AI in Education Community

Discussing AI for Accessibility in FE

For this month’s AI in FE community meetups we held two sessions, both focused around AI for Accessibility and were joined by members of over 30 FE institutions from across the UK.  

We began with some scene setting discussing the existing role AI has played in key assistive technologies and the developing role of generative AI in supporting a range of needs.  

Some examples included: 

We then had discussion led by members of Jisc’s Advice team specialising in Accessibility and breakout discussions around the question “What do we need to support the use of AI for accessibility?”. 

Key themes emerged highlighting the potential for AI to enhance accessibility, and several members had experience with particular AI tools around accessibility:  

Giglish is an AI tool mentioned which allows users to practice languages and social skills. 

TeacherMatic for content generation was brought up as the tool is user friendly and can help remove the barrier of prompting for users new to generative AI.  

Poe chatbot was mentioned as being particularly helpful to neurodivergent users. 

Though there is a huge amount of potential and positivity in this area there was also discussion around some of the key barriers to exploring AI for accessibility in FE at this time which are collated below:  

Age restrictions 

Age restrictions around generative AI tools were raised as a particular barrier to exploring AI to support learners as the majority of tools require that users are 18+ or 13+ with a parent or guardians’ permission. Some members are exploring introducing agreements at the enrolment stage to obtain parental permission.  

The difficulty finding and keeping up with changing terms and conditions of AI tools. We’ve explored this issue previously and will continue exploring options for AI tools for users under 18.  

Cost and digital equity 

Alongside the lack of tools for younger users it was raised that there are few options which are available to try for free. Further, there is a question of who incurs the cost of trying out tools where there are only paid options, whether this is up to individuals or institutions. 

Some free options were discussed including Poe and the basic access to Microsoft Copilot (not 365 copilot/ institutionally licensed versions) however there are potential data privacy issues which users need to be aware of and consent to. 

Academic misconduct 

Concerns around academic misconduct were discussed and how to discern the line between appropriate use of AI tools to assist, for instance supporting with structure or creating transcripts, and the inappropriate use of tools to complete larger portions of work.  

Grammarly was mentioned in particular as it is a tool long used for grammar and structuring assistance by learners which now has incorporated generative AI features.  


There was interesting discussion around how learners should cite their use of AI, and what cases require citation. Spelling and grammar checkers were largely agreed not to require citation but more involved uses that involve generating new text were.  

In some cases, learners are encouraged to provide evidence of their AI use and a few methods were suggested to make this easier on the learner – including taking screen recordings of conversations with chatbots and making use of the share features many tools offer to create a link to a copy of the chat.  

It was recognised though that this can put an additional burden on learners, particularly at stressful times when they are submitting assignments. This could be confusing too for students who have used assistive tools for a long time without requiring their use to be cited.  

Regarding guidance on referencing a couple of resources were recommended by members: 

Sharing reviews of tools 

Attendees were keen to see more sharing of other college’s experiences of different AI tools and services.  

We hope to be able to facilitate more opportunities for sharing experiences in future work, including our AI resource hub. Further, our next meetup session in May will be a practice sharing session – more information on how to join at the bottom of this post.  


This is an area with a lot of ongoing discussion and considerations, so we wrapped up by sharing a selection of further reading for those interested in exploring AI and accessibility further:

As well, interested members are encouraged to join Jisc’s Accessibility and Assistive Technology communities which offer a forum for discussion around all things Accessibility including AI.  


Next month 

Next month we’ll be having a practice sharing session and Bryony Evett from Coleg sir gar will be sharing their institution’s AI approach.  

If you would also like to share some good practice at the next session, please get in touch or just come along and there will be time in the open discussion to share too.  

Sessions will be: Tuesday 21st May, 12.30-13.30pm & Thursday 23rd May, 4.00-5.00pm 

If you are already registered from April’s sessions, there is no need to re-register and you will receive the invitations for the May sessions soon.  

If you haven’t registered before then you can sign up by completing this form. (please use your institutional email address).  

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