TechTeam MA: LHS Help Desk weighs in on Authentic Learning
On December 8th, LHS Help Desk students participated in the twitter chat #techteamMA. The topic was authentic learning and high school students from Shrewsbury, Bishop Feehan, Burlington, and Hamilton Wenham joined the conversation to discuss the definition of authentic learning, its importance, and the role it should play in curriculum development. The discussion was moderated by Nick Orlovsky. LHS student Bria Parziale noted that authentic learning is “focusing on connecting what students are taught in school to real world issues, problems, and applications”. Students mentioned real world applications such as using language skills abroad, customer service skills in IT help desks, and internships. Subjects that were mentioned that naturally lent themselves to authentic learning were math, science and other STEM focused courses. The least authentic were history and the arts. In answer to the question of why is authentic learning important to teaching and learning today, LHS help desk student Joe Fabrizio said, “students will grow uninterested if they know that what they are learning can’t be applied outside of classes”. Other students agreed that authentic learning helps reaffirm students’ understanding of material and prepares them for the real world. To bring more authenticity into today’s classrooms, students suggested field trips, outside speakers, interactive activities with real world applications, and tailoring topic and lessons to students’ individual interests. Students unanimously agreed that authentic learning should be implicitly included in curriculum design and not seen as an add-on. They voiced that authentic learning should be a seamless integration into all curriculum across all disciplines. The final note from students expressed the extreme importance of authentic learning and the desire of all schools involved to continue to pursue authentic learning experiences. “We will begin to fight to integrate authentic learning into classes at LHS” was the final LHS student help desk comment. LHS help desk students look forward to participating in the next #techteamMA twitter chat. To view our previous twitter chats, visit https://twitter.com/lhshelpdesk.