Authentic Technology Learning Experiences

Education is full of flashy tech tools to help students grasp concepts. Many are very effective at the goal. Some are just fun to play with. But which tools offer experiences students will encounter in the real world? How is learning with technology relevant and authentic to their lives? 

When choosing educational technology we rely on the SAMR , TPACK, and Bloom’s Taxonomy models to guide us. The goal when implementing technology into education is to support student learning. While these models influence the learning experience it’s also important to keep it grounded in reality. Tasks can be modified for real world scenarios. We’ve all heard or said the phrase “where am I ever going to need this?” The internal response is “the state test that measures how well you are doing at ‘school’”. Realistically where do we use calculus in our daily lives? 

Technology just to teach a concept is less effective than using it for authentic learning opportunities. When the experience is realistic and the outcome is meaningful the learner is more engaged it the task. Surrounding a project with opportunities for learning enhance and deepen the learning process. Making the project authentic with industry standard tools creates a meaningful experience.

When we look at educational technology for use in our classroom it’s also important to ask where and how is what we we are choosing to use being used in the real world. How can we provide an authentic experience to students? To do this we can follow this flowchart:

Using authentic technology tools works best for authentic experiences. If students can work cross curricular on a particular project supported by a full school community the experience can be much more meaningful and engaging. This level of project based authentic learning requires a strong collaborative community.

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