Authenticity Matters: 12 Ideas To Make Learning ‘Real-World’

contributed by Shireen Jaffer

As educators, we have all had at least one student approach us with the question, “How will this help me in the real world?”

Every year, teachers are reminded of the academic requirements they must help their students fulfill. These requirements typically involve students taking many tests throughout the year. Accordingly, educators feel pressure to ensuring their curriculum leads to passing test scores.

This pressure can also leave teachers struggling to ensure their lesson plans allow students to apply their learning to their interests in the real world. To help you alleviate this struggle, here are 12 activities for your classroom that encourage interest exploration.

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Instructors as “Guides on the Ride”: Implementing Genius Hour and Focusing on Student-Driven Learning

Genius Hour, a movement of inquiry-based and student-directed activity, allows students to choose and investigate a topic of their choosing. Lee Araoz began facilitating Genius Hour because he wanted to lessen the compliance mode of instruction and increase the energy and motivation of his students. Genius Hour is based on Google’s 20% policy, where employees are permitted to work on something that interests them 20% of the time. This activity allows for the real-world application of 21st century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, communication, creativity, character, and citizenship. Genius Hour generates innovation, stirs imagination, and creates a genuine excitement about learning. Instead of passively consuming technology, students have the opportunity to actively create it.

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Student-Centered Learning: Be the Guide on the Ride

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Take a ride on the Student Learning Express as we discuss tips, tools, and strategies educators can use to make the transition from a teacher-centered classroom to a learner-centered one. Learn how to be the Guide on the Ride as you facilitate student-directed learning experiences like Genius Hour, Literature Circles, Learning Menus, and Choice Boards.

FlipGrid #MADPD Session Intro

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Be the Guide on the Ride #MADPD Session Recording

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Literature Circles 2.0: Technology-infused book clubs in the digital age

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This article was originally published in 
literacyworldwide.org | January/February 2018 | LITERACY TODAY
When used to create content and connect students with authentic audiences,
technology empowers learners and prepares them for the workplaces of the future.
Unfortunately, many school systems have spent millions of dollars to equip
students and staff with cutting-edge technology tools, only to use them with
antiquated teaching methods. Therein lies a second digital divide, which separates

those with the skills to benefit from technology use from those without. Rows of silent students completing digital worksheets on their Chromebooks or iPads is not effective technology integration. Using one-to-one tablets to complete weekly multiple-choice quizzes simply replaces paper, pencils, and grading.

One means of effective technology integration is through literature circles, a collaborative and student-centered reading strategy. In traditional literature circles, small groups of students gather to discuss shared readings. Students assume rotating roles, typically as the “discussion director,” literary luminary,” “vocabulary enricher,” and “connector.” In a technology-enhanced literature circle, these job assignments are infused with technology tools.

Game-Based Learning Resources

Click the image below to access my Game-Based Learning: Unleashing the Power of Collaborative Gaming presentation resources.

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Game-Based Learning Resources

If you want to dive deeper into Game-Based Learning to unleash the power of gaming in your classroom,  you can take my popular Game-Based Learning online course for in-service or graduate credits.

Click this link for more information:

Ed Technology Specialists

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