Skip to main content

Authentic learning - music to my (their) ears!

In and around educational and instructional technology circles, one of the trendiest terms being talked about is authentic.  We all know what the word means, but does it really make a difference in education?


When learning is authentic, students learn more.  The educational tails trailing "authentic" often include problems, questions, audience, and feedback.

In a musician's world, authentic is normally associated with performing a piece beautifully with the right notes, tone, precision, balance, and emotion for family, friends, and judges (authentic audience).

Now to the reason I wrote this blog.  What I saw this past Friday in L. Michelle Howard's orchestra classroom took authentic to another level!  Watch this video (apologies for sound quality...just imagine my recording sounded great!):

What did you see?  What was authentic?  Well, hopefully you noticed the projection screen and a man named Darol Anger (via Google Hangouts) bobbing along to the beat as the Sperreng Middle School Orchestra performed "La Betaille, A Cajun Waltz" (which translates to "You Little Wild Thing").  

Darol Anger is a composer.  Actually, he is THE composer.   For the remainder of the class period, Darol worked with the orchestra, inspiring them to bring out the Cajun spirit of his work.  He also shared some artistic secrets, including how to make your instrument sound more Cajun and how to let out a good Cajun yell.

The students were enthralled.  Laughing, smiling, and learning.  This was authentic learning at its best.  Students had the most authentic audience and feedback possible.  This kind of experience is usually reserved for professional orchestras.  What a great experience!

If you teach, I hope you are thinking of opportunities for making authentic learning experiences a part of your classroom.  Consider possibilities like Mystery Skype and be ready for our schedule of Summer of 2015 class offerings where authentic learning will be featured.  

Thanks for reading and thank you L. Michelle Howard!


Popular posts from this blog

Your shoeboxes are full...break is a perfect time for this app.

1994 - Somalia just south of Mogadishu. 
We all have tons of actual physical pictures and would love to digitize them. Have you ever taken a picture of a picture? It usually looks awful, too dark or full of glare.

This break why not download the PhotoScan app from Google and start sharing those old pictures! This is a free app that works on both Android and iOS.

Download and install the PhotoScan app.
Follow on screen prompts.
Follow the arrows. You will move the open circle to the closed white circle. The while circle will turn blue, then follow the arrows to the next circle.
Bam! You now have an image that is digitized and ready to share! 
My next steps will be to open this in the Google Photos app and start to adjust the color a little.

Well that didn't go as expected...

I had this idea that I thought would be epic. The point was to help teachers see the power video can have over people. I started by showing a tiny clip of the Slap Chop. This was a product from a few years back. The infomercial played on cable and in the wee hours of the morning but the thing sold making someone millions.

The original video moved people to remix it.  That sold many more Slap Chops. Just google Slap Chop Remix, it is hilarious!

The final outside of education idea was the My Pillow.  You might have seen this on the news lately for deceptive advertising practices. Even after the news and government told people not to buy it, they still bought pillows. So many the company is manufacturing 25,000 pillows every single day. That is not a small number of pillows.

These three examples were meant to show the power of a convincing video. These videos moved people to do something they might not otherwise do on their own.

The final was to show how a student uses video to convince…

Shortcuts - we all love them.

Here are a few keyboard shortcuts for Windows 10 that we find useful. Somewhere I read that using the keyboard is actually more efficient than the mouse, try it and see what you think.

All of these shortcuts will require you to use the Windows key on the keyboard. Where is the Windows key? Look on the lower left side of your keyboard. The key has four white squares on it, it kinda looks like a window with four panes.

Hitting the Windows key alone will open the Start menu in the lower left side of your laptop screen. Hitting that key in combination with others allows you to do some amazing things saving tons of time.

Windows Key + D = Display and hide the desktop. When I am using Chrome and I need to quickly get back to the desktop, no more hitting the little minus sign in the upper corner of the browser window.

Windows Key + E = Opens the File Explorer, similar to My Computer from back in the day. I use this when I have to pull a file from a flashdrive or SD card.

Windows Key + Right/Le…