May 26
Keeping It Real

Dear Sibylla Kiddle School Families, 

In the past number of months, artificial intelligence has taken another monumental step forward. Whether for good or for bad, the technology now exists to do your writing for you. Simply provide a prompt and let the computer do the work. Likely, we are just seeing the tip of the proverbial iceberg with respect to the implications of this technology. While this technology holds great potential, it is still very difficult to replicate the concept of 'voice' and 'creativity' in writing.

I've played with this new technology. Admittedly, I've even had it try to write my Principal's Message for me. Every time I try, the computer produces something that lacks a certain amount of soul. It doesn't sound like me. It doesn't replicate my quirks, my love of lists, my desire to connect with families. This is why we are attracted to certain authors. I could read a legal thriller and tell you whether or not John Grisham is the author without seeing his name on the cover. I've read enough of his works to know his style. Likewise, we also love creativity. This is why we don't read an encyclopaedia, or even a whole Wikipedia article, for enjoyment. It isn't written in a novel way that captures our attention. To use a plant analogy, an artificial plant may look like an authentic replication but it lacks the feel and smell of the real thing. 

Fostering children's voice and creativity in writing is one of our school learning goals. However, this same goal can be enhanced at home. Children love to tell stories; they are often fantastical in nature. When they do this at home, even if the story is vocalized, ask questions. Have them expand on their ideas and push the limits of their thinking. They will be happy to tell you more. Have them keep a creativity journal of ideas that inspire them. Pick fun and unique vocabulary to see how it may be used in a sentence. Find an interesting picture and have a 10-minute family writing time. See what unique pieces of writing everyone can generate. Voice and creativity can be learned, they can be fostered and they can be celebrated. Artificial Intelligence can write the boring things for us but we can still inspire others with our own voice, our own creativity, and our own words.


Brad Emery


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