ABSTRACT: Productive knowledge work and high-level literacy are essential for engagement in a Knowledge society.
In the research reported in this article, students were engaged in sustained collaborative knowledge building in science and
social studies. The vocabulary growth of 22 students over Grades 3 and 4 was traced, based on their entries to Knowledge Forum—a
knowledge building environment used as an integral part of classroom work. It is the communal space where knowledge work–ideas,
reference material, results of experiments, and so forth–is entered and continually improved. Analysis of lexical frequency
profiles indicated significant growth in productive written vocabulary, including academic words. In a Grade 4 inquiry, students
incorporated almost all the domain-specific terms at and below their current grade level, and most of those expected for upper
grade levels (5–8) based on the curriculum guidelines. Domain-specific and academic words were correlated with depth of understanding.
High correlations between student engagement in knowledge building and vocabulary growth suggest that productive vocabulary
can be developed through sustained knowledge building in subject areas.
KeywordsKnowledge building-Literacy-Vocabulary learning-Online discourse-Lexical frequency profiles
Instructional Science 04/2012; 38(2):147-171. · 1.83 Impact Factor
Learning in the Disciplines: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS '10, Chicago, IL, USA, June 29 - July 2, 2010, Volume 1; 01/2010
Journal of the Learning Sciences. 01/2009; 18:7.
Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, CSCL'09, Rhodes, Greece, June 8-13, 2009, Volume 1; 01/2009
ABSTRACT: This study examines four months of online discourse of 22 Grade 4 students engaged in efforts to advance their understanding
of optics. Their work is part of a school-wide knowledge building initiative, the essence of which is giving students collective
responsibility for idea improvement. This goal is supported by software—Knowledge Forum—designed to provide a public and collaborative
space for continual improvement of ideas. A new analytic tool—inquiry threads—was developed to analyze the discourse used
by these students as they worked in this environment. Data analyses focus on four knowledge building principles: idea improvement; real ideas, authentic problems (involving concrete/empirical and abstract/conceptual artifacts); community knowledge (knowledge constructed for the benefit of the community as a whole); and constructive use of authoritative sources. Results indicate that these young students generated theories and explanation-seeking questions, designed experiments to
produce real-world empirical data to support their theories, located and introduced expert resources, revised ideas, and responded
to problems and ideas that emerged as community knowledge evolved. Advances were reflected in progress in refining ideas and
evidence of growth of knowledge for the community as a whole. Design strategies and challenges for collective idea improvement
Educational Technology Research and Development 01/2007; 55(2):117-145. · 1.09 Impact Factor
Proceedings of the 7th Iternational Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, CSCL'07, New Brunswick, NJ, USA, July 16-21, 2007; 01/2007
ABSTRACT: Sustainable knowledge building requires working with emergent rather than fixed goal structures, and opportunism in knowledge work rather than fixed routines. Thus the pedagogical model requires teacher innovation, surrounding a principled rather than procedural approach to teaching. Using social network analysis and other quantitative methods, this study analyzes students' online discourse in 34 knowledge building initiatives facilitated by nine teachers at an elementary school over seven years. The results demonstrate significant advances of knowledge building practice among the teachers. Improvement was reflected in increasing individual contributions to collective knowledge resources and taking collective responsibility for knowledge advancement. These results suggest the feasibility of school-wide, principle-based knowledge building innovation. Qualitative analyses of the teachers' reflection journals and interview data revealed several key aspects of their efforts for sustaining principle-based knowledge building innovation.