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Why I’m Writing a Newsletter for My Class on AI Storytelling
This semester I’m doing something a bit strange … I’m writing a newsletter about a class I’m teaching called AI & the Art of Digital…
This semester I’m doing something a bit strange … I’m writing a newsletter about a class I’m teaching called AI & the Art of Digital Storytelling.
This newsletter will be a weekly reflection on my class focusing on teaching students how to use AI to enhance creativity in thoughtful ways, while also developing AI literacy. Focusing on digital storytelling gives students a safe place to experiment and discuss the implications of these emerging technologies.
There are many good conversations about the implications of AI in the classroom, but we could use more doing. We can talk, theorize, and experiment in our own spaces, but we will only figure out this technology hands-on, in the classroom, with students and other writers.
Writing a newsletter will help me process new experiences in the classroom, while creating a channel for sharing ideas and course materials that might be useful to other teachers or writers. My goal is that subscribers like you will get practical ideas and materials to explore in their own way… and maybe inspire you to share and discuss your own!
The growth of AI technology is fast. I can write an academic article about my work in this class, which will probably be published 2 years from now … at best. That’s too late. Writing newsletters like this will help me test, implement, and discuss new AI technologies when it’s most useful … right now.
Here are the three other reasons I’m writing a newsletter for a university class.
Gives me a space to share practical ideas more in-depth.
Social media conversations on AI are great, because we can engage with many kinds of perspectives. This is crucial for understanding AI and developing more thoughtful approaches to how we use and teach these emerging technologies. But these dialogues present knowledge in short blips without allowing for much complexity. Doing a weekly newsletter provides a channel for more sustained thought.
Keeps me accountable to reflective practice.
We often ask students to reflect because we know it is a key aspect of the learning process. Writing is thinking … and long form writing helps process complex situations. Too often, we fail to do this ourselves, because it takes time and energy. Committing to a weekly newsletter keeps me reflecting on what’s going on in the classroom.
Allows me to include students in our conversation about AI
We won’t get a complete picture of AI writing tools without students. While anyone can subscribe to this newsletter, I will also distribute it to my students in my Learning Management System. It won’t be required reading, but they can see my thought process and peek behind the curtain to see the mindset of a teacher working through similar issues.
My four-year-old twins will be the first generation to enter university, not knowing a world without AI writing. I don’t want them to be afraid of AI. I want them to understand AI as a technology and tool they can use, adapt, and manipulate to do good things.
Just like a knife. They should always be cautious and never use it to do ill, but they also should not be afraid of it.
Writing specialists and students should all be involved in the development of AI technologies. Future students like my twins will be better off. Though we will tell lots of stories, setting the stage for future generations is the primary goal of the class … and ultimately this newsletter.
In the next few newsletters, I’ll think through why I’m asking students to use digital storytelling to explore AI and how I am developing core class materials, like an “honor contract” and course outcomes.
➡️ You can find the collection of these newsletters or sign up for free on my Hey, World page.