AI Could write that IEP
How do you expect teachers to teach with all the paperwork that is now required for special education? One of the biggest time eaters is writing that IEP (Individual Education Plan). Now AI is to the rescue.
Some educators are pondering the use of ChatGPT or BARD to lift the burden.
In order for the rescue to work, the algorithms need to be flexible enough to account for all the individual differences in children.
There are multiple factors of good news and bad news. There is no question that the idea of minimizing paperwork would be hugely appealing to teachers who could then spend more time actually teaching. But these forms include very personal and sensitive information. Using the platform that could be accessed by the public is risky and possibly even illegal.
IEP’s delineate the individual goals for each child. But the possible repertoire of goals is limited to the knowledge base of the teacher or school district supplied resources. AI has the potential of providing a huge repository of existing IEP language. Will these goals meet the legal standard of substantially addressing the unique individual needs of a particular student, or can only a human do that?
Could AI assist in other ways? Could AI, for example, provide voice assistants to narrate text for visually impaired students. Or perhaps, translate text from English to a student’s original language? What about using AI for children with dysgraphia? Could AI help in writing papers? Students would still need to be taught how to use the tool. The other question is will using the tool teach the child how to improve his/her writing or just provide a work-around that is a crutch. Then again if your leg is broken, what’s so bad about using a crutch.
The road ahead is forked. Educators can do what they are best known for doing and that is to put their head in the underground and just try to avoid the issue. Or they can acknowledge that these platforms exist and perhaps if controlled or understood could actually make like not just easier but maybe even better for the student’s IEP.
Of course, the final question to ask is: If a teacher does not have the capacity to create a high-quality IEP that is unique to the child’s needs, does it really matter if AI creates one but the teacher can’t deliver it?