The Golden Age of Weirdness: Learning to Teach with Generative AI

7 February 2024
By Dann Hurlbert
Midjourney generated image using prompt: "image depicting Creative Technolgies with Generative AI" Monkey earring, sunglasses, and aquatic animal added using photoshop generative fill.  Text Reads "The Golden Age of Weirdness"
Midjourney generated image using prompt: “image depicting Creative Technolgies with Generative AI” Monkey earring, sunglasses, and aquatic animal added using photoshop generative fill. Text Reads “The Golden Age of Weirdness”

In a recent Virtual UnSymposium titled Learning to Teach Creative Technologies with Generative AI, hosted by the Integrated Design and Media (IDM) program at NYU Tandon, various instructors and staff outlined ways they are–and aren’t–using Generative AI in the Classrooms.

One Example is Christian Grewell (New York University) who teaches an AI Short Filmmaking course that involves script and image generation, image to animation generation, and even some editing using AI tools.  His comment “We’re in the golden age of Weirdness right now,” feels spot-on because AI models don’t yet allow users to be extremely specific.  He adds that our current processes and “AI generated weirdness” will undoubtedly pass in 2-3 years as AI tools advance.

Here are some of the other take-aways:

Than van Nispen tot Pannerden (HKU, University of the Arts Utrecht) teaches an intriguing course that invites students to follow the rabbit hole of taking instruction FROM AI tools, rather than from the instructor.  It includes asking AI tools questions, such as “What steps should I take to . . . [fill in the blank], and then follow those instructions to see where the tool leads you.  This is, of course, practiced with some caution and faculty oversight.

Phoenix Perry (University of the Arts London) teaches a Decoding ChatGPT course that encourages students to use as much AI as possible in the course–being honest about how and why you’re using it.  The take-aways include students understanding the tools more thoroughly.  Perry also said using ChatGPT to more easily create glossaries in multiple languages has been beneficial.

Louis McCallum (University of the Arts, London) offers a Generative Film Club, which encourages students to develop short screenplays using text-based AI Tools.  Those scripts are then given to young filmmakers who interpret, film, and edit them.  Robust discussion follows on issues such as, how did actors or directorial choices impact the original screenplay?

Rebecca Fiebrink (University of the Arts London) teaches basic coding using text-based AI tools–encouraging students to ask the AI tool to produce the code, and then students must evaluate what that code is doing.

Griffin Smith (Rhode Island School of Design) invites students to use MidJourney to create images for children’s books–noting that by creating prompts that includes styles of prominent artists, the results can translate that artist’s style into the new AI generated images.

For a Carleton developed overview of how you could use generative AI in your work, check out my AI Filmmaking post . . . and enjoy the weirdness!