Sunday, 10 September 2017

knowledge creators and engagement

I am interested in how knowledge building communities can enhance engagement (social and cognitive). But the question is how do you measure engagement? A recent literature review has prompted more questions that answers.

What does engagement look like?
Is it the number of times that students contribute to the discussion? The depth of the contribution? The amount of times an idea is revisited and revised? Or is it something altogether more holistic, such as a reflective thinking portfolio? (Lee, Chan and Aalst, 2006)

Knowledge building teachers, if we think knowledge building enhances engagement in classes, how can identify it.
I would love to hear your ideas and experiences.

Reimagining teaching and learning - self effiacy
So I've been thinking about the learner's role in knowledge building. It's quite a different dynamic to traditional, more transactional modes of learning where the teacher is the conduit and all learning flows from them.

Knowledge Building which I have been tinkering with in one of my classes for a few years, puts the student at the center of their learning - they are agents in it and as legitimate knowledge creators in our learning community. It is really scary for some students as they haven't known anything other than direct instruction. But the rewards are huge for when they get it.

I guess the question is how to empower students to see themselves as being capable of inquiry ... and also how to scaffold them so we're not throwing them in the deep end before they've learned to swim!

So in my inquiry, I'm thinking about 'learning how to learn'. How can I give my students the skills that they need to create knowledge? How can I give them the tools that they need to reflect on their learning and be empowered as epistemic agents?

For those of you who have been working with knowledge building and collaboration for a while, how do you support metacognition in your students? Are there particular resources or tools that are really effective?

My inquiry hunch is that knowledge building will improve self-efficacy over time.

To identify a shift I will need to gather qualitative data over time. I was thinking of using the Learning Dispositions survey that we often use with NetNZ students. Teachers, can you think of any other good ways of getting a picture of students as learners? The main thing really is that I'm collecting student voice about their learning as self-efficacy is defined by the learners' beliefs about their abilities.

Please share your thoughts, ideas, and feedback with me.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Thoughts about teachers as knowledge creators

" ... the teacher has to play a key role in modeling knowledge building through being creative and innovative in pedagogical practices. Professional learning and development will best be supported when teachers can share, create, and improve new knowledge on teaching, learning, and assessment as a KBC." (Lai, 2014, p18)

This is a thread of interest that has emerged following a huge amount of reading into constructivist pedagogy. This thought echoes a problem in day to day teaching. We're encouraging our students to follow Learn-Create-Share  in their learning, doing innovative things in our classrooms but we forget to share as teachers. Too often, we're too shy, too busy, too much in our classroom siloes.

As a teacher, I live in a bit of silo. I am the only visual art teacher at my school, the nearest colleague being 35 km up the road. It can be quite isolating.

I have been really lucky to have had the generous support of colleagues as I've explored what knowledge building looks like with my art history class.

I wonder though how we can make the innovations in our practice more visible and accessible to our community?


Lai, Kwok-Wing, & Pullar, Ken. (2014). Designing knowledge building communities in secondary schools.

Community and belonging

Having finally completed a literature review into how knowledge building communities might enhance engagement and self-efficacy, I have been wrestling with some emerging questions about the community aspect of knowledge building communities. Establishing a culture of collaboration is fundamental. The problem is, how can trust and connections between community members be developed?

How can an authentic community be developed in the online environment?

I would love to hear from teachers who have been tinkering with knowledge building communities. What makes a difference in establishing a culture of knowledge sharing?

Also in general, NZ teachers what does whanaungatanga look like in your class?

Monday, 14 August 2017

Meeting - Pūtaki Toki

Once again the Pūtaki Toki meeting has left me with fuel in the tank and fresh inspiration for another term of learn-create-share. The nice thing about these meetings is that there is somewhere for everyone to jump in no matter their 'level' or experience with digital immersion. For some staff, they set up an inquiry blog which was a huge learning step for them. For others (who are a bit more experienced with 'share') it was a timely challenge to dive in a little bit deeper and investigate how they could enrich the blogging experience.

For me, it was a reminder about the rich communal resource we have with the Manaiakalani and Toki Pounamu sites and blogs. As educators we don't have to tough it out alone, there are others that have walked before us.

 Nā tō rourou nā taku rourou - ka ora ai te iwi.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Inquiry research

I am wrestling with how to form a really good question for a literature review (part of my Mindlab study this year)

I am planning to focus on my online art history class. We collaborate using Knowledge Forum a lot (Kwok-Wing Lai, 2014), to explore big questions and construct an understanding of art history concepts as a class. 

I am a bit hesitant to box myself in with the term 'knowledge building' in my research question. I guess I want to be able to compare other collaborative models with knowledge building, which will require a more open question.

I am interested in how collaborating in an online setting can affect engagement (lots of barriers in online teaching) and epistemic agency 

I've formed a few possible questions, that you are welcome to critique:

1. How can use of 21st-century technologies and constructivist models enhance student engagement and epistemic agency in the online environment?

2. How can collaborative tools increase epistemic agency in the online environment?

3. How can knowledge building communities enhance student engagement and self-efficacy in the online environment?

Feedback, please! I'm trying to write a really rich question that's neither too broad or too narrow.

Thursday, 15 June 2017