An authentic audience is one which most students are still not accustomed. Typically, students write a paper or do a presentation for their teacher and in some cases for their classroom peer's feedback. After doing this for 9 years, by the time students hit high school we can group them into those who know how to play this game of school and those who are not interested. Doing one more trick for the praise of a teacher or a grade often isn't enough to motivate students who have not traditionally found academic success. This is where a change of witness to their learning is necessary.
Authentic audiences, or those who care about a student's performance or project beyond the classroom, may consist of members of their greater community, families, students beyond their classroom, or complete strangers. These viewer's of students' learning often increase motivation via the students' heightened concern for relevancy and acceptance of their work.
Today's students live in a world where social media and the yearning for acceptance has increased. YouTube videos have millions of hits in hours, Vines and Instagram post are seen hundreds of thousands of times in minutes and a tweet can be heard around the world in seconds (see what happens in one internet minute below). Respect for one's teacher may be important, but being heard beyond my small world is what students want most.
How are you pushing the boundaries of student's work? Are you still in the mode of students performing for the teacher or is their audience boundless? Do students feel someone besides the teacher cares about their work and holds value in their opinions and learning? If not yet, when? When will we afford our modern students boundless learning?