Experiential learning resources for the innovative educator
Incorporating Authentic Presentations into Project-Based Learning
There are variety of essential components of project-based learning: personalized project proposals, innovative final products, collaboration with community experts, periodic self and peer-assessments, and most importantly in my opinion, authentic presentations. An authentic presentation is the demonstration of new skills and knowledge to a relevant audience in the community. Students are expected to share their work with the public.
For example, I had a student who wanted to learn more about "coming of age" traditions around the world. She created a children's book as her final product and read it to students in a nearby elementary school class. That is an authentic presentation. She shared her information with a relevant audience in the community. Public presentations of this type might be a logistical nightmare for some educators. Luckily there are a variety of ways students can share their final products to a relevant audience in the community without leaving the building. This isn't necessarily ideal, but if that is your only option, go with it for now.
Check out the graphic below to get an idea of how this works. Feel free to use this graphic organizer with your students as a brainstorming tool. A free printable version can be found at Experiential Learning Depot.
Let's go through an example of a project-based learning authentic presentation:
You assign a project to your life science class. They are to do a PBL project on symbiotic relationships. One student decides to create an info-graphic on the different types of symbiotic relationships. She collaborates with an ecology professor from a nearby university and a graphic designer in the area. They work together to create a professionally done info-graphic with solid, accurate information. The student then needs to figure out how they will share their final product with a relevant audience, that will benefit from the information and/or the final product itself.
Examples of Authentic Presentation Options for this Project:
***Ideally this student would authentically present their info-graphic using all of the examples above.***
The purpose of authentic presentations vs. a standard presentation to the class is that they encourage project quality. Students don't want to share work that they aren't proud of to a public audience. The result is deeper learning and intrinsic motivation to learn and improve.
I have several project-based learning products in my store, Experiential Learning Depot, that incorporate principles of project-based learning such as authentic presentations. Check them out if you think project-based learning is something you might love to try in your classroom.
Have a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend everyone!
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To provide innovative educational resources for educators, parents, and students, that go beyond lecture and worksheets.
Sara Segar, experiential life-science educator and advisor, curriculum writer, and mother of two.