Authentic Learning: A Response to Comments and Winners Announced!

Thank you to those of you who entered the book giveaway. Barbara and Mike can expect their copies to arrive soon. For those of you that didn’t win or didn’t enter this time, stay tuned for another giveaway in the future or check out the book on Amazon!

There were some fabulous comments relating to authenticity. It seems that we can all agree that authenticity is the extra push that students need in order move beyond the mere memorization that traditional education offers. The skills that are needed to be successful in world beyond school are often overlooked in an attempt to prepare students for the state standardized tests. As Mike mentioned, we need to help students to grow in their use of the tools that will be required of them once they enter the workplace beyond school.

Kevin and I are definitely on the same wavelength as he referenced the way in which authenticity can address many of the features of the classroom that fall short in meeting the needs of students when it comes to differentiation. Both he and J.F. noted that students often lack motivation, unless it focuses on simply earning a grade. Once authentic learning experiences are provided for students, we see an opportunity for students to become empowered to effect change in their communities and the world around them, just as S. Rindt challenged.

Often, as I work with teachers around the country, I see “authentic learning experiences” that are designed, but fall short in many respects. Just as Carol mentioned, the need for an audience is a key element in authentic learning. Stay tuned for a guest blog that will be posted on OLE in the coming weeks where I explore the Top 10 Ways to Fake an Authentic Learning Experience, as E. Jacobs comments are referenced there.

I’m very interested in the installation process of utilizing badges for students that Barbara mentioned. Certainly, the use of digital backpacks will help teach students the need for digital citizenship.  I hope that Barbara will share some of this work with us as her district implements the process.

In short, we want our students to solve real problems in the classroom so that they can, in the words of D. Kujawski, become “citizens who can solve authentic problems.”


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