By Wenjing Huang, Chinese Teacher, George School
Have you heard of Diffit? It is a brand new, AI-based tool for teachers to easily convert any content to all reading levels. It gives educators leveled texts and resources for any lesson from 2nd to 11th grade (and higher), with the option of receiving the resulting leveled text in 68 languages. Right now, Diffit is free for educators. Users have free trial access to Diffit’s premium features until January 30, 2024, according to its website.
|Name of the tool
|Diffit For Teachers
|Primary purpose of the tool
|Educators who create an account after January 1, 2024 get free access to premium features for the first 60 days from their account creation date.
Individual subscriptions will be rolled out soon, with their cost being $14.99/month.
|Ease of use
|Simple and easy to use
Overview of Diffit
1. How to Get Started with Diffit
Go to https://beta.diffit.me/#topic and enter a topic, term, or question in English or in the target language. You can also provide the link to an article or video or provide any text. Then choose an appropriate reading level and language output and click “Generate Resources”.
2. How to Edit
After a few seconds, the generated resources will be shown in sections, and each of them is editable.
- Adapted Reading Passage
- Key Vocabulary Words
- Multiple Choice Questions (with an option to show answers)
- Short Answer Questions (with an option to show answers)
- Open-ended Prompts
Note that the image that is suggested along with the activities may or may not be appropriate to your materials, but one advantage is that Diffit gives you a number of choices and indicates from what source it got the image. You can also toggle whether sources behind the adapted texts are shown.
3. How to Get Student Activities
To get activities based on the generated resources, click the green button “Get Student Activities” on the top right or at the bottom after “Open-ended Prompts”. Then Diffit Exports Library will show up with a wide range of mostly Google Slides activities that you can open and download. Below is a list of some options. There are a total of more than 75 different types of activities that you can choose from (not all work well for world languages, but many could be adapted).
- Printable Doc
- Google Forms Quiz
- Frayer Model Vocabulary Interactive Slides: a graphic organizer that helps learners determine or clarify the meaning of vocabulary words encountered.
- C.E.R. Short Answer Question Workbook: a table with claim, evidence, and reasoning from the text.
- Claims and Counterclaims Interactive Slides: a worksheet to find out claim (the main argument) and counterclaim (the opposite of the argument, or the opposing argument).
- PEEL Short Answer Questions Interactive Slides: a worksheet to categorize Point, Evidence, Explain, and Link.
- Venn Diagram Workbook: two circles to show, compare, and contrast the relationships between things.
- 3-2-1 Reading Summary Workbook: a worksheet to describe three takeaways, two questions, and one thing
- 5 Senses Interactive Slides: a chart to organzie the things learners see, hear, taste, touch, and smell.
- 5 W’s Workbook: a worksheet to group the five W’s (who, what, when, where, why).
- 8 Parts of Speech Workbook: a worksheet to group nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections.
- Bubble Map Interactive Slides: a visual representation to describe qualities associated with a specific item, person, idea or event.
If you click on the link for any one activity, you will be able to see its description, standards, grade level, and subjects before you open its slides.
In addition, you can also use the search box in Diffit Exports Library to narrow down your choices and find appropriate activities according to grade level, subjects, and formats (printable or digital).
4. How to Save or Share Generated Resources
Any resources generated are automatically saved in the “My Resources” section (on the top), and you can delete them, share them with colleagues by copying a link, or share them through email or social media tools (Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest). In this way, you won’t be worried about where to find the history of your generated resources.
5. Diffit Plans
Currently the two plans it offers are as below. We can see its free version compared to the school license version, which has more words in “maximum length for inputs”.
Based on my experience of using its generated Chinese resources, the adapted reading passage content is accurate in language and message as well as its summary, multiple choice questions and answers, and short answer questions and answers.
In terms of its reading levels, I would like to say that its error rate is close to one reading level higher or lower of what users select. For example, some users pointed out that they have used Hemingway Editor app (an editing app that can pinpoint things that affect the readability of a text with a given readability score to show the level of education a person needs to have to understand the text) to test the English readability levels of the first four paragraphs of the 2nd, 5th, and 9th grade passages. And the results are:
- 2nd grade Diffit generated passage: 4th grade readability.
- 5th grade Diffit generated passage: 6th grade readability.
- 9th grade Diffit generated passage: 8h grade readability.
7. Privacy and Security
As listed on its website, Diffit does not collect any student data, are FERPA and COPPA compliant, and follow industry best practices.
In addition, Diffit uses real sources and shows citations for all information and texts it provides, so that users can know exactly where any AI-generated text comes from.
Practical Uses for the Language Classroom
1. Leveled Texts for Mixed Proficiency Levels
For classes with mixed proficiency levels of learners, Diffit is a good option for differentiated instruction.
I used it in my intermediate low to advanced mid-level mixed class, with Chinese heritage speakers and non-heritage learners, and with students taking AP Chinese Language and Culture Exam, taking IB Chinese exam, and those not taking any exams. The generated leveled texts supported them based on their different proficiency levels and needs. This ensured that learners were exposed to materials that aligned with their current language abilities in a more tailored and supportive learning experience. They could start with simpler texts and short vocabulary lists and gradually move on to more challenging materials and reading comprehension questions.
In addition, these generated leveled texts on any topic for any reading level are also perfect for:
- personalized individual reading based on diverse learners’ interests
- building cultural knowledge
- quick worksheets, homework, or formative assessments
2. Current Event Articles in the Target Language
Diffit is a great helper for bringing more current events into language classrooms. Have you ever encountered these challenges when you want to integrate some current events related to one of the AP or IB Language B course themes?
- The current available resources online are not quite at the right level for my students.
- The current available articles or videos are in English, not in the target language I teach.
- I have trouble finding additional resources for reading practice on a certain topic I am teaching now as well as creating them myself from scratch.
Whether with a topic, a question, learning objectives, or with an article or video link, Diffit can help to effectively create a text in the target language with appropriate reading levels for learners. For example, when teaching one IB language B course theme “identities”, I introduced a short Diffit generated reading text (for 3rd grade) in Chinese based on an English article for my Intermediate level learners, taught vocabulary in context based on its key vocabulary words, and used its formative assessments after my edits. For the next step, students compared it with another similar Diffit reading text (for 4th grade) and analyzed and learned new information such as new points, evidence, explanation, or cultural connections.
Diffit is a big timer saver for teachers looking to find resources at the reading level of their students. It gives you instantly leveled resources for almost any topic, and based on my experience, the information given in the texts was all accurate. This resource may be worth a try for teachers looking to streamline their lesson planning process.