Higher Education

Integrating AI in Writing Instruction

A short video clip explaining how to teach students to use AI in their writing

Hear how this professor teaches her students to use AI as a supportive tool rather than a substitute for writing.


Jessica Lyons:

But as for this concern that kids won’t be able to write or struggle with writing, and I get it, I understand that. And like I said before, it is a lot of just fear of the unknown. Once you start showing them how things work, it makes a little bit more sense. Like I said, it’s a supportive tool rather than a substitute.

So I usually start by saying writing’s not just stringing words together. It’s a complex process, requires critical thinking, creativity, communication, and yes, AIs can help with proofreading, corrections, generating ideas. It’s not able yet, I say yet to replicate those nuanced thought processes and especially voice. So that’s what I tell my kids a lot is, your teachers have been reading your papers. We know what words you know and if you give me a paper and there’s words on there I know you don’t know. It’s not your voice. I don’t hear your voice coming through it. And you have to start to understand that when I talk about writing using AI, it’s your landing space, it’s your brainstorming platform, but it’s not going to be able to replicate the student’s voice in it, which a lot of the time is the driving force of all that you do with writing.

So I use it to enhance student writing. We will use ChatGPT for, I call it robot feedback instead of peer feedback. But yeah, you have to understand and either embrace the calculator or whatever the new tool is, or you can bury your head in the sand but we have to find a way to understand that one, you can’t take the teacher out of it, obviously. And if we did take the teacher out of it, everybody would just sound like machines when they write. So it’s all about finding the voice and then allowing the AI tool to support, to help. It’s not that kids won’t learn to write, kids would learn to write like a machine if we took the teacher part out of it.