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Multimedia Creative Writing and Having Students Teach Students

This week in my experimental creative writing class, we learned about using Twine, a tool for creating interactive, nonlinear stories. Fans of hypertext writing will enjoy this open-source method for telling stories that don’t follow a linear format. You can take a look at how this plays out in this story in the form of a game, Disconnected by Jesse Shaw

I decided to have the student who introduced Twine to me teach this technology to the class since she was more familiar with it and also because I think students teaching other students can be more compelling. I’m definitely not recommending a lazy teaching method where you outsource all your professorial work to your students, but I do notice that when you intertwine your own teaching with your students teaching each other something interesting happens.

This combination of the professor teaching and the students teaching produces a creative writing workshop environment, but I mean this in a different way than just the traditional sharing of student work and giving feedback model. I’m talking about a workshop like Santa’s workshop, wherein both the teacher elf and the student elves are making creative things together.

When you mix your own teaching, your students’ teaching, and  time to experiment with making things together in class using the new creative methods you’ve all learned together, the classroom becomes a place of heightened creativity and experiment. Students are no longer trying to merely impress each other and the teacher. They are willing to make mistakes and take this experimental sensibility into the work they produce. Give it a try in the classroom and let me know what you make!