Authentic Learning

What is authentic learning?  Let me ask you a question...If you were going to teach a child about the weather, how would you do it? (Franklin's Forecast?)

When I think of my own childhood, I remember being taught about the weather through posters on the wall that had drawings of the seasons.  I learned that snow falls in the Winter, the leaves change color in the Fall, flowers bloom in the Spring and i t is always sunny in the Summer.  I learned all of this despite the fact that where I grew up (in sunny Southern California
) it had never snowed, the leaves never re ally went through a drastic color change, and there always seemed to be flowers blooming.  Why did what I learn in school not match what I saw outside?  Was learning the traditional seasons authentic to where I lived? 

Authentic learning says that...we should learn what happens in the "real world", and become "cognitive apprentices
" to the experts.  When we learn about math, we learn to think like mathematicians.  When we learn about the weather, we learn to use tools that a meteorologist would use.  When we learn to draw, we are taught techniques that real artists use.  But how is this possible?  How can everyone have access to experts at all times?  Hopefully this site will answer these questions and any more that you might have about authentic learning!

Please let me know what you think of this site!  What could I add to it to make it more useful?  Where were my explanations hard to understand?  Did the links make sense?  Who are t he people in the pictures?  Anything you can think of....

Tiffany Marra
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor