Using the medium of A.I. to make history come alive

 

November 17, 2023

By Christine DeSouza Known to many as "Jerusalem Jones," "Sherlock," or "Hercule," as well as many other characters, Professor Kenneth Hanson, who teaches Judaic Studies at UCF, believes that students don't retain enough by simply reading or hearing lectures. For this reason, he has worn many faces to make history more interesting and appealing to his audiences. In fact, he still uses these characters and others to teach Jewish history to various groups. Most recently he "performed" a history teaching on the Dead Sea Scrolls for a group of adults at Solivita in Kissimmee. Now enter Artificial Intelligence, known as A.I. Hanson discovered the great value A.I.'s use could bring to Judaic Studies courses. His history-teaching-world expanded exponentially. "A.I. puts me anywhere in the world!" he said. With A.I. he could "bring to life" many historical figures. He no longer had to dress up and act out parts. He realized he could actually create a whole new way of teaching history, and now his teaching is only limited by his own creativity. Hanson meticulously researches his topics, as he always has done. Now he has the added benefit of taking the viewer back in time, using people who lived then. For example, a video titled "Reflections of Anne Frank" is narrated by an avatar (an electronic image) that looks and perhaps sounds like Anne. One gets the sense that she is actually speaking to us. Other segments include Anne's father, Otto Frank, Elie Wiesel, Winston Churchill, and even fictional characters such as Indiana Jones, Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. Hanson even created an avatar of himself, who can speak directly to his students, not to mention viewers of his YouTube channel, where his course material is free to the public. Using this medium "turns boring online courses into academic powerhouses," Hanson exclaimed. His most recent A.I. course, History of the Holocaust, features a complete "video textbook," replacing the traditional lecture. Not surprisingly, his students rave about it. He stated that in teaching via this format, students will retain much more than just by reading a typical text or hearing a lecture. After he first started to experiment with teaching through video, he began collaborating with a person in another state who had found him on YouTube and who introduced him to A.I. His new collaborator helped him with editing and supplied images using Midjourney, a generative artificial intelligence program and service. Over time, Hanson began doing his own editing, backgrounds, voices, photos and music. It generally takes up to a week to create a single episode, but the end result is definitely worth the effort. Hanson has created over 200 videos that are available for anyone to check out on YouTube. To view his creations, go to https://bit.ly/3z7Rcit, Hanson's "Treasures in Time" website. For those who enjoy Hanson's A.I. inspired history videos, click "subscribe."

Known to many as "Jerusalem Jones," "Sherlock," or "Hercule," as well as many other characters, Professor Kenneth Hanson, who teaches Judaic Studies at UCF, believes that students don't retain enough by simply reading or hearing lectures. For this reason, he has worn many faces to make history more interesting and appealing to his audiences. In fact, he still uses these characters and others to teach Jewish history to various groups. Most recently he "performed" a history teaching on the Dead Sea Scrolls for a group of adults at Solivita in Kissimmee.

Now enter Artificial Intelligence, known a...



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