In our digital age, it is imperative that we allow students a voice. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by giving students a chance to become authors. Students have traditionally put in more effort when presenting in front of the class to peers instead so thus publishing to the world could amplify those results even more. From what I have seen with projects students tend to work harder when the world is their audience.
Taking chances, exploring horizons and connecting learning becomes part of the education process on a daily basis. A great example of this can be seen from a classroom in Coppell Texas by Jodie Deinhammer. In her Biology class, students were the authors for an iBook that has been used and viewed in over 22 different countries. Those same students also authored an iTunes U course that has over 50 000 students enrolled. Health Inside Out (iBook) and Health Without Borders (iTunes U course)
By providing the outline to a project in a PBL approach and letting the student answer and come up with the material will highlight authenticity of the student work and also help to encourage creativity.
Allowing students to participate with the community will also provide a greater sense of place. An example of this is happening in Mansfield Texas currently. An intermediate school is collaborating together to make an interactive book over one of the parks in the city. Everything about this book is student-authored and the enthusiasm that we received when introducing this project to the students was overwhelming.