Thursday, 1 November 2012

Authentic Learning

Authentic Learning 
A Vital Ingredient to a Learning Recipe that Combines well with Educational Technology.

As part of our Project Based Learning planning framework (blogged on the 27th November) we are experimenting with some authentic strategies that deepen learning. Some great examples and understanding can be gained at this Eutopia Blog as well as the wonderful work of Fred M. Newmann and Gary G.Wehlage, Five Standards of Authentic Instruction.
A terrific design guide is this PBL Online Resource

Some essential guiding questions for teacher planning area:

-How does this connect with students lived experience and the wider world beyond the school?

-What opportunities have I provided for real life or life like learning?

-Have I articulated a clear purpose and authentic audience for the culminating product students will produce?

Some examples of how we are experimenting with authentic learning in our junior grades using iPads.
  • Year One are creating interactive presentations based on the past and using the  Explain Everything app. A grandparents morning tea was held and the students took photos of items from their grandparent's childhood as well as interviewing them with three brief questions. This was then linked to learning about the past and the changes today seen in the students' lives. The Year One teacher did a great demonstration of how to use and what to include in the presentation by modelling a presentation that she had created about her own family. This was essential in the learning process.

  • Year 2 are developing visual and audio, recorded procedures, also using Explain Everything, that demonstrate how to follow instructions, eg, tie shoelaces, make french toast. Their intended audience will be a Year One student and part of the assessment process for the teacher will be whether the Year One student is able to complete the task after following the recorded instructions.

  • Year 3 is investigating the local history of Highgate. Part of this unit of work will involve them going on a heritage walk of the area and taking photos and recording interviews at local heritage sites. Along with other information about how the area has changed, the students will create an ebook using Creative Book Builder that documents their learning. This will be presented to their parents and grandparents at a special class event.

In a separate individual student project one of the Year Sixes is using Creative Book Builder to convince the Principal about the benefits of skateboarding and the advantages of a school "Wheels Day". This has integrated persuasive writing,  procedure writing, video techniques and learning how to use the app.

Besides providing huge motivation and engagement, authentic learning allows the technology to become "invisible" and the important learning to be at the forefront.

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