What is writing anyway?

I think I was in 6th grade when I bought an awesome Casio calculator watch. It took a very long time saving every dime from my three paper routes to afford such a high tech tool, I was in love.

One day another student turned me in, the teacher exploded. His attempt to humiliate me rolled off, I was immune by that point in my life.

His main argument was I needed to memorize all these math facts and know them by heart because I would not always have a calculator to do the work for me. I knew that could not be true, if I could buy a watch that did math, it was impossible to think I would not have access to such things in my adult life.

Fast forward to today, my son has an expensive calculator he is required to have for school. This thing has a big colorful screen and it is programmable. He set it up to compute formulas with one click of a button. Next to that he has a phone which has apps and google. If these two can’t solve the problem, the chromebook probably can. We have more mathematical tools than we know what to do with.

Math today, versus then, is so different. I have to think the access to these tools helped us go deeper into numbers unlike any other time in history.

Think about this, the phone you have in your hand is the worst phone you will ever own. Your next one will be 10x more powerful, the one after will be 100x more powerful than what you are now using.

We are now at the same crossroads as my 6th grade math teacher, will we grow and change with the technology or push back and hold on to what we have always done?

The other day I came across an article about a high school student using an AI, artificial intelligence, to write all his papers for class. Using an AI he was earning As and Bs, a computer was doing most of the work. Instead of spending hours upon hours writing, it is now down to a handful. A few clicks.

So many questions.

What is writing anyway? If the assignment can be completed by an AI and earn high marks, was the assignment worth completing in the first place?

My biggest worry is we will find a way, which will be nearly impossible, to ban such tools. Once they leave our care and enter into the world they will be expected to use these tools. Are we writing to prepare them for the world they are going to live in or the world we grew up in?

Will these tools push education further away from what is actually happening in the real world?

I know… the same phrase will pop out… well research says…

Research is looking backwards in time and trying to make a prediction. Most of the world just keeps moving on, it does not wait. Why are we waiting?

How might we change our teaching based upon what is in the video below? Think what you could do if your first draft only took two minutes to write over 1,000 words?

One thought on “What is writing anyway?

  1. If AI were to write all my blogs, all my essays, etc., I’d miss the satisfaction of playing w/ words, of thinking through ideas. Writing is more than a utilitarian strategy. For many it’s a way of being in the world. How does AI contribute to that? Writing is art, so it needs an artist. Maybe the traditional reasons for writing are what we need to question. Certainly, critiquing forms necessitates rethinking. I tell students to make choices that open doors for them rather than close them. I can’t help but think seeing writing as utilitarian and turning it over to AI closes some doors even as it opens others.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s