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by Melinda Rhodes-DiSalvo
Critical to the success of learners in higher education is a sense of academic and personal belonging and instructional approaches that make our teaching more effective for all students. For those identified as neurodiverse, a sense of belonging is especially impactful and may be developed through careful attention to course and instructional design and practices.
Strategies for Teaching with AI to Promote Learning
One way writing scholars and experts have approached the rise of AI technologies in educational settings is to treat it like any new and impactful technology that comes with nuance, literacy, and a learning curve, for both students and faculty. There are also important ethical considerations of using and working with these tools that all users should keep in mind. Here are some ways that AI tools like ChatGPT and Google Bard can be used to aid student learning in the classroom, especially in terms of student writing and writing development, as well as some limitations and ethical considerations to be aware of.
Workplaces increasingly call for employees to collaborate on tasks together, be it brainstorming initial ideas, finding solutions to problems, or formally writing reports and recommendations. Writing and learning are inherently social, and students benefit from working together with their peers (Adler-Kassner & Wardle, 2015; Ambrose et al., 2011). Introducing group and team writing and work assignments can thus be an effective pedagogical intervention to incorporate into your courses.
The concept of “creating classroom community” is important for a student-centered and more inclusive classroom. Students learn in classroom communities of practice (Wenger, 1998), which can be understood as “a kind of community created over time by the sustained pursuit of a shared enterprise” (45). In other words, students learn together with other people moving toward the same goals. Their learning is an ongoing, social process impacted by others in their various communities. Thus, students already exist in a classroom community (and in other classroom communities), and instructors can intentionally and meaningfully support learning in that community through the way the course is structured and other activities and teaching approaches.
Writing is a useful tool for learning that can be utilized in your classroom, regardless of which subject you teach (or at which level). “Writing” can be broadly understood as anything that communicates meaning, including not only extended formal prose but all communication including charts, graphs, slides, and presentations. In this way, writing might present itself different across disciplines and contexts, but all disciplines write, and can design meaningful writing assignments to promote deep learning in the classroom. In this resource, you can find researched-based strategies for designing meaningful writing assignments in your courses that promote deep learning.
Online discussions can be a generative way to help students engage with one another over course content, especially for online course contexts (although also applicable to in-person courses). Research shows that students benefit from social interactions in the classroom and out (Ambrose et al., 2011; Bean & Melzer, 2021). In this resource, we provide recommendations on how to facilitate effective online discussions, drawing from various articles and sources (included at the end for you to view as further reading).