It is not always easy to find opportunities for authentic learning, and at the ICT in the Classroom Conference in Johannesburg I heard some wonderful advice: local radio stations and newspapers are always crying out for content, so get your students to author content.
I am currently trying to get a school TV station off the ground, and so this suggestion resonated with me immediately. Having spent the last few weeks chasing students for their content, I imagined how good it would be to be able to have a radio station do that instead! My TV channel is nothing near as professional as interacting with real broadcasters would be. I get the students to film content on some new Sony video cameras we have just acquired. This then gets edited in MovieMaker or iMovie, depending on the students involved and saved or converted to a common format. These clips are then available for editing into a fortnightly “show”.
The inaugural show is still in editing stage, but we plan to broadcast it using the school Moodle platform. This would allow it to be viewed from any computer on the campus.
When I was at University I started a Student Television Service, which broadcast 10 minute weekly programmes once a week to all the monitors on Wits University campus. I know, as a student, how motivating that was for me, and how many authentic learning experiences it delivered. My abiding memory was vomiting, from nerves, in the Vice-Chancellor’s bathroom after presenting the concept to the University brass! As a painfully shy teenager, the experience of successfully pitching an idea before a board-room was an invaluable learning experience, though.
The following video explores some reasons why authentic learning is a good idea.