8 Ways to Make Student Work Authentic (Part 1)

iLEAD Schools

In the middle of a school lesson, a student asks, “When am I ever going to use this?” Since the advent of formal education, it’s been the question heard around the world. 

Facilitators of project-based learning aspire to make learning real. Authentic learning optimizes education for all learners. Project-based learning practitioners, as well as many educators who take a personalized 21st-century approach, use authenticity as a foundational metric of both pedagogy and success.

How can facilitators make work more authentic? Here are the first four of eight broad areas that increase authenticity in teaching and learning:

1. Authentic Problems / Challenges

One of the best ways to make learning authentic is to pursue real-world problems, challenges and questions. Real-world problems are all around us, though not typically in textbooks or standardized curriculum. They’re in the news, in industries, in our local communities and in our homes. If professionals are spending time, resources and careers seeking solutions to a problem, it’s a real-world problem. Often, solutions to these types of problems can change the world, create new career opportunities, lead to new products and services, and rewrite cultural norms and expectations. Authentic learning invites learners to attack real-world problems and generate real-world solutions. The result is more than simply learning; it’s how our best jobs are created. 

2. Authentic Audiences

Who is going to see our learners’ final work? In many classrooms, only the instructor sees the work and sometimes peers do too. However, we live in an age in which that is simply not enough. We want more people to see our students’ work for a variety of reasons. One, it can potentially motivate or focus students based on how many will see their work. But two, it’s the real world. Most of us work in environments where someone, often many, see our work. And because of that we care. We have an authentic reason to produce higher quality work. If no one was ever going to see or use our work, we might not care about producing our personal best. So, how do expand the real audiences for our projects and student work? We need to think beyond the classroom. We need to engage other members or our school communities (staff, administrators, parents, community members, etc.) as a start. We can extend beyond that and include industry and business partners, government officials, higher education partners, community groups, non-profit organizations and others. All of these groups represent an expanded audience and those that can have a direct impact on the quality of the student work, as well as the many opportunities that can arise when we produce higher quality work. Finally, technology and things like social media platforms allow us to truly expand our audiences globally. More on that later when we talk tech. 

3. Authentic Partners

In addition to working with one’s teachers and advisors, as well as one’s peers, authenticity is now influenced by the number of diverse partners a student can collaborate with in a variety of capacities. Student work, as well as their future careers, can be positively affected and altered by the distinct partners that get involved. The potential partners are many. They include, but are not limited to industry professionals, business leaders, government and civic leaders or officials, community leaders, non-profit leaders and staff, parent volunteers, higher education partners, entrepreneurs, alumni and more. What can these authentic partners offer our educators and their students? Again, the list includes, but is not limited to advice, critique and feedback, expertise, evaluation, judging competitive events, resources, equipment and technology, more partners, event coordination, access to their websites and social media for student work, actual problems and challenges they are currently working on, networks, audience members and more. Collaboration is the most important career readiness skill so let’s give our students lots of opportunities to collaborate with a variety of partners.

4. Authentic Clients

Facilitating consultant-client relationships for our learners is invaluable. If we coordinate with our partners especially in the private and public sectors learners can design real services and products to address real needs and challenges. Learners are more engaged when they know a real person will benefit from their work. In a consultant-client relationship, they also improve their marketable skills. Why manufacture arbitrary deadlines, challenges or needs when a client partner can present real ones? 

To be continued…

 

Posted on June 23, 2020 in iLEAD Digest

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Michael Niehoff

About the Author

Michael Niehoff is a teacher, leader, blogger, learner advocate, and the Education Content Coordinator at iLEAD Schools.
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Privacy Policy

Effective date: May 28, 2019

iLEAD Schools Development (“us”, “we”, or “our”) operates the https://ileadschools.org/ website and all affiliated websites as listed under “Our Locations” and linked to the ileadschools.org website (the “Service”).

This page informs you of our policies regarding the collection, use and disclosure of personal data when you use our Service and the choices you have associated with that data.

We use your data to provide and improve the Service. By using the Service, you agree to the collection and use of information in accordance with this policy. Unless otherwise defined in this Privacy Policy, the terms used in this Privacy Policy have the same meanings as in our Terms and Conditions, accessible from https://ileadschools.org/

Definitions

Information Collection and Use

We collect several different types of information for various purposes to provide and improve our Service to you.

Types of Data Collected

Personal Data

While using our Service, we may ask you to provide us with certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you (“Personal Data”). Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to:

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We may also collect information on how the Service is accessed and used (“Usage Data”). This Usage Data may include information such as your computer’s Internet Protocol address (e.g. IP address), browser type, browser version, the pages of our Service that you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

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Cookies are files with a small amount of data which may include an anonymous unique identifier. Cookies are sent to your browser from a website and stored on your device. Other tracking technologies are also used such as beacons, tags and scripts to collect and track information and to improve and analyse our Service.

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iLEAD Schools Development uses the collected data for various purposes:

Legal Basis for Processing Personal Data under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

If you are from the European Economic Area (EEA), iLEAD Schools Development legal basis for collecting and using the personal information described in this Privacy Policy depends on the Personal Data we collect and the specific context in which we collect it.

iLEAD Schools Development may process your Personal Data because:

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iLEAD Schools Development will retain your Personal Data only for as long as is necessary for the purposes set out in this Privacy Policy. We will retain and use your Personal Data to the extent necessary to comply with our legal obligations (for example, if we are required to retain your data to comply with applicable laws), resolve disputes and enforce our legal agreements and policies.

iLEAD Schools Development will also retain Usage Data for internal analysis purposes. Usage Data is generally retained for a shorter period of time, except when this data is used to strengthen the security or to improve the functionality of our Service, or we are legally obligated to retain this data for longer periods.

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Your information, including Personal Data, may be transferred to – and maintained on – computers located outside of your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ from those of your jurisdiction.

If you are located outside United States and choose to provide information to us, please note that we transfer the data, including Personal Data, to United States and process it there.

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iLEAD Schools Development may disclose your Personal Data in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to:

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Our Policy on “Do Not Track” Signals under the California Online Protection Act (CalOPPA)

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You have the right to complain to a Data Protection Authority about our collection and use of your Personal Data. For more information, please contact your local data protection authority in the European Economic Area (EEA).

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Important information regarding confidential student data

There is ongoing litigation between the California Department of Education and the Concerned Parent Association. A notice issued by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson states, “The lawsuit accuses CDE of widespread, systemic non-compliance by local educational agencies with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504. The CDE denies these allegations and is actively defending the litigation.”

The court has ordered CDE to release student and parent information to provide personally identifiable information (PII) – an act that can only be taken as an exception to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). As a result, we are providing notice of the court order and directions to anyone wishing to object.

Please be advised that CDE will notify parents or students of whom are required to disclose information and those individuals may object directly to the court regarding this disclosure using the PDF link below:

https://www.cde.ca.gov/re/di/ws/documents/form2016jan26.pdf

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