When reading the Authenic Learning article it made me think of what has commonly been referred to as "on the job training". For many years OJT has been the best form of learning what needs to be done in a new job, career or anything for that matter. I remember starting a new position with the Employment Development Department and having to read the infamous Policies & Procedures Manuals. It was torture! I mostly understood what it said but I didn't really get it until I had to do it. Once I was thrown into the trenches, I learned policies and procedures in dealing with customers and employers and collegues and supervisors and so on and so on. Authentic Learning has given current "learners" the opportunity to better understand the careers or topics being studied. I think that it challenges the research based vs. practical based method of learning. Although both are crucial to the full understanding of a topic, practical experience has not been as readily available as they have become with technology.
The Polaris system that was created seemed to make real world sense. Students were not only doing assignments for their classes but they were able to see the practical use of their school work and gained actual experience. Technology provides accessibility (hands on experience) to real problems and real solutions. Authentic Learning's "goal of giving learners the confidence that comes from being recognized as part of a community of practice" is something that takes students years to gain. Authentic Learning is not as prevalent because the thought is often "if it ain't broke..." unfortunately, that persepctive limits the options that students can have. Often teachers don't have as much technology experience as their students. They may feel intimidated based on their student's vast technology savvy. Although we may not be seeing Authentic Learning pratices in all classroom settings, this is a teaching practice that is going to continue to grow to meet the needs and demands of the continually advanced students.