Posted in Schooling on May 7, 2023 by ‐ 3 min read

Image Details & Source

An origami dragon — One of the last of its kind.

SCP-1762֎” by OZ Ouroboros֎, from the SCP Wiki֎. Licensed under CC-BY-SA֎.

Audio Retelling of SCP-1762֎ by The Exploring Series֎

This page was last modified: May 15th, 2023

I’m a teacher btw.

Earlier this week I watched the following video:

Too Long; Didn’t Watch? Well, first off: Find Jesus. But, sure, I’ll do you the flavor, beloved visitor (it is a TED Talk, after all, can’t say I blame ya). It’s the founder of Khan Academy֎, Sal Khan֎, introducing how they’re incorporating GPT-4֎ into, well, everything, I suppose.

Later on in the week I had to listen-in as a consultant (via video-conference, not even in-person!) explained this absolutely cringe ‘P.R.E.P - Prompt, Role, Explicit, Parameters’ article֎ to me. That consultant, without having been in a classroom in years (if ever), makes more money in an hour, than I do in a month. That part has nothing to do with anything, I just like to remind people.

This post could be about quite a few topics: the future of education and the teacher’s role (if any!) in it, the looming over-dependance on these corporate-controlled, data-starving, privatized technologies (particularly near our youth), the sorry state of education most of the world over. Welp. I ain’t doing any of those! So here’s the door֎ if you’re on your way out.

No, what I want to talk about today was a particular activity being promoted to educators throughout both of these experiences. The ability to “talk” to a fictional character, a historical figure, even a freaking anthropomorphized river.

The Unspoken

I watched as Mr. Khan described some Indian girl’s conversation with “Jay Gatsby” regarding Daisy’s dock (The Great Gatsby֎). Listened as the consultant asked “George” how “he” felt after killing Lennie (Of Mice and Men֎). I imagined myself asking the kid why he didn’t shoot Judge at the well (Blood Meridian֎).

Visitor, have you ever heard of self-shipping֎? There’s a popular webring֎ regarding it. The gist of it is imagining yourself in some sort of relationship with a fictional character. ‘Imagining’ being the weakest link there because now you can text with your “significant other”. Soon, of course, “they” will speak to you, then “they” will look at you and, eventually… Well, we’re getting sidetracked.

Whether this activity is utilized for learning or sentimentality, I can’t help but find it distasteful all the same. These… things, people, characters, stories: their souls resonate because of their finiteness and ambiguity, not in spite of them. That you only had so much time with them; that the things they didn’t say or do were just as important as the things they did.

And the more you try to bring them to life, the more artificial they become.

Contributors: Cormac McCarthy֎, F. Scott Fitzgerald֎, Here be dragons֎, John Steinbeck֎, Koinuko֎, Rachel Johnson & Katie Attwell֎

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