1. AI Episode 1: Intro to Artificial Intelligence in Teaching
  2. AI Episode 2: What Does An AI Teaching Assistant Look Like?
  3. AI Episode 3: Implications for Thought Leaders and Policy Developers
  4. Introducing Simulations into Teacher Preparation Programs
  5. Assistive Technology to Support Writing
  6. Enhancing Instruction and Empowering Educators with AI Tools and Technology
  7. So, AI Ruined Your Term Paper Assignment?
  8. Step by Step Use of Chat GPT
  9. CIDDL ChatGPT: Summarizing Text
  10. CIDDL ChatGPT: Solving Multiple Choice Questions
  11. Equity, Diversity, and Access to Technology in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
  12. CIDDL ChatGPT: Writing Programs
  13. CIDDL ChatGPT: Solving Word Problems
  14. Artificial Intelligence: Positives and Negatives in the Mathematics Classroom
  15. AI to Support Literacy
  16. Using the AI Bill of Rights to Guide Education’s use of AI and the European Commission’s “Ethical Guidelines for Teaching and Learning” to Guide the Future of AI in Education Part 1 of 2
  17. Using the AI Bill of Rights to Guide Education’s use of AI and the European Commission’s “Ethical Guidelines for Teaching and Learning” to Guide the Future of AI in Education Part 2 of 2
  18. Three Free & Easy Tools to Support Tiered Reading in Your Classroom
  19. The Question of Equity in the Age of ChatGPT
  20. CIDDList: 5 AIs You Need to Check Out This Summer!
  21. Mixed Reality Simulations, Personalized Learning, AI, and the Future of Education with Dr. Chris Dede
  22. Foundations for AI and the Future of Teaching and Learning from the US Department of Educational Technology
  23. Apple Enters the AR/VR/MR/XR Scene
  24. ChatGPT, AIs, and the IEP?
  25. There’s An AI for That: A Site Dedicated to Curating AIs
  26. UDL, Design Learning, and Personalized Learning
  27. Embracing the Future: How Teachers Can Harness AI at the Beginning of the School Year
  28. Empowering Special Education Faculty: Navigating the AI Landscape in Higher Education for 2023-2024.
  29. CIDDList: Back-to-School Checklist for Technology in Teacher Preparation Courses
  30. Cracking the Code: Students with Disabilities in the Computer Sciences 
  31. UNESCO Discusses Artificial Intelligence
  32. AI-integrated Apps for Those with Visual Impairments: Camera-Based Identifiers and Readers
  33. Publishers Respond to Generative AI
  34. K-12 Generative AI Readiness Checklist
  35. CIDDL Talks How AI Will Change Special Education at TED
  36. Re-designing and Aligning an Intro to Special Education Class to the UDL Framework through Technology Integration: Minimizing Threats and Distractions
  37. Resources for Learning About AI Going Into 2024
  38. Artificial Intelligence in Education 2023: A Year in Review
  39. Revolutionizing Mathematics Education in K-12 with AI: The Role of ChatGPT
  40. Image Generating AI and Implications for Teacher Preparation
  41. Are We There Yet? AI for Statistical Analysis
  42. Answers to Your AI Questions: A Conversation with Yacine Tazi
  43. Emerging Trends in Special Education Technology: A Doctoral Scholar Symposium
  44. 2024: A Space Odyssey? How AI and Technology of the Present Compares to HAL9000 and the Predictions of 2001: A Space Odyssey
  45. Using ChatGPT for Writing Lesson Plans
  46. Updates in the World of AI
  47. CIDDList: Exploring GPTs Available with ChatGPT Plus
  48. Prompt Engineering for Teachers Using Generative AI: Brainstorming Activities and Resources
  49. Understanding the AI in Your Classroom
young child using a tablet

Understanding the AI in Your Classroom

Authors: Samantha Goldman; info@ciddl.org

Generative AI has exploded with applications, opportunities, and promise in the K-12 classroom. Publications, such as CIDDL’s Inclusive Intelligence: The Impact of AI on Education for All Learners and the U.S. Department of Education’s Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Teaching and Learning, discuss how AI impacts or will impact K-12. And while generative AI is part of the discussion on AI, it is not the complete discussion on AI. Classrooms, schools, and districts have been using AI support for years. A recent EdWeek article pointed out something very relevant: many teachers using AI may not be aware that they are using it. Thus, this blog aims to define AI and explore the various categories within the general umbrella term. Additionally, we will share common classroom tools that fit into each category.

So, What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science that creates “intelligence” from data, algorithms, and hardware, allowing it to make decisions, find patterns, and complete actions. AI systems can be rule-based or use machine learning. According to Ruiz and Fusco (2023), there are a few important terms to know. 

  • Algorithm: the AI rules
  • Natural Language Processors: ability to understand and comprehend language
  • Intelligent Tutoring Systems/ Adaptive Learning: Material presented to students changes based on how the student performs 
  • Machine learning: The AI learns rules and patterns without a human giving it those rules
  • Large Language Model: The foundation for generative AI models

One of the most well-known generative AIs is ChatGPT. The letters G, P, and T stand for “generative pre-trained transformer,” which means that it is a type of language model that responds to questions or prompts and is trained in advance. 


While new generative AI tools appear daily, other common tools use AI. Platforms such as PowerSchool, which helps to track attendance, and student data platforms such as Otus use AI to manage school districts. Other examples include search engines, such as Google, which uses AI to curate results, and text-to-speech programs, such as Natural Reader

Natural Language Processors

Natural language processors are popular in classrooms through devices like Alexa or for use in writing assignments as they power word prediction. These videos from the Writing Classroom show that Co:Writer is a great tool to support struggling learners with writing. Texthelp’s Read&Write is another great example of word prediction software. This category also includes tools like speech-to-text, grammar correction, and optical character recognition

Intelligent Tutoring Systems and Adaptive Learning Platforms

Intelligent Tutoring Systems and Adaptive Learning Platforms are great options for independent work while the teacher works with a small group. Examples of these include IXL, Lalilo, and ALEKS. These platforms, and the dozens of others like them, learn what students know and provide them with curriculum and activities at their levels, adapting complexity as needed.

Generative AI

There is much excitement around these AI, as they are and continue to change how we think about education. They have shown promise in how we teach math, reading, and broad literacy. Moreover, it is changing how we design lessons and prepare teachers. As researchers, AI impacts how we analyze data and the questions we ask.

Implications for AI

Where do we go from here? What will the classroom look like in 10 years, five years, or even next year? It’s exciting to think about and even more exciting to dream about. Join the discussion about how AI is changing education in our community