Knowledge Building: concepts, technology, where we are and the future

This post shares my keynote at the 24th Global Chinese Conference on Computers in Education, held at Northwest Normal University in China, Sept. 12-16, 2020. Online due to COVID-19.

Website of 24th GCCCE (2020)
Source: conference website.


I review the main idea of knowledge building, technology that is used to support online work, and the principles that guide educational design. Feng Xueqi then makes a brief explanation of her work as a science teacher near Nanjing with knowledge building and the use of “idea friend maps”. These are maps that show the “friends” of ideas, that is the ideas that are close to them. Primary school students use these to think about their knowledge building efforts and the next steps they can take to improve it.

Next I talk briefly about why I think knowledge building is important beyond the school subjects it is often used for. Why it is important for a society to know how to build knowledge.

Next I turn to what parents in China, in a case study, said about the ideas from the educational sciences that are being used in a school that their children attend. What value to they see in them?

Yang Yuqin then talks about her research in a Band 3 school. In Hong Kong schools are labeled as Band 1 (highest) to Band 3 (lowest) based on the academic performance at the end of primary school. Yang was able to show that although students who preform poorly academically are not expected to perform well in knowledge building, they did very well. [1], [2] She also talks about how she has taken knowledge building into undergraduate education.

Finally, I conclude with some thoughts about the future of knowledge building.

Chinese scripts in the video

The brief presentations by Feng and Yang are in Chinese. Here are the translations.

The video

Full video: Feng Xueqi

This is a longer version of the explanations of Xueqi about the process by which students learned knowledge building, through 4 cycles of work over 2 years.