Establish an Authentic Audience for Technology Projects

Create a meaningful learning experience. Do not have your students create technology projects only for you. Instead, establish an authentic audience. An authentic audience is a real group of people that will view the work, such as other students, parents, community members, experts, or e-pals.

Authentic Audience and Technology Projects

Create an authentic audience for technology projects to motivate students.

As you may be aware, the Grade 8 students are working on the technology project TechnoEnvironment and are creating a postcard. This was the second class for this assignment after their guided discovery lesson to explore the Microsoft Publisher tools. Now that students were experts at using the program, they were asked to write to the students at the school and request help to solve an environmental problem.

NOTE: The TechnoEnvironment project has been a favorite for many years. Unfortunately, it is no longer available. To find other TechnoKids projects view the Project Matrix or visit the TechnoKids website.

A bulletin board in the front foyer was created in advance of class. As students walked into the computer lab they passed the blank board with the heading TechnoEnvironment and a sign that read, POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE, I wish you were here to help solve this problem.



Environmental Postcard

Sample of an environmental postcard about shark finning.

Students were told that their postcards would be posted onto the bulletin board and viewed by fellow students at the school. This created the authentic audience needed. Students designed eye-catching publications with text that was phrased so that young children could understand the environmental issues. I did not restrict the postings to only the best publications. Instead everyone’s work was used to decorate the bulletin board to celebrate all of their efforts.

The Grade 8 students were very focused during class time as they completed their postcards. Once their publications were posted they made positive comments about the overall appearance of the bulletin board. Now that their work has been on display for a few days I have noticed that many students stop to view the board and visitors to the school have remarked about the quality. There is no doubt that having an authentic audience created a more meaningful learning opportunity.

Why Create an Authentic Audience?

There are several reasons why an authentic audience is an important part of a technology project:

  • establishes a genuine purpose to the assignment
  • creates a real world connection which makes the task meaningful
  • raises the level of student interest in a technology project
  • motivates students to commit to the task
  • improves the quality of work
  • determines the writing style that is appropriate for the task
  • celebrates student accomplishments
  • fosters a learning community
  • showcases the technology program in the school

TechnoEnvironment Articles:

  1. Planning to Teach an Environmental Technology Project
  2. Frozen Computers Foil Internet Research
  3. 12 Tips for Internet Research
  4. Five Issues Associated with Assigning Computer Homework
  5. Guided Discovery and Computer Education
  6. Establish an Authentic Audience for Technology Projects
  7. Direct Instruction and Computer Education
  8. The Struggle to Have Students be Their Personal Best
  9. Flexibility is the Key to Success in the Computer Lab
  10. Where is the Content? Razzle Dazzle and Computers
  11. Celebrate Success!

Christa Love

Christa Love, Curriculum Developer & Teacher ~ I am passionate about blending technology into curriculum. Whether it is programming, video production, graphic design, or digital citizenship, I am interested in how apps and tools can be used to enhance learning. Throughout the years I have designed many TechnoKids technology projects. My favorite part of curriculum development is field-testing the ideas to determine the activities that work best in real classrooms. I write about what I have learned that can save teachers time in their own curriculum planning.

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