Giving students a clear purpose for their assignments can keep them motivated. One way to increase motivation and buy-in is identifying an audience for student work. When students know who they are writing for their sense of ownership for the task can change dramatically. Providing an authentic audience helps students see the connection between their school work and the real world. It gives learners of all ages a sense of purpose and understanding of audience.
An authentic audience is connected to the real world. For example, students could complete a persuasive essay related to a current events topic. In order to deliver to an authentic audience, students can post on a class blog, submit as a letter to a local newspaper or create public service announcements to be played at a school assembly. Their student work product meets the goals you have established but it is created with a real world audience in mind.
Traditional tasks can easily be tweaked to connect to an authentic audience. Before giving an assignment to your class, take a step back and examine the task. Think about who else might be interested in seeing your students’ work. Perhaps they can create a product that is useful for other students or would be interesting to a particular group of people in your community. Once you have identified an authentic audience for your students’ work it is important that your class is aware of who will see their work. This should be communicated to students at the beginning of an assignment so they know their audience as they get to work.
Students can share their work with the real world in a variety of ways. You might invite a panel of community members to watch your students’ public service announcements or to judge students’ informative posters in a contest. Students can make an Adobe Voice presentation or Thinglink creation, and you can share a link to their work on an online platform hosted by your school. This could include a school Facebook page, a teacher Twitter account or a class blog. When sharing student work virtually you will want to make sure that all appropriate permissions are gathered from students, families and your school.
As you design projects for your students pause and ask yourself the question, How can this task turn my students into real world creators?
Monica Burns is an EdTech & Curriculum Consultant and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.