One potential problem with public audiences is that it can be difficult to find them outside the school or families of students. This post on a PBL Consulting blog gives criteria for choosing an authentic audience for student projects.
In this Edview 360 post, a middle school teacher explains the importance of audience/readers to authentic assignments, shares some ideas for finding audiences for your students' work, and describes how much more engaged her students are when their work has a real purpose and audience.
Nine middle and high school Language Arts teachers define what "authentic writing" means to them, and describe authentic assignments they've given to their students. Interestingly, not all of the assignments described had an audience other than the teacher. I've always thought that writing for a real reader/audience was a necessary part of authentic assignments. Some interesting ideas here, anyway.
What a great idea! Fifth and Sixth grade students created a YouTube channel and math tutorials for a project-based learning class. This is a wonderful example of a project with a useful, "real world" purpose.
This PBL article summarizes a conference presentation by Sam Seidel, author of Hip Hop Genius. He gives three criteria for making project assignments "real-er." An overlooked benefit of authentic projects, in my opinion, is that they can give students the opportunity to interact with community professionals and learn about adult careers and job duties.
Children can make a difference and contribute to real-world issues and problems today, not simply "when [they] grow up," according to this Creative Educator article. It also lists several ideas for local and global audiences for student work.
Students can record stories of someone explaining his or her American experience (interview), then add photos and writing. They can then upload it to Smithsonian, where anyone can access it. Under "Student Projects," I read "Journey to America," and found it extremely moving. In audio and text (and sometimes through tears), it tells the story of Fidel, a migrant farm worker who left his parents behind in Mexico at age 14. What amazing possibilities!
BloomBoard Asks:What authentic projects have you assigned to your students, and did you see an increase in interest, on-task behavior, or motivation when they created work for a real audience other than the teacher or class?