Authentic learning occurs when a student confronts real-world problems and explores ways to solve them. It can only truly happen when the student feels the project or problem is relevant to them. Authentic learning engages students through opportunities to create meaningful outcomes by doing real-life tasks.
Why is authentic learning important for gifted students? It requires higher-order questioning and thinking; as well as an ability to express conclusions in writing. This leads to intellectual development and career success. Authentic learning is achieved through academic discourse and argument which is the essence of intellectual maturity and a way to nourish critical thinking capacity; all factors important to gifted students.
Authentic learning activities must include real-life tasks that make a difference to both the student and their immediate environment. They can be viewed through the lens of student passions; ideas and concepts achieved through deeper-learning. These activities need to encourage students to think critically; then organize and evaluate their findings.
An authentic learning environment must provide a way for meaningful exploration and discussion of real-world concerns; not simply predetermined projects. They extend beyond the boundaries of the traditional classroom and must be a place where ideas are tested and meaningful concepts actually used to solve problems. Authentic learning environments can include simulation-based learning, student media creation, inquiry-based learning, peer-based evaluation, working with research data or working with remote instruments.
Authentic learning helps students develop skills to be able to verify the reliability of newly learned information; the ability to complete complex problems; and to recognize relative patterns in new contexts. It encourages them to engage in cross-curricular activities; seeing value in this process. It also creates curiosity to work across cultural boundaries and find creative solutions to problems on which they’re working.
How should authentic learning be assessed? Authentic assessment measures significant and meaningful accomplishment which reflects student choice and investment in the outcomes. It may be produced by a teacher and is in stark contrast to standardized testing. Presentation before an authentic audience can enhance the product for students.
In the final analysis, authentic learning is something that should be considered essential for gifted students at every level of their education. It plays a vital role in their academic careers and is a solid predictor of enhancing future opportunities for success. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2 PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad