"You talk as if a god had made the Machine.. Men made it, do not forget that. Great men, but men. The Machine is much, but it is not everything. I see something like you in this plate, but I do not see you. I hear something like you through this telephone, but I do not hear you. That is why I want you to come. Pay me a visit, so that we can meet face to face, and talk about the hopes that are in my mind."The machine stops - 1909 - Forster

Monday, August 10, 2015

INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY: "The travel agency" - authentic task

What is an authentic task ? ( compito autentico )

In general, an authentic task is one which:

  • is purposeful and engaging
  • models how people solve real problems in work and/or communities
  • puts knowledge to work
  • potentially demonstrates what students know and can do
  • supports multiple representations and solution strategies
  • offers opportunities for meaningful learning and higher order cognitive thinking
  • results in some product, presentation or outcome as a result of the deliberations of the group and/or individual
In other words, it can be said that an authentic task

  • is real-world and involves making real-world decisions
  • involves the creation of a product
  • requires multiple skills and covers more than one subject
  • has to be performed collaboratively
  • promotes students' autonomy
  • develops multiple competencies
  • arises from a non-googleable question

When constructing authentic tasks, the acronym GRASPS may help:

G    Real-world Goal

R    Real-world Role

A    Real-world Audience

S     Real-world Situation

P     Real-world Products or Performances

S     Standards

THE TRAVEL AGENCY  is an activity I did with my third year students, which worked well and is an example of authentic task.


Devising the task, using the GRASPS elements


Creating the webquest


Dividing the students into groups, giving instructions, setting a time limit ( 2 hours )


"Setting up" the travel agencies and performing the oral tasks ( a big thank you to Benedicta Pretorino, a real-world nice girl, who spent some days in our school, observing my flipped students while preparing her degree thesis )


Giving them positive feedback, for both effort and achievement.
Some students took their job so seriously they even produced an elegant brochure in order to convince Miss Pretorino ( and that was extra-non required work ).

The Travel Agency - A trip to London


This task involved students in a productive use of technology, integrated more subjects
 ( english, ICT, geography ), gave students choices, promoted meaningful learning and assessed students' ability to operate in an authentic context.