3 Need-Scenarios to Engage Students with Authentic Tasks


Alan November’s concept of the Digital Learning Farm, asks schools and teachers to empower students by giving them relevant responsibilities that allow them to contribute in  meaningful ways to their learning community (class/school/etc.). How can we give students the opportunity to CONTRIBUTE versus completing projects that end up in the trash, bottom of their backpack or at best on the refrigerator door for display in their house.

I understand that it is unreasonable to make EVERY assignment, EVERY project a relevant and  meaningful contribution

Need 1: I am in need for icons to use as I create infographics of the school’s core values . The school’s core values are: Balanced, Communicators, Critical thinkers, Curious, Inclusive, Innovative, Reflective, Responsible, Risk-takers. Why not ask students (7th graders) in one of our computer graphics classes (Thank you Jennifer Kagohara!) to create them?

The benefits are mutual:

  • I receive custom designed icons
  • Students are given an authentic task versus a made up activity which might elicit the traditional question of “Why do I have to do this?”
  • They will see their work being used for additional purposes
  • Students will see and feel first hand what it means to create with remixing in mind
  • They will be part of the cycle of creating, licensing, using and attributing under the Creative Commons license.


photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5


by Giulia


by Tibet


by Mathaus and Ji Won


Need 2:  We are in need of music under the Creative Commons license to allow and promote sharing of original music (with attribution of course). Students are creating more and more videos as evidence of their learning. The issue of using copyrighted songs as background music has become a problem. Our Media Basics class (6th graders)  decided that we would contribute original music for other students in our school community to use, but also to make them available to a global audience. We are hoping to continue to grow a music library for students to use in their projects and at the same time teach  and experience the effects of Creative Commons.

Feel free to share and use the sound file, created by Graded School students and made available under Creative Commons. (If you use them, leave our students a comment (here on Langwitches) so they can track their impact.

You are free to use them under the following conditions:

  • Attribution- please give proper credit  (ex. Music licensed under Creative Commons by Simon)
  • Non-Commercial- you are not to gain financial benefit from using these files
  • Share Alike- you must share the work created with the above files under the same Creative Commons license

Music by Maya- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/maya-happy-song

Music by Pedro & Rafa – https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/pedro-rafa-happy-song

Music by Noah- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/happy-song-noah-1

Music by Amanda- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/happy-song-amanda

Music by Felipe M- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/happy-song-1

Music by Anna Clara- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/happy-song

Music by Toribio- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/happy-song-toribio

Music by Belen- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/happy-song-by-belen

Music by Rens- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/rens

Music by Rodrigo- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/rodrigo-happy-song/s-oH6Qe

Music by Simon- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/happy-song-by-simon

Music by Jessica- https://soundcloud.com/mrstolisano/happy-song-by-jessica

Music by Felipe L-

Need 3: I was in need of posters to display around school to promote PD opportunities for our teachers.

Again, an authentic need in the school, required students to learn specific tasks (In this case 6th graders had to figure out how to use the tool (Photoshop), about QR codes, typography and color schemes). They saw their final products displayed around the school, fulfilling the intended need.



by Belen



by Maya


by Rens

What are some needs at your school or in your community to connect your students with an authentic task? How can you connect these needs with your curriculum content? How can you help your students see that the skills and learning objectives are valuable in the real world? Please share your ideas and scenarios for all of us to learn from.