Each week, teachers in my school district, Northwest ISD, gather together via Twitter to share and learn together about a variety of topics. #NISDCHAT is held every Sunday evening (8:30) with teacher(s) volunteers to facilitate the discussion. About a year ago, I decided to read along to see what it was all about. I now know this practice is called "lurking", but back then I just wanted to see what all the chatter was about and if it was really "authentic" learning. What I found was more than I could have imagined....a small, but dedicated group of educators taking time to discuss and share about what mattered most to them in education. It was enlightening read about their daily struggles and wonderful celebrations. In time, I have seen this group and others in our District (Don't miss #NISDNOV8 on Tuesdays) grow and become even more diverse as the discussions broadened to all sorts of educational issues. I mean, where else do you find primary grade teachers sharing with high school teachers about the best ways to give feedback to students?
This past week, the #NISDCHAT's topic asked teachers from around the District to post pictures of "authentic" learning. What a learning experience it was!!! Teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade shared their beliefs about what authentic learning means to them and their students with real examples. It was powerful professional development!
In this blog (my first), I hope to continue exploring what it means to give our students authentic learning experiences. The better we can define what that means, the more likely we are to provide them for our students. Can they apply their learning? Does it carry over to other disciplines?
Please share your viewpoints and ideas. What do you consider authentic learning?