QUESTION: What is worthy of understanding in "knowledge building"?

Our treasure lies in the beehive of our knowledge. We are perpetually on the way thither, being by nature winged insects and honey gatherers of the mind. Friedrich Nietzsche

Start capturing your thinking about Knowledge Building here ... [scroll down to the bottom if you want to add a note about the page edit for the page history log]

Lost on Paddington Station

Is this the right place to add? My knowledge of these things is new! (LIN) [5/9/06]
Who knows where the "right place" is LIN - you can put your thinking anywhere - edit the page anyway you want to ... that is the delicious freedom of a wiki. And anyone can take your conversation modify it or reposition it on the page. This page is growing like topsy and is going to need the efforts of a system/template thinker to introduce sub-headings very soon.(Pam)[6/9/06]

The Validity of Knowledge

I have always had a suspicion that ‘knowledge’ sits hand in hand with the necessity for it to be seen as valid by a wider audience. Having just read “Passionate minds” by David Bodanis, I am more and more disturbed by this apparent flaw in our appreciation and perception of what knowledge is.
Émilie, Marquise du Châtelet-Laumont (1706-1749) was Voltaire’s lover and intellectual superior who supported him through his career and his eventual rise to 18th century rock star status.
But when you look at lists of 'important figures of the Enlightenment era' no mention is made of one of the most outstanding thinkers of our time. A thinker who helped Newton out when he 'got stuck'.
One could only conclude from this, that for some reason, and I am taking a wild guess at gender here, Mme Du Chatelet was not considered a valid person to create and/or posses valid knowledge.
Immanuel Kant (a well respected thinker, by some) further ‘dissed’ Emilie by writing after her death*
that ‘to imagine Mme du Chatelet a great thinker is as preposterous as imagining a woman possess a beard.’
  • she tragically died in childbirth at 40. (Veggie)

Ahh Veggie I am so jealous at the ease with which you have introduced testosterone,bonking, and hirsute women into the wiki discussion. And I must agree with you that “[Women] do heaps of stuff and remain invisible in terms of knowledge building" is a claim that ought to be more widely critiqued” – The challenge remains current - check out issues of gender and political bloggers
  • "That opinion writing is a kind of testosterone-powered food fight is a popular idea in the blogosphere. Male bloggers are always wondering where the women are and why women can't/don't/won't throw bananas. After all, anyone can have a blog, right? In the wake of the Estrich-Kinsley contretemps, the Washington Monthly blogger Kevin Drum mused upon the absence of women bloggers and got a major earful from women bloggers, who are understandably sick of hearing that they don't exist. "I'm staring you right in the face, Kevin," wrote Avedon Carol (, "and even though you've said you read me every day you don't have me on your blogroll. It's things like this that make me tear out my hair when people wonder why women are underrepresented...." There are actually lots of women political bloggers out there--spend half an hour reading them and you will never again say women aren't as argumentative as men! But what makes a blog visible is links, and male bloggers tend not to link to women (to his credit, Kevin Drum has added nineteen to his blogroll). Perhaps they sense it might interfere with the circle jerk in cyberspace--the endless mutual self-infatuation that is one of the less attractive aspects of the blogging phenom. Katha Pollitt
But I reckon issues of anonymity in knowledge building goes deeper/ wider than simple issues of gender. Anonymity in knowledge building is reserved for [any group] that sits outside the ruling elite. And because of this we need to be alert to the knowledge building thinking of students from culturally and socially diverse backgrounds - to ensure we recognise knowledge building by all students and are not charged with "I'm staring you right in the face" stuff in our classrooms- (Pam) 10/9/06

Indigenous Knowledge

Next to the wisdom of youth, the knowledge of people who've managed to survive with minimal technology for millenia has been all but fogotten. This survival feat was accomplished by assuming a relationship of respect for all things. We've had many discussions up here in the North about the value of Native Ways of Knowing, and how they might help us find our way in a world that seems increasingly fractious.

I like this story from the Eskimo elder telling about learning to hunt caribou:
The boys watched as their father proceeded to walk directly toward the caribou herd, which as he approached began to move away from him in a file behind the lead bulls, yet he just kept walking openly toward them. This had the two brothers scratching their heads wondering why their father was chasing the caribou away from him. Once the father reached the area where the caribou had been grazing, he stopped and put his bow and arrows down on the ground. As the (now) elder told the story, he demonstrated how his father then got into a crouching position and slowly began to move his arms up and down, slapping them against his legs as though he were mimicking a giant bird about to take off. The two brothers watched intently as the lead bulls in the caribou heard stopped and looked back curiously at their father’s movements. Slowly at first, the caribou began to circle back in a wide arc watching the figure flapping its wings out on the tundra, and then they began running, encircling their father in a closing spiral until eventually they were close enough that he reached down, picked up his bow and arrows and methodically culled out the choice caribou one at a time until he had what he needed. He then motioned for his sons to come down and help prepare the meat to be taken back to the village.

As the elder completed the story of how he and his brother were taught the accrued knowledge associated with hunting caribou, he explained that in those days the relationship between the hunter and the hunted was much more intimate than it is now. With the intervention of modern forms of technology, the knowledge associated with that symbiotic relationship is slowly being eroded. (Barnhardt & Kawagley, 2005)

Any talk of knowledge or knowledge building has to be coupled with some mention of it's purpose. Otherwise, we have to ask, "What's the point?" Frijtof Capra's conversation with E.F. Shumacher illustrates some new possibilities for Science that indicate we may eventually begin to recognize the value of "knowledge for understanding," as opposed to "knowledge for manipulation," while we think our way around and out of the Mind vs. Matter trap.

Chaos theory may help us see how other deterministic theories are limited by the uncertainties and contingencies of the classroom. The best analogy for teaching that I've come upon in the recent weeks that I've been following this line of thought is from Capra's book, The Hidden Connection. He compared the trajectory of a rock, when kicked, to the trajectory of a dog given the same stimulus. Teachers need to think like people who are kicking dogs, not rocks. The outcome is predictable, but not absolutely. (DougN) [13/9/06]

With NZ classrooms becoming more multicultural,this raises a question that if we are building knowledge with our students how can we assist students from other cultures when we have no real understanding of their culture,values or heritage.The new curriculum addresses languages but is this a stand alone gesture ?????(By Joves)

A one finger salute Joves ... congratulations on introducing this to the wiki - you ask "is this a stand alone gesture ?????" possibly ... it certainly fails to address the complexity of the different cultural ways of knowing of the students that are imprisoned in the classrooms of the middle class teachers of the 21st century learners. Dunno that we will ever "understand" whilst we frame our community within classrooms - is why our kids seek a community of learning in second life, wow, trade me, magic the gathering, games workshop ....any where but school - Is a great question to try and understand (Pam)

Oooh interesting - who's "responsibility" is it to address migrant-specific issues? Or rather, who's "responsibility" is it to guide individuals/familes to combine two (or more) cultures/identities together?

Think we are all responsible but our sense of responsibility will be formed by how we understand the intersection/ connection between culture and knowledge building This is going to be very clunky thinking – will probably suffer from inconsistencies and I will most likely contradict myself – BUT - my naive thinking makes me wonder if the process of learning stuff is generic but the process of knowledge building is culture specific. If the process of learning is generic but knowledge building culture specific then do we do have a responsibility to let kids in on the sort of knowledge building that we value in the middle class institution of our state schools, whilst still valuing culture specific knowledge building so necessary in other authentic domains. And can we do both or does successful KB in one preclude success in the other?

Does our institutional practice seek cultural conformity? How much cultural conformity in knowledge building should we seek in schools? Is indigenous thinking absorbed in the key competencies? The expression of cultural dispositions for thinking does not seem explicit in the conversations around the Key Competencies and the new draft curriculum.

Interesting to note that the DeSeCo report concluded that recognition of cultural difference did not preclude commonality within a key competency, (Brewerton 2004 p. 7).

In challenging notions of unique cultural ways of thinking, (Sapir-Whorf like arguments), Brewerton proposed that it is in the expression of a competency that the recognition and support of cultural differences might occur. Certainly, explorations of the expression of hauora especially taha hinengaro – mental and emotional well-being, (Durie 1994) and manaakitanga (generosity) and responsibility for the well-being of others, values and habits of personal identity, self awareness, and purpose - taha wairua – or spiritual well-being, would support the expression of cultural difference within the thinking key competency. Perhaps “expression” is the knowledge building bit.

Accepting cultural commonality arguments with regard to the key competency thinking does not preclude to the creation of a closer alignment in the “expression” of thinking between the cultures of home and school. Alton - Lee (2003 p15) notes that after 100 years of a European Pakeha majority, “by 2040, current projections predict that the majority of students in New Zealand primary schools will be Mäori and Pasifika.” Another significant change for city schools has been the population growth in Asian students, in the Mt Roskill schools I work in you can blow the population growth from Asia to the Middle East and Africa . When we take into account research showing that more effective instruction occurs when there is a cultural accommodation between home and school in patterns of teaching learning and language, (Phillips, McNaughton and MacDonald 2001 cited in Alton-Lee 2003), there is a more immediate challenge to all of us in education to accommodate expressions of thinking/ learning that accommodate knowledge building that aligns with the changing cultural profiles in classrooms. And when we do this we must think about teaching using Doug's suggestion "Teachers need to think like people who are kicking dogs, not rocks. The outcome is predictable, but not absolutely." (Pam 29/9)

What knowledge might be....and ignorance

I'd written a definition, but after a few days of thinking, I've decided I don't even know what knowledge is. What is knowledge? Is truth absolute?(cK) [5/9/06]
Ha ... "this too will pass" .... I've always liked
  • "Knowledge is like a sphere, the greater its volume the larger its contact with the unknown" Pascal
and when you begin to imagine that you can attempt to define knowledge cK you will find out that you do not understand ignorance (Pam) [6/9/06]
On ignorance:
I thought that knowing you don't know and the willingness to know together provide the stimulus for investigation/knowing... but maybe there is a continuum of ignorance, where a lower level may be a stimulus, a slightly higher level is denial/laziness and a higher level is 'classical' ignorance. [6/9/06]
Try Kerwin and Witte's epistemological breakdown of ignorance and its implications for programming on Bill Kerr's Blog -we don't know what we don't know (Pam) [7/9/06]
  • Known unknowns: All the things you know you don't know. Sure as hell I knew that I didn't know why on earth my countries with dots were behaving so weirdly.
  • Unknown unknowns: All the things you don't know you don't know. Pass, someone else will have to tell me that.
  • Errors: All the things you think you know but don't. Well, programming / debugging is good for discovering that, as in this example. I thought I was doing something straightforward but unexpectedly a huge problem arose.
  • Unknown knowns: All the things you don't know you know. Somewhere deep in the background I knew something about the significance of dragging an object by a transparent hole. But that took a while to come out.
  • Taboos: Dangerous, polluting or forbidden knowledge. A hole in the middle, that is dangerous, I have found out.
  • Denials: All the things too painful to know, so you don't. I was pretty sure I was an idiot who couldn't see something that must have been obvious. That was painful but I didn't give up on it. I'll probably never be a highly skilled programmer but I'm still in denial on that one (partly).
Oh yeah, I remember that sort of categorisation... except not from Bill Kerr and from someone else who drew a big box-y diagram about it. They said we had to harness the unknown potential of the unknown knowns.(cK)

On Pascal:
does that mean the contact between the sphere volume and the negative-sphere volume is where learning occurs? Did society start building walls and structures here to define a line when it really was diffuse? I guess people thought lines were easier and quicker to cross than ... 'diffuses'. (cK) [6/9/06]

My friend (a regular student who has not been influenced by any educational jargon) thought knowledge was intrinsic to all things that are and that we as humans just run around trying to discover that knowledge and once its discovered, it can be learned. Whereas I thought knowledge was more of collaborative interpretation by thinking things (like human beings). Then some people were saying that knowledge was including facts and I thought facts were those bits of information we have *proof* on, so doesn't that exclude ideas and things that are hard to measure and prove? But then I don't even know if I believe in such thing as absolute 'truth' - though our truths change all the time.
  • the truth, the facts
  • what we know to be true in this time, in this context (adding in change element)
  • truth as reflected by other people - a lone thought cannot be proven as true or false without other input (adding in people and evidence elements)
  • everchanging truth as modified by the people accessible to and able to contribute to this truth and as determined by relevance to context (adding in quality/relevance elements)

So then, "knowledge building" is
  • a description of the mechanism of the rate of change in knowledge (changing knowledge over time or space or people/communities)
  • the mechanism may involve the integration and construction of two or more separate 'truths'
  • therefore, "knowledge building" can be a branch of "learning" as considered as the sum of the learning of the contributing group, but learning can occur on an individual basis without building any knowledge...

Learning then involves other branches, such as building a repertoire of tools or processes via which we are able to obtain more knowledge, to develop more relationships to obtain more knowledge (and go from ideas to knowledge, etc) and to action from this knowledge. Although I guess all of these branches are equally important and feed each other. I am not sure which is the end - maybe action is the end or maybe it's just a cyclic pointless thing like life. (cK) [6/09/06]
Perhaps there is no end, no cycle and no point, learning as both powerful and purposeless activity - "powerfully purposeless" just like life - that is a liberating insight cK - it allows all sorts of adventuring Check out Peter Greenaway whose thinking you mimic (Pam) [9/9/06]
  • "I think, finally, among intellectuals, certainly in Western Europe, we can grapple really importantly with Darwin's central message - which is far too difficult and far too reductive for most people to grapple with - the basic notion that man is eminently very material and materialistic, and the only conceivable reason we are down here is to procreate, and that basically life is totally and absolutely purposeless; so finally, for the first time, we can forget God, Satan, the Communist Party, Freud, and our mothers. We are on our own, which I think is FANTASTICALLY liberating, and which would also prove that all the other checks, all the other codes, all the other organizations of our lives are human constructs, which we have attempted to invent in order to attack the notion of purposelessness." - Peter Greenaway

Wikipedia describes several definitions of knowledge, one being, "The definition of knowledge is still a live debate for philosophers. In order for there to be knowledge, according to most thinkers, at least three criteria must be fulfilled. A thought must be justified, true, and believed." Therefore the notion of social, collaborative, shared knowledge may rely on fact that the information is based on a combined truth, philosophers also talk about the common, central and contestable. Perhaps we could think about more philosophy is schools? (TG) [7/9/06]
Ahh TG *in a perfect world thinking* I take it that you haven't read the June 2006 Educational Review Office Report - The Quality of Teaching in Years 4 and 8 Social Studies. The remaining 35 percent of teachers lacked the pedagogical expertise to encourage students to achieve in, and engage with, social studies. There was little evidence that these teachers had adapted learning programmes to reflect their students’ prior knowledge and skills. Most teachers set the same learning goals for all students in the class and did not adapt their programmes for individual or groups of students. In many of these classes, teachers did not clarify or extend students’ understanding through appropriate questioning. For many of these teachers, there was a lack of focus on developing social studies knowledge, concepts, or skills.p18. You just gotta ask when 35% of NZ teachers sampled lack the pedagogical expertise to extend students’ understanding through appropriate questioning what hope is there that P4C type discussions with socratic questioning could occur? (Pam) [7/9/06]

Unless you think that knowledge can be obtained by a sole person...But then if knowledge includes ideas and processes and relationships, then maybe knowledge building is the same as learning. I'm so confused.(cK)
I have been reading George Siemens draft thinking in his soon to be released online book "Knowing Knowledge" - it is such a vastness of ideas that I cannot hold them all in my head at one time - and as my colleagues will tell you I am always confused. I am a great fan of Leunig for moments of existential angst "As my journey has become lonelier I have somehow grown more stupid in what I feel is a natural and comfortable way." (Pam) [7/9/06]

Toe in the water here - for me knowledge building is about gathering and producing ideas, information, data about a topic in order to formulate new concepts or ideas or to solve a problem etc. Traditional classrooms have tended to focus on gathering. Gathering replicates existing ideas but can also provide a springboard for new ideas. If we want our world to improve, we need to involve our students in the process of pondering and interacting with others to form new ideas. We can't keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. Spaces like this no cost wiki create an anytime, anywhere opportunity to add ideas to the pot, for others to then stir along with their ponderings, comments, opinions. If teachers or students made a wiki space available for units of work to build knowledge through ponderings, gatherings, debates, scratchings etc., we could really engage our students not just in authentic contexts, but authentic growing of ideas.(Jill H) [2/8/06]

Continuums, stages, fazes, developmental??? knowledge the beginning or the end, is it the journey or the destination...perhaps it is the meat in the sandwich... Data...Information...Knowledge... Wisdom...Understanding. (TG) [7/9/06]
No place for the vegetarian in knolwedge building then TG - I'm with you on this one - some claim that "Vegetarianism is harmless enough, though it is apt to fill a man with wind and self-righteousness" but we know better (Pam 9/11/06)

Can optimism ever not be helpless?

Jill you are helplessly optimistic and I love you for it – you are also fixed in August at least 31 days separate from me – think the dislocation will be a powerful catalyst to our conversation – you can be "yesterday" and I will be "today" in reference to engaging and thinking differently in the new draft curriculum.(Pam) [2/9/06]
Happy to own to being optimistic - helplessly? - only if one feels helpless about it. As to locked into August - if only - that was 3 weeks holiday in Canada. (Jill H) 3/9/06
If you are going to own optimistic - helpless is the only descriptor that captures its application. Can you imagine "measured optimism" or even "templated optimism"(Pam)

What happens when you put toes in water?

I always wonder about putting a toe in water– why a toe? – is a toe of less value than a knee or an ear? Is a toe a better “canary in the mine” than an elbow? It makes me think about toes in a new ways – if toes are always asked to go first – to be pioneers, explorers, adventurers in the recklesss landscapes of eduspeak how do we recognise and value the toe. It seems to me that we keep toes in the collective custody of the sock far too often. What do we know about the toe? How trustworthy is the toe? What allegiances does the toe hold? I know the reductionists and systems thinkers will want to introduce data jargon from the semiotic domain of the toe to help me – jargon like “Each toe (phalanx) is made up of several small bones. The big toe (hallux) has two phalanges, two joints (interphalangeal joints), and two tiny, round sesamoid bones that enable it to move up and down. The other four toes each have three bones and two joints. But I am more interested in the big toe ideas – the extended abstract (SOLO) of the toe - How might we celebrate the audacity, the verve, the individuality of the toe in this future focused world of the 21st Century learner? (Pam) [3/9/06]

Toe in the water is a wonderful metaphor for knowledge building. Personally I prefer 'toe the line' or is it 'tow the line?' Either way regarding," what is worthy of understanding in "knowledge building" depends a lot on who treasures the knowledge? Some people like to know stuff for the sake of knowing and to be a great assest at trivial pursuit occassions. I think that schools create knowledge consumers or give kids the skills to repackage already existing knowledge. I think that to be knowledge builders we need to think about guiding students to be able to create new knowledge. Not an easy task.(bd) [4/9/06]
Ahh bd - I hope you are not dissing the Magnet’s facility at pub quizz’s – success at a pub quiz night is closer to what it is to be human than anything the draft curriculum has to offer. Still I will concede “who treasures the knowledge” we are exhorting students to build? is a significant question. If you are a self confessed helpless optimist like Jill and see students as a time capsule to our future then “knowledge building is valued because it will recue us” but if you are dogged with conspiracy theories and believe our jobs are all about “taming the young of the bewildered herd” then the last thing we want to do is build new knowledge – creating knowledge consumers and repackaging knowledge will be more than enough to tilt at in school.(Pam) [4/9/06]

Finally a decent piece on knowledge! For my own part, I like the coloured blocks, much easier to build with and if they have letters or numbers on the side you can build sequences which, if you had an infiinte number of them and enough monkeys.... ooops we have those... they call them blogs. But back to the toes, it's all in the toes. The only problem with toes is their lack, for the most part, of color coding. How can you knowledge build with toes if you don't have em coded. When the reincarnation of Successmaker emerges, with auto toe painting equipment (only $1000 a toe) then we will see real curriculum change. Toe dipping by numbers I predict will be the new curriculum fad to take schools by storm. More colorful than a thinking hat, wetter than an emotional intelligence, able to leap tall mounds of LEGO in a single hiccup. (cj 12.9.06)

Why am I not surprised that the subtle nuance of the toe escapes you cj – how typical of a mind underburdened with the responsibility of passing along mitochondrial DNA to rely upon crude polygonal shapes and the lurid, brazen, confrontational colourscapes of the manufacturers of those “this will help your kids get ahead” plastic blocks to make sense of knowledge – your inability to play in those variable and curvaceous landscapes of the pigmented digit is noted. Though do think you are "ontoit" with Successmaker. (Pam 11.09.06))

I just realised I was backing to the future dating all those posts a day ahead... how naughty! I am still trying to decode the pigmented digit (i'm not going anywhere near mitochondrial DNA....) and I think we should all go over and play on Seedwiki ...they have easily coded colour! (cj 12.9.06)

Mmm... colour. Funny how the changes in this (inserted and deleted text) are highlighted in green and red...not thinking about the colour-blind people, are we. (cK 12.09.06)

Socks and shoes are good in the chill of winter, but as spring awakens, getting out of socks and experiencing the dew on the grass and maybe even dancing a little is good for the toe. There should therefore be some spring in every classroom, and classrooms should get out into the spring more often. The interactivity of the web creates opportunities for dancing with new ideas as well as some learning of specific dance steps. Sometimes the learner needs to invent the dance steps and lead the way. Always though, the dancer needs to get out of the studio and dance in the streets and fields. The web is the studio where we can exeriment and plan the steps, but the spirit and voice of the dance needs to come from real interaction with real people and situations. (Jill H) [3/9/06]
Think you have captured the process of knowledge building through dance Jill - from learning simple dislocated steps - to linking steps together in a sequence to form a dance - to taking this dance and interpreting it in an exuberant performance in a paddock. Will be seeking you out for a demonstration at the conference dinner Nietzsche says this best- And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh (Pam) [3/9/06]

The "only suitable for school" exclusion

"If learners are engaged in processes only suitable for school, then they are not engaged in knowledge building. Scardamalia & Bereiter 2003" We need to be able to refute this statement in the future by ensuring that the processes used in schools do engage students in knowledge building. Our students are the creators of the future world - we need to enable them to produce a better place than where we are currently headed!!!! (Jill H)

Vote 1 S&B!!!! (cj (12.9.06)

Think you are “ontoit” Jill and reckon the next idea to tease out in “knowledge building” in classrooms is “new to whom”. Suspect that Bereiter and Scardamalia are being too precious in their exclusionary definition, or at the very least too narrow in their imagination of what might happen in the "dangerous ursine technology" that is school. (Pam)

Love the old growly bear. Reassuringly stupid, even if so well intentioned. (cj 12.9.06)

New to Whom? - New to the learner is a good start and sometimes that will lead on to new to others. I guess it is part of my learning style that my new ideas are often generated through discussion and doing. The jostling of a variety of views will springboard me to revisit my previous views to see what I want to change and what I wish to retain. An artichoke in the pot is great catalyst too. A bit of undermining to prod some more thinking. Further thinking and grappling with ideas and some more background reading are likely to occur as a result. We need to cater in this way for our students also.(Jill H)
So if a kid says it is knowledge building it is? Interesting - Deslisle’s idea that “underachievement is in the eye of the beholder” is an idea that undermined my understanding about teaching and learning. Deslisle talks about the "underachievement" as being a blame game - he sees underachievement as a learned behaviour - which is always tied to individual self-concept, therefore each case must be judged independently. He distinguishes between underachievers and non-producers whose school marks may be the same.
  • “Underachievers ¬ are likely to have emotional problems, with poor self-esteem. They find it extremely difficult to make changes to their behaviour on their own and can benefit from counselling help.
  • Non-producers ¬ are psychologically strong and confident of their capabilities. They are choosing not to comply and are probably successful in their own way, such as in a street-gang, or perhaps are biding their time until they leave school and can choose how to achieve in a non-academic domain, such as in business.”
I wonder if the creativity and innovation that comes from “knowledge building” can also be understood as being “in the eye of the beholder” - "the praise game" if thinking has cognitive, emotional, physical (keep dancing Jill) cultural and spiritual contexts then might we misconstrue knowledge building when we attempt to evaluate the knowledge building efforts of children? Perhaps we need to more clearly identify the student learning outcome that would count as knowledge building? (Pam) [3/9/2006]

Too much to say here.... just gesturing at the folk who happen to work in schools and do really amazing knowledge production (much prefer that). (cj 12.9.06)

Stepping on lego blocks

I think that often it seems teachers give knowledge to students as though they are throwing them blocks of lego and hope that they will somehow get to see the big picture.
The next day or week in the classroom it is easy to see that they have dropped most of the blocks and have fogotten the knowledge that was taught them. (Perhaps it wasn't taught in the first place?) ([3/9/2006] dropped as in students did not deliberately put aside pieces of 'knowledge' that may not be necessary for the credit? or considered necessary for life? cK) [2/9/06]
Maybe we teachers need to get out more and set up programmes that involve real work not just busy work. Community projects, Science investigations with outside experts, online discussions with students in a different culture and in another country. Give them a big picture and from that they get to see how the bits of knowledge fit together and how teams of people should work together.
I sometimes feel as though schools are hothouses where the tomatoes aren't ripening.(David G)
Think you might be right David - I am certain that knowledge building has to involve some kind of *undermining* and that is unlikely to happen in environments where the first priority is maintaining the status quo - even if we do wrap the status quo argument in Christo like in the rhetoric of "external examination".
We have been talking about this with reference to Gatto and others on Artichoke post It is the past not the dizzy present - there is a comment from Mikkus about the work he is doing with students in Australia that fits so well with what you imagine David. And I am certain that if you read SC's elaboration on Mikkus you will realise that we need this sort of learning happening more often in NZ. For example SC relates
  • It was Mikkus in 1999 who raised an ‘idea’ at a small inner-city Melbourne alternative school to start a circus program in response to a student suggestion. 12 months later we had a performance in a remote desert aboriginal community 1200km east of Alice Springs. While the sight of 14 disengaged students riding a group bike in the middle of knowhere is metaphor operating on many levels- the seminal moment for me was the disengaged youth-with340 car theft charges- hanging upside down from an 8 metre aerial rig escaping from a straight jacket. We kept him out of jail and turned his criminal escapology into art. He sent me an email four years laters thanking us. He’d given up crime and was working for a youth circus ‘so he could give others what we gave him’. A chance to persue something that had meaning. How many ancient cultures pass on the important stuff through generations without writing any of it down?
Do you think the farm initiative at your school might be a tilt in this direction? (Pam) [3/9/06]

Am captured by the circus, the farm and the dance in regards to knowledge. Is not the "knowledge" we now teach 95% of the time, merely mental chores? Who is captured by commas or the multiplication tables, really!? Where is the delight, the emotional connection, the real immediacy and excitement in that sort of knowledge building? There's always rhetoric about the passionate teacher but where is the passionate student (not just "having fun" or "engaged" but passionate)? Are they the children you see in the classroom between 9 - 3pm? Are they the children you want to see in the classroom between 9 - 3pm??? Wouldn't that perhaps be a little inconvenient? Does knowledge (and knowledge building) require some sort of emotional content? What drives us to create knowledge if there isn't? (Cheetah)
Ahh Cheetah ... where is the passionate student indeed - you remind me of Elaine on the Artichoke blog when she asked
"What is it to be human? I have a nagging feeling in the back of my head, which I have been following up by asking every child I come across - where is the 'fun'
in school - we are all so earnest about engagement, learning-journeys,co-constructivism and just about any other catch-phrase that happens by, that we are forgetting (in my humble opinion) that these children we work with are living their lives NOW, not for some (mythical) point in the future! ....." (Pam) [7/9/06]

Charges of reductionism

I am intrigued by the quote apparently attributable to A. Einstein that "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." Whilst I love the integrity of this idea and as a teacher who values creativity of mind and spirit I am attracted to the ideal, in reality, it rings somewhat false, or perhaps better, unfinished, for me. Just as persuasively false, or incomplete, as some of the detail of the ideas presented in the reading by Kirschner, Sweller and Clark dealing to the notion of developing knowledge, or lack thereof (see Reading: "Why Minimally Guided Instruction Does Not Work"). I am constantly frustrated at an individual, learner and instructional level by the seeming need to create endless dichotomies between concepts, content and camps such that all grey area (which is really where the grey matter gets onto things that matter) is rendered a whiter shade of pale. To me, what is worthy of understanding about knowledge building is that it necessarily involves imagination and of course, vice versa. To "dare to know" in the words of E. Kant requires an act of dedicated imagining - to take oneself out of the known, and into the unknown, requires a leap of faith, a leap of spirit, a leap of self. Not sure if I'm making any sense but in searching to understand, surely we are in part, seeking to better understand, and therefore know, ourselves. And ironically, in the act of seeking, we in turn become more than the sum of our parts. Linking to previous people who are commenting on the importance of feeling and something beyond the quantifiable and purely delineable in terms of how we perceive knowledge and understanding, it really frustrated me about Kirschner et. al that they need to be so reductionist about learning as to reduce it to meaning "a change in long-term memory"! If that is all that the act and art of learning and teaching are to be reduced to, surely we can just all plug into our USB ports and download ourselves into higher beings. There is something more in the grey area between knowledge and imagination, thinking and feeling, seeing and perceiving that inspires, excites and whets the appetite to understand at a deeper level. Not sure what it all is, but enjoying the journey on this wiki.(LYnne P) [4/9/06]
I am interested in your critique of Clark Kirschner et al Lynne - Bill Kerr, Tony Forster and Ailsa have talked about their reservations in the comments on Inquiry as "wag the dog" pedagogy. I agree with you in part and in whole - learning is all about what it is to be human - and this should be the focus of schools - However, I have a sneaking respect for the reductionism inherent in claims for building long term memory. I visit grandpa each day at the dementia unit and my thinking about the sugnificance of memory is challenged each day. If the learning experiences we design for kids are not required to build any long term memory - cognitive, social, emotional, cultural or spiritual memory - if they leave students with ephemeral, temporary and transient thoughts then are we really helping kids becoming more human? (Pam) PS Check out LINS thinking on this [5/9/06]

Cynara scolymus

By the way, not sure if there is a deeper significance to the 'artichoke' than I'm aware of but I like the imagery and parallels to learning and knowledge building with the mult-layers, the ugliness amidst the sublime, the earthiness, the fractal spiral that endlessly leads to new budding of ideas... (Lynne P)
And this comment is just perfect - the artichoke name was happy circumstance - a blog named without any deep thought - sometimes "the best moments of life are unplanned for indeed unplannable" Mumford stuff. But the name has captured the spikey heart of what edu_blogging might be - ugliness amidst sublimity - Thanks for this new insight (Pam) [5/9/06]

Can collaboration be individual?

From Annelise: {UAE}. For me there are several things that I like so far in this discussion and one was the very top comment made by Jill Hill regarding making Wiki's available to our students. This is exactly what we are trying this semester and hopefully a it later we will be able to tell you how it worked. other points that came out was the importance of collaboration - and yes I agree, social constructivism is big, but I also believe that an individual can build knowledge when s/he works and interact with the content and specially when that interaction involves ICT.

Collaboration does seem to be part of this - but like you Annelise I also think that individuals can interact with the ideas of others (content if you like) without having to necessarily to be sitting around a table or computer screen. I do quite a lot of talking to myself on my blog which is currently my major way of knowledge building - the blog comments help but so does the talking to myself.
There is something from Manovich's thinking on the enhance and betray page that fits here -
I am interested in how wikis might be used in education because they seem to offer a unique advantage to collaboration in both senses of the word. Too often we hear claims
for ICT based enhancement of inquiry learning and thinking curricula, that are in reality based upon following a step by step algorithm, selecting from menus, or pseudo-inquiry based experiences which are “based on a frequently disappointed confidence in the power of children’s natural curiosity” (Bereiter and Scardamalia 1994), that are too often rescued by teacher intervention. Think Bereiter and Scardamalia buttoned the button when they said
“Nobody wants to use technology to recreate education as it is, yet there is not much to distinguish what goes on in most computer-supported versus traditional classrooms. Alan Kay (1991) suggests that the phenomenon of reframing innovations to recreate the familiar is itself commonplace. Thus one sees all manner of powerful technology used to conduct shopworn school activities: copying material from one resource into another and following step-by-step procedures With new technologies, student-generated collages and reproductions appear more inventive and sophisticated - with impressive displays of sound, video, and typography - but from a cognitive perspective, it is not clear what if any knowledge content has been processed by the students.”
Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (1994). Computer support for knowledge-building communities. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 3(3), 265-283.
Wikis seem to offer something quite different - something closer to the eccentricity of real conversation that is hard to capture in hierarchical threaded discussion (Pam) [9/5/06]

Connection cubed

Yesterday my Y9 students learned the terms Affirmative,Negative, moot, adjudicate, rebut. I gave them definitions. Today they came in and said it was the same as Prosecution/Defence/ Government (Labour) and Opposition ( all those other parties), moot was also motion (I gave them the definition 'topic'), Mr. Speaker in parliament was an adjudicator and rebutting was something they did with friends and enemies (but more often with those who are not friends) but now they realised there was a formal way to have (and win) an argument. I consider this to be knowledge building because they learned this stuff in Social Studies and by talking with 'old people' (parents). They realised it was really all the same thing with different words and different settings. Knowledge building here is seeing a connection to something in their own worlds.LIN [5/9/06]
I think that you ahve identified another significant attribute of knowledge building - that it affords connections between what we know and what we did not know before -
Know that Scardamalia and Bereiter argue that KB is not same thing as learning because KB has to add to ideas of value to the commnuity and then they seem to take community in a broader sense than just the classroom or school. But like you I use the SOLO Taxonomy to better understand the process of learning - and I think it helps us understand the generic process of KB across any discipline, sport, drama, musical performance etc
So I guess I'd claim KB occurs when a student shifts along from knowing sqat (prestructural) > to learning outcomes show simple connections but importance not noted (unistructural) > to learning outcomes show connections are made but the significance to the overall meaning is missing > to learning outcomes show full connections made and synthesis of parts to the overall meaning > to learning outcomes go beyond subject and make links to other concepts (generalise, evaluate, predict, create etc) Your kids sound like they are now making generalisations - so powerful KB going on right infront of you. This also helps with the What students understand page (Pam)

"But a wise man knows himself to be a fool."

Perhaps we need to go back a step- everything a students does is knowledge building (if given the oppotunity to learn from getting things wrong) positive or negitive - what we really want is their knowledge building ( or knowing about the world) to be the same as ours. which is never truely possible as we live in diffrent worlds with diffrent knowledge/skill sets. (the fool)
Ahh Fool , I have been waiting for you to join us. I see that you subscribe to TS Eliot's notion that "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." Is something I live by. Could it be as you suggest that "knowledge building" is in the eye of the beholder - much like we talked about Delisle's "underachievement" on the Innovation page. Have a horrible suspicion that you might be right about schools - what we really want is their knowledge building ( or knowing about the world) to be the same as ours. Does this mean that in education we are destined to both disappoint and be disappointed. (Pam) [7/9/06]
More like - just by being alive we build knowledge about how our world works weather it's killing a goat to make the gods kind to us or & the last planet is Pluto Or only holywood stars are beautiful -all experance (yes I know thats a loaded term) gets loaded into our truth then gets applied to the world only to find other truths that apply better. how this relates to our students is a more difficult problem but I think we certainly need to think about starting from their life experance and try to build relervance for them, perhaps the best help is to explain that knkowledge changes & to be ready to accept changes. (the fool)
Reading the entrails of virgin chickens is all very well Fool, I allowed new entrants this learning experience when the thermostat on the incubator went awry. But excluding Pluto - I'd have to take down one of the paper machie balloons ... you ask too much? Am made anxious by your unthinking valorisation of change - but perhaps you are being deliberately provocative here. Change has to be more than a "Who moved my cheese" moment. Should we be telling them that "Everything is subject to error and illusion" (Morin 7 Complex Lessons) and that includes exhortations to change knowledge. Perhaps the most important insight is that change requires conservation. In terms of understanding change I like Humberto Maturana, a biologist's take on change ...
  • "What is conserved defines identity. But what is conserved also defines what can change.This is interesting. We are so concerned about change, yet what is most important is what is conserved… politics conserve. Even revolutionaries conserve. All systems only exist as long as there is conservation of that which defines them."
It is so hard being curmudgeonly - I confuse myself (Pam) [7/9/06]

Our material selves are "stardust" - our true selves are the nothing that allows materiality to exist.

Material knowledge and self realisation. Have you ever considered the possibility that all we are is the spaces in between the sounds, the gaps within this material existence?
Don’t immediately dismiss this idea, forgo all preconceptions and prejudices; take some time to ponder this thought – roll it around for a while. Meditate on this for a bit; silence the mind, silence the bibbling babbling chittling chanting of the EGOic self to reveal the spaces in between the noise.
Have you ever purely indulged your senses, that is, experienced sense perceptions free from your internal dialogue? Have you ever experienced the world through the eyes of the true self, through the spaces in-between?
When you think, you are creating forms in this material world (thought forms), that can be used as material expressions of the true self. Unfortunately, if a being has not learnt to distinguish the true self from the material self then a strong EGO develops and the individual learns to identify themselves as the EGOic self, rather than their true self. The EGOic self is characterized by hedonistically aligned and individually centred beings; unable to find peace within the spaces between, these beings continually seeks something else – is never happy living in the Now.
Material knowledge is useful only in that it is useful for base navigation within the material world. It offers not the purpose of our lives, it points not to who were are, and will never sufficiently address why greed and hate exist in the world. The answers to these questions can only be divined through self realization (which entails that it can not be taught - as educators the best we can do is show learners the door and have faith that the sincerity of our message will allow them to develop the vulnerability needed to take the first step).
On a practical level then, the question is not so much about building knowledge (this can be put to the wayside until the learners have a firm grasp of who they are – only then can they act on their material knowledge with the strength to do what they inner self knows to be right. There are no bad people – just bad products of society.) but one about rediscovering the self – self realisation. In the classroom you can do simple things like teaching how to make a rational argument, include spirituality like meditation or ethical stories (parables) from different cultures and different religions (take the stories as moral guides not dogmatic in doctrines). Our education system is good in that many of the small things that are needed are beginning to take shape, i.e. strong community and whanu ties, learner centred constructivist theories of material knowledge, etc.
By now I would hope that you see where the real heart of the problem lays. If you have a problem, or a system that is not working perfectly, you change it don’t you. We have a system of social organisation and governance that is riddled with pitfalls; There are so many cracks for people to fall through, to have the rich you need the poor, but there is something more disturbing about it. Our system, our capitalist system, is based on economics. Economics is founded on the principal of continual growth – the material knowledge that if things are not growing then they are dieing. How can we justify having our society based on an idea that we can continually grow (its all or nothing baby), are we not within a finite material world? People are termed mentally ill if they do things contrary to what they know to be best for themselves and others – as a population are we really this mentally ill (it would appear so).
It is obvious then, for anyone with half a thought for themselves, that the solution to all the world’s problems is to have a change, not only to our system of social organisation and governance, but to the very paradigm we never knew we were under.
You can find out more about this call for a better tomorrow, and have your say. Do you agree with this, do you vehemently oppose this idea. We need more people to do just this – communicate to each other the way we think we should best fix our society (don’t leave it in the hands of businesses and politicians with vested interests – make a change yourself).
Hi Luke, I have always loved that sense of the "aching void space" - that there is more emptiness than there is stuff thinking - If we imagine a nucleus the size of a jaffa (say 1.5cm), then an atom would be something like 1.5 km (about one mile) across. And the electrons, well if they have a physical diameter at all - then the electrons would be smaller than 5 micrometers. (about one tenth the size of a plucked eyebrow hair) . Leaves us with a helluva' lot of space, existential angst and Ernie and Bert like eyebrows. Which leaves me with Nietzsche's "And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." We do need to be curious about the spaces we inhabit and the spaces that are us, before the nothingness overwhelms us. (Pam 14/9/06)

Hi Pam - i fear you misconstrue me, or maybe i do you. We are nothing, we come from nothing and that is where we go back to. This being said the notion of nothingness i talk about is not your typical understanding of the term - it is not a void, (just like in order for there to be 'rich' people there needs to be 'poor'; in order for there to be materiality there needs to be nothing). To me Nietzsche's comment means solely that we are the product of our experiences (we exprience anything for long enough and it becomes a part of you). If we are concerned about filling our souls with the material world before the vulnerability of being alone overwhelms us then we will miss our opportunity to see our true selves. Relating to education - if we build material knowledge within learners before they have had the opportunity for self realisation then we are forcing them to gaze into the abyss, and the abyss will gaze right back at them.
Luke 15/9/06

Arghh Luke - I didn't take your thinking far enough -
Are you arguing that in order for there to be something we must have nothing - so nothingness exists only because we have something -so nothing is not the void because void implies something, when infact nothing is simply the absence of something -
So what makes nothingness actual? Not the void but rather the presence of something (and something can be seen as material knowledge)

I think I understand the your analysis - it reminds me of a discussion we had yesterday at the activ@eden Waikowhai cluster principlals meeting. A argument for the importance of developing "identity" "self knowledge" "an inner core" - for giving kids a resilence through self knowing was developed - along with the importance of having this before the transition to the nothingness of secondary school . Where some students do not survive gazing into the abyss we create for them through our focus on knowledge building. Pam (15/9/06)

Hi Pam - I think you are beginning to see the path I was trying (perhaps not to eloquently) to portray. I would like to walk with you a little further down though. I believe the base of the idea extends more than you let on; the relationship between something and nothing is not that one actualises the other, but rather they are both together axioms of 'life', 'reality', 'all'. A crude attempt at imagery could recall within your minds eye the symbol of 'yin and yang' - one does not actualise the other, one could not exist without the other - they are whole, they just are. This, though, may extend a bit far, its nice to entertain these thought forms but it’s all really just a story for how to go about the practicality. The practical aspects of this idea you clearly understand and the importance you outline as being discussed seem (at least to me) to be essentially the importance of true education (to educate true beings and not cogs for a material machine).
In discussions about life with a close friend he imparted an idea which I believe is of the utmost importance for education. The idea is that life could be lived by two ideas:
1) Vanity
2) Consequence
All we do in this life is for our vanity - we push things around, some people like to push great wads of cash around the stock exchange, some like to push the sand between their toes, but we all push things around and it is all for our vanity.
The other idea that life should be lied by is one of consequence. To consider the impact of our vanity on the world may be what it means to be truly human??? Anyway our society is currently configured so that 1 is strongly learnt - we are taught to chase our vanity through messages in television, advertising, education (the vanity of material knowledge), and even social relations. Maybe its time that 2 is explicitly taught, not only taught but demanded that the government and business fully disclose the consequences of buying their products and decisions they make on our behalf.
To this end should the knowledge building that occurs in school be largely of the knowledge of the consequences of our actions; because once this has taken hold we can find happiness within our vanity rather than the base pleasures we chase now. (for more on the pleasure happiness distinction please e-mail )
Luke. (18.9.06)
Interesting argument Luke, have only just stumbled across your response - ran away to join the circus in Dunedin for a few days and on my return found I was struggling to recapture the complexity of the wiki thinking I can feel the ideas you suggest jostling me - vanity and consequence - I like the nuance in this - will email you about pleasure and happiness - but I don't see why pleasure must always be linked with baseness? (Pam 22/9/06)

After having a discussion in a certain Mt. Eden cafe at lunchtime today, I realise what fuels my panic late at night. The Desiderata suggests: walk with a spring in the step because the world is full of wonderful things about to unfold. Anticipation of clip-on knowledge means I am in control.
What causes me to panic is that I don't know what those wonderful things are and ignorance is far more scary. (Is this the vast void? Or is solid with accessible stuff?)
I know that Knowledge is safe if springs from a comfortable base and I can build upon it. It is controlled, it is within my world and grasp. It is when the path is open with many side roads that I can get lost because I don't have a reliable compass. Is this good for me? Lin (4.10.06.)
I enjoyed the conversation over lunch Lin, and as a result I am now alert to Orwell's "The Clergyman's Daughter" as professional reading for pre-service teachers - must order a copy from Alibris - the acts of teaching, kissing direputable characters and extreme helplessness have many intersections. And "what we control" is probably a good way of capturing these thoughts.(Pam 7/10/2006)

Hive minds humming and knowledge building

One of the challenges for educators who are about to embrace the collective/ hive mind is discussed by Jaron Lanier DIGITAL MAOISM: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism [5.30.06] in a recent The Edge. Lanier’s concern that “The beauty of the Internet is that it connects people. The value is in the other people. If we start to believe that the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say, we're devaluing those people and making ourselves into idiots.” Lanier asks The hive mind is for the most part stupid and boring. Why pay attention to it? He uses Wikipedia as an example ..
The problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it's been elevated to such importance so quickly. And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force. This is different from representative democracy, or meritocracy. This idea has had dreadful consequences when thrust upon us from the extreme Right or the extreme Left in various historical periods. (Pam)

I don't think "hive mind" (Jaron Lanier's expression) is the reality of wikipedia or the internet. This wiki (arti's) isn't hive mind, for example, it's the opposite, everyone is expressing opinions and their is a tremendous diversity of viewpoints. In contrast, Lanier's idea of "hive mind" was a dulling down to a lowest common denominator viewpoint, like drones. There are many discussions about wikipedia entries which can be read on wikipedia itself, the dialogue / debate about wikipedia entries is accessible to all. In general on the internet - blogs, wikis, forums, lists - the tendency is more in the direction of individualism than "hive mind". Lanier's Digital Maoism has had many rebuttals, a collection of responses is here (Bill Sep 9)

The 'hive mind' is useful to me as a person. I think this forum is very useful. However, I find that I cannot really be useful in a discussion until I know more. The READINGS section is interesting. Please add more. I try to link it with what I have read and 'know' already. I think I will do more reading on the notion of 'the void' as a state of nothingness is what I feel when I don't know enough. The Void discussion earlier, is a useful discussion as that is where I think many students (and me, I, myself, personally - whoever I am ) are at - the Void must be moved/changed merged etc. to be some other state. I agree that the Void is a something. But until the Void challenged (I think I will continually go back to Confucius and then marry that to current thinking) and 'filled' we are not on the road to progress. I am in the state of Void on some of this metagonitive stuff and I thank the contributors of this forum for some of the gymnastics provided. LIN

Takahe Team Before Views:
Knowledge Building is about adding, increasing, changes to your thinking. Filtering information at different levels depending on the context. Making connections, light bulb going on. Accessing prior knowledge. Requires reframing of thinking/misconceptions e.g. "all whales eat shoals of fish" may be changed as knowledge is built.
Takahe Team After Professional Reading and discussion:
Knowledge building is enhanced/betrayed by where we are, or who we interact with and what influences there are in the environment. (Jenny)/ What is knowledge? Knowledge is different things to different people. (Jen)/ The benefit of a wiki is that it provvides a place to keep all the information together in one place, it organises it. (Jenny)/ It's not hierarchical or chronological. (Louise) 2/8/06 It can be visitied and revisited with the opportunity to add to or change ideas as new thinking occurs or different people contribute. (Jill H)

Kakapo Team Before Views:
Knowledge building requires prior knowledge - building onto a depth of understanding- extending knowledge-exploring new ideas-community of learning.
Kakapo Team After Professional reading and discussion:
Knowledge building must be put into a context that is authentic, ie: developing a conservation poster and publish the final product on the web for others to examine and give specific feedback. This example provides a world/global connection that can be contested. "There is a need to test validity of knowledge." Knowledge is about the co-creation of an understanding and capturing the dialogic community of practice. Growing social participation of an individual is paramount to construction of knowledge. Blogs & Wikis provide the ability to support knowledge building. They are a space that enables one to record and document individual research, where people can interact, and collaborate ideas. (Dan) Hi Dan - I like the idea of co-creation that you put here so I have taken the liberty of highlighting that word. (Jill H)

Tui Team Before Views:
Knowledge building is about information and facts, the way we find knowledge, and its interpretation. Its got to be applicable to life, Prior knowledge and building across (making connections). Is it the same as learning stuff?
Tui Team After Professional reading and discussion:
Knowledge Building has greater authenticity if it is collaborative. The sum of the parts is greater than the individual ideas. We dont agree with Scardamalia & Bereiter 2003 that knowledge building is separate from learning, instead they are intertwined as it is possible to build knowledge within an individual as well as within a group. Learning can be more constrained by the framework where as knowledge building is more flexible (ie. learning from a textbook verses learning from a wiki). --Tui Team--

What others think ...

Perhaps the first thing worthy of understanding is that knowledge building is an idea that means different things to different people. The quotes below are a starting point to figuring out what knowledge building might look like in schools ...

Lev Vygotsky: “All higher [mental] functions originate as actual relations between human individuals”.

Knowledge Building may be defined as the production and continual improvement of ideas of value to a community, through means that increase the likelihood that what the community accomplishes will be greater than the sum of individual contributions and part of broader cultural efforts. Scardamalia & Bereiter 2003

If learners are engaged in processes only suitable for school, then they are not engaged in knowledge building. Scardamalia & Bereiter 2003

Learning is an internal, unobservable process that results in changes of belief attitude, or skill. Knowledge building, by contrast results in the creation or modification of public knowledge - knowledge that lives in the world and is available to be worked on and used by other people.Scardamalia & Bereiter 2003