A co-evolutionary model for supporting the emergence of authenticity

  • Sasha A. Barab
  • Kurt D. Squire
  • William Dueber


The purpose of this study was to share our experiences using emerging technologies to create an authentic learning context where preservice teachers at a university and practicing K-12 teachers collaborate in the conduct of real-world (as opposed to “textbook”) tasks. In this paper, we demonstrate and evaluate the design of professional development that involved a partnership between two universities and eight surrounding K-12 schools. This partnership provides the foundation for supporting a learning community of preservice and practicing teachers that situates in collaborative practices that are both authentic and valuable to all involved. Specifically, we studied how issues of ownership, power, authenticity, and collaboration contribute to students' successes and the success of the program through four case studies. We also explored how asynchronous conferencing tools might be used to facilitate communication across geographic and chronological boundaries, breaking down traditional barriers to distributed communities of practice and making possible the creation of a co-evolutionary model for supporting the emergence of a context that was authentic to both preservice and in-service teachers. In contrast to claims that suggest authenticity for an individual can be prescribed to a learner by the instructor, we deny the legitimacy of preauthentication. Instead, an assumption underlying this research is that authenticity is an emergent process that is actualized through individuals' participation in tasks and practices of value to themselves and to a community of practice. The co-evolutionary model for supporting the emergence of authenticity described in this study provides a means of overcoming some of the challenges associated with simulation and participation models for establishing authentic learning experiences.


Professional Development Preservice Teacher Learning Experience Educational Technology Learning Community 
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Copyright information

© the Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sasha A. Barab
    • 1
  • Kurt D. Squire
    • 1
  • William Dueber
    • 1
  1. 1.the School of EducationIndiana UniversityBloomington

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