Knowledge building communities
A Knowledge Building Community (KBC) is a community in which the primary goal is knowledge creation rather than the construction of specific products or the completion of tasks. This notion is fundamental in Knowledge building theory. If knowledge is not realized for a community then we do not have knowledge building. Examples of KBCs are
- Academic research teams
- Modern management companies
- Modern business R&D groups
- Wikipedia (Wikimedia Foundation together with its millions of Wikipedians)
Knowledge building communities in classrooms
The key focus for knowledge building communities has been research on fostering KBCs in classrooms. Transforming a classroom into a KBC requires a significant shift in classroom norms and also in student and teacher identities. In this context, students define themselves their personal learning goals and collaboratively pursue them. Students are viewed as intentional learners. Working at the edge of each competence". Knowledge advances not circumscribed by teacher’s knowledge. Scardamalia and Bereiter and their team as the Center for Applied Cognitive Science at the University of Toronto, have developed a networked software system, Knowledge Forum(TM) (formerly CSILE - Computer Supported Intentional Learning Environments). Supports for the individual and group behaviors and practices required for knowledge building are built into the Knowledge Forum software.
Specific to a KBC is the objectification of knowledge artifacts. More precisely, if in a regular class, questions, ideas and discussions are personal and ethereal constructs, in a KBC classroom, they are public artifacts that have a permanent presence in a digital format, usually in the classroom database. For this reason, they can be analyzed, pointed at, talked about, and progressively refined over time. These discussions, comments, knowledge artifacts and knowledge advances are all visible and improvable within Knowledge Forum.
In order to be successful, the members of the Knowledge-building community should accomplish the followings:
- Focus work on making advances to what the community already knows.
- Embrace a general philosophy of inclusion.
- Share openly what they do not understand, "What I need to understand..." or "What I need to know..."
- Respect each other's perspectives and tentative understandings.
- Express disagreement in a constructive fashion.
- Knowledge Forum - A software for knowledge building
- Fle3 Learning Environment - Fle3 is an open source online tool for knowledge building
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