This post is as much informational as it is for me to synthesize my own understanding of the Elements of Learning. Plus if I do it every day that's 5 days of writing that I don't have to brainstorm a new idea.
The 5 Elements of Learning are:
Communication and Creation
A note about the Elements of Learning. Apple's research shows that students that come from classrooms with the 5 Elements of Learning are highly effective learners and the technology just amplifies that learning.
Element # 5 - Real-World Engagement
I feel like a lot of educators gravitate towards this one. They may think that a virtual field trip fits the bill. That actually isn't correct. It is a good use of the technology that we have, but it's not real-world engagement by Apple's standards. Real-world engagement consists of a number of components. One is realistic example - it is what it sounds like. If students are graphing severe weather they should be using real-life data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) or the like. The data should not be made up by the teacher. Second, it should include immersion in the real world. This is where the virtual field trip might come in or students might visit a place or interview someone in the community. Next component is realistic task(s), an example would be doing something a professional or citizen might do outside of a school setting. The highest level of implementation is when it is immersive and realistic. This forms authentic engagement. Student work serves a. real-world purpose AND it has an impact outside of the 4 walls of the classroom.
I have an example of real-world engagement that we've done in our district. It was an amazing experience for everyone involved. This was from about 6-7 years ago. Our summer school enrichment students were doing a unit on environmentalism and recycling. They studied the garbage patch in the Pacific. They took water samples from the biggest park in our city. While at the park one of the students had to throw away some plastic. He realized there were no recycle garbage bins in the park. The students went to the park district board to get more information. They spoke at public comment at a meeting. They worked with the park district to get bins ordered. The bins were ordered, delivered, and placed in all of our city parks. That was all student-led. Everyone involved learned a lot about environmentalism and the inner workings of local government.