Into the Deeper Considerations

Submitted By:
Jonathan Gold, Moses Brown School, Providence, RI

The AI Influencers Selling Students Learning Shortcuts by Marc Watkins
Rhetorica Substack, February 9, 2024

Marc Watkins’ Rhetorica Substack has become an essential read for educators and school leaders navigating the challenges and opportunities of generative AI. In this recent post, Watkins examines the world of “AI Influencers – where the pursuit of profit drives companies to use influencers as direct conduits to push their products onto students.” Wherever one falls on the AI enthusiasm/dread spectrum, understanding the ways that these services are being marketed and framed for students is essential for helping schools manage them. It is undoubtedly the case that students are seeing these tools marketed to them on TikTok and other social media platforms. Watkins also loops in some analysis of the ways that teacher influencers are framing the conversation in educator social media circles, highlighting how social media discourse can flatten the nuances of generative AI use in the classroom. In line with his overall approach to the AI conversation, Watkins concludes by inviting us into the deeper considerations that this technology forces us to ask, namely “why we teach and the core reasons we hope students arrive on our campuses ready and eager to learn.”

Current Events & Civic Engagement
Teaching Practice