Authentic Assignments

Alright, in the past I’ve attempted to avoid too much techy/teachery stuff, because I realize I’m a giant nerd and not everyone loves it as much as I do.  HOWEVER, the past week has been too much to not rate, so I’m picking one of the many 10’s to blog about this morning.

In my sessions on technology integration, one of the main goals is for teachers to understand how powerful a tool blogs can be in our classrooms.  They can be powerful for many reasons.

1)  They help our students to develop stronger writing skills and voice by giving them an authentic audience.

2)  They can extend conversation outside our classrooms, and teach about other cultures and the world, by inviting adults and other classes from around the globe to engage in conversation with our students.

3)  Lastly, and possibly my favorite, they provide an incredible way for us as teachers to extend our personal learning networks and engage in thoughtful conversation about teaching, students and education without the confines of time and space.

Case in point.  One of the follow-up assignments for my sessions taught this past Saturday in NY, was for teachers to visit two of my favorite education blogs, and respond to two specific blog posts about teaching, one by David Warlick and one by Will Richardson.

My goal was for teachers to be exposed to the powerful conversations already existing out there, become motivated to blog themselves, and begin to follow education blogs and become part of the conversation.

So far I am SO impressed with the level of thought and engagement being put in by the teachers, and every time I read another comment I get excited about what they have to offer, and the power of these conversations.  This in itself is a great example of how a genuinely authentic assignment (they are required to actually post their comments on Will and David’s blogs, where hundreds/thousands of other teachers will be reading them) can produce impressive investment and results.

I LOVE IT.  This just made my night/morning 🙂

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