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ERIC Number: EJ1049199
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Apr
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-2158-0502
Authentic Education by Providing a Situation for Student-Selected Problem-Based Learning
Strimel, Greg
Technology and Engineering Teacher, v73 n7 p8-18 Apr 2014
Students are seldom given an authentic experience within school that allows them the opportunity to solve real-life complex engineering design problems that have meaning to their lives and/ or the greater society. They are often confined to learning environments that are limited by the restrictions set by course content for assessment purposes and school/teacher educational boundaries. However, the spotlight on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education has increased the focus of implementing multisensory activities based on meaningful tasks that motivate students to learn and develop creativity, problem-solving, and innovation skills. Within STEM Education, teachers may be requested to provide students with hands-on, problem-based activities that focus on real-life issues (Clemm, 2012). In technology and engineering education, design briefs are instructional tools used to provide hands-on, problem-based learning opportunities to students. However, these instructional tools can sometimes lack authenticity and true real-world problem-solving experience. This article will explain how teachers can provide an authentic learning experience by providing a situation for student-selected learning using examples dealing with natural disasters. Natural disasters have been selected as examples because they are social constructs occurring at the intersection between humans and nature (Hooke, 2007). In addition, current weather trends and the increase in natural hazards provide connections to a student's own life experience. Although engineering for natural disasters is a broad topic, authentic learning experiences based on the issues involved can stimulate student discussions and ideas for future innovative products or processes that might mitigate the impacts of such disasters. More specifically, technology and engineering can promote future solutions to such problems because, as Hooke (2007) describes, the engineering community holds the key to diminishing the threats of natural hazards.
International Technology and Engineering Educators Association. 1914 Association Drive Suite 201, Reston, VA 20191-1539. Tel: 703-860-2100; Fax: 703-860-0353; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A