Using Technology to Create Authentic Learning Experiences
Originally posted as a guest blog for Education Week on January 30, 2013:
In my last post, I wrote about the potential value of education technology and how it can be used to give power and agency to students to tell their own stories. I got a glimpse of this transformation taking place in my class this quarter.
As I contemplated the goals at the beginning of the year, I knew I wanted my students to have authentic experiences as readers and writers. So this quarter, we have worked together to create a teen magazine. Our hope is that this project will inspire other classes to create similar work. (If you like what we've done, please share it widely and leave us a comment—we are eager to hear from you.)
This type of work in some ways is possible because our school, Science Leadership Academy, is a one-to-one laptop school. Having this kind of access to resources in and out of the classroom allowed us to do a number of things necessary to produce this magazine. For this project, we used our laptops and our school's wifi network to find articles to use as mentor texts, Skyped with a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and looked at excellent work produced by our own SLA Media. Access to technology allowed us to connect to resources we needed so that we could begin our work as budding writers and publishers—work that my students found uniquely engaging and valuable.
What are your thoughts on use of educational technology to give students opportunities to create, publish, and share their work? Do you have examples to share from your schools and communities? I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Thanks!