to content and getting questions answered regarding how to move forward. 

Students can also use platforms such as Grammarly (opens in new tab) that are powered by AI to work on writing, rephrasing, grammar, and sentence structure. 

Extended Learning and Content Creation 

Extended learning opportunities and homework provides additional chances for students to connect with the learning material. Since students will not have the teacher with them to support their completion of the work, AI apps such as Socratic (opens in new tab) can be used. With Soractic, visual and step-by-step explanations are provided to students based on how they responded to questions/prompts, while voice- and text-recognition features allow the tool to provide relevant responses to a plethora of questions. Socratic can be used for many subjects, including literature, science, social studies, and math.  

Do not worry about creating content– AI teaching apps such as through Flexudy (opens in new tab) have you covered there. 

While there are a variety of options that will allow teachers to leverage AI to maximize teaching and learning, these are nowhere near perfect. In fact, there are privacy and ethical issues that we must be cognizant about. Machines (bots) are programmed by people who inherently bring their own bias to the programming that makes AI work. This is important to be aware of as you try different edtech tools that use AI for automated grading, tutoring, coaching and extra support, personalized and deeper learning opportunities, and extended learning and content creation.

Dr. Stephanie Smith Budhai is an associate clinical professor in the department of Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum at Drexel University, in Pennsylvania. She holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies and K-12 teaching certifications in Technology Education, Instructional Technology and Business, Computers, Information Technology, Special Education and Elementary Education. She is also the 2021 Emerging Leader for the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) and the 2017 ISTE Awardee for Excellence in Teacher Education. Dr. Smith Budhai is a Nearpod, VoiceThread, and Google Level 1 Certified Educator.  Dr. Smith Budhai has more than a decade of online teaching experience, and has published myriad books, articles, and invited editorials surrounding the use of technology and online learning in education. Her publications include: 

- Leveraging Digital Tools to Assess Student Learning  (opens in new tab)

- Increasing Engagement in Online Learning: Quick Reference Guide (opens in new tab)

- Culturally Responsive Teaching Online and In-Person: An Action Planner for Dynamic Equitable Learning Environments  (opens in new tab)

- Teaching the 4Cs with Technology (opens in new tab)

- Best Practices in Engaging Online Learners through Active and Experiential Learning Strategies (opens in new tab)

- Nurturing Young Innovators: Cultivating Creativity in the Classroom, Home and Community (opens in new tab)