Saturday, February 24, 2024
HomeEducationWriting as a transitional know-how

Writing as a transitional know-how

A reader wrote in with a considerate response to the query of easy methods to construction lessons in gentle of ChatGPT and its variants:

The primary perspective right here appears to be that tutorial essay assignments serve the larger good by educating college students easy methods to write paperwork in formal English. If, on this courageous new world, college students be taught to make use of this new instrument to assist them put collectively paperwork within the applicable model with the suitable content material, then we now have performed our jobs. For those who get the appropriate reply utilizing a calculator as an alternative of a slide rule, effectively, in your eventual engineering profession you should have entry to a calculator, so off you trot. Who is aware of? Perhaps chat gpt actually is taking on the world, and we must be educating college students easy methods to use it successfully, identical to we must be educating them easy methods to use calculators successfully, relatively than insisting that they use slide guidelines. Then again, if college students use this new instrument and the outcomes are unhealthy, as in your vice presidents changing into presidents instance, effectively, they did not attain the aim of writing a paper with the suitable content material, did they? Both method, let’s decide outcomes.

This appears to be the path issues are going, not less than for the second. It’s a variation on utilizing canned tomatoes in “home made” spaghetti sauce. A purist may object that one is constructing on one thing already produced, however one individual’s sauce shall be very totally different from one other’s even when they use the identical canned base. Equally, somebody utilizing an AI-generated essay as an overview or a immediate may effectively take it in a wholly totally different path, to say nothing of whether or not they hassle fact-checking. As I taught my college students, enhancing is a talent in itself.

Then again, that place could solely be tenable whereas AI bots are nonetheless within the comparatively crude, early part. As they enhance, they could get higher at sounding human. As that occurs, there could also be much less room for college kids (or others) to make the output their very own. Some professors are already bringing again oral exams as methods to defeat write-o-matic gadgets. One historical past professor I do know assigns her college students to supply podcasts on given subjects in lieu of a paper. She experiences that they’re extra enjoyable to take heed to and tougher for college kids to faux.

I’m not a proper scholar of communications, however I’m fascinated by ever-more-complex know-how pushing us constantly again towards the oral custom. 100 years from now, will formal writing be thought-about quaint? Maybe a transitional know-how that grew to become irrelevant after the transition? I hope not—there’s one thing to be stated for the sustained focus that writing each generates and calls for—however the tendency is obvious.

If that’s true, then one job for increased schooling is likely to be to seek out methods to encourage deeper considering apart from by way of writing. Gamification leaps to thoughts, as do oral exams, tasks, and debates. Within the Socratic custom, sustained oral questioning was thought-about the path to fact. That’s maddeningly arduous to do effectively—witness the variety of variations on “it’s definitely so, Socrates” within the varied Platonic dialogues—however when it really works, it’s superb.

As a fan of Susan Cain’s work, I’m compelled to notice that writing as a medium is especially suited to introverts. Introverts are inclined to choose to mull issues over earlier than holding forth on them, and writing permits for that. Transferring from a writing-centered tradition again to at least one based mostly on oral traditions could amplify the already-too-strong tendency in American tradition towards rewarding bluster over substance. But when we are able to discover different methods for sensible introverts to make their contributions—and I’m positive that we are able to—we would have the ability to keep away from inadvertently relegating a few of our greatest minds to the margins.

Sure, in fact, outcomes matter. However the strategy of getting these outcomes is meant to be educative in itself. The purpose of assigning a paper isn’t the paper; it’s the battle the coed goes by way of in writing the paper. Take away the battle, and you are taking away the purpose. Driving the size of a marathon is way simpler than operating it—I assume—nevertheless it isn’t fairly the identical factor.

Sensible and worldly readers, have you ever discovered introvert-friendly methods to encourage extra reflective participation past writing? I’d love to listen to (by way of writing, sarcastically sufficient) by way of electronic mail at deandad (at) gmail (dot) com, on Twitter at @deandad or on Mastodon at @deandad at-sign masto (dot) ai.




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