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
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 ).
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.