A few forevers ago, a post on P2PU’s Researchers’ Homestead flashed across my screen, I pulled down its attached document and saved it in a folder literally called “ETC” full of PDFs I save for someday.
I got around to it yesterday, and I have to say this chapter from Collaborative Learning, Reasoning, & Technology started to move some furniture in my head. The chapter, “Fostering Knowledge-Creating Communities” by Katerine Bielaczyc and Allan Collins threw around some ideas with which I’m familiar with such as “communities of practice.”
Newly interesting (and responsible for the aforementioned mental furniture shuffling) were Bielaczyc and Collins’ seven “characteristics of knowledge-creating communities.” Coming from a school built around core values that were embodied in most all choices – curricular and not – made regarding learning, I’ve been on the lookout for other core values that strike me as meaty enough to feed a school’s mission. These seven might fit the bill:
- Sharing Ideas – “Knowledge sharing leads to knowledge creation, because invention involves bringing together different ideas into a coherent new idea.”
- Multiple Perspectives – “Rather than separating different ideas, it is critical to solicit different ideas within the community, so that all may be considered in devising new solutions.”
- Cognitive Conflict and Discussions – “Therefore, it is important that people discuss and argue about ideas without rancor or blame. Arguments must be resolved by logic and evidence, rather than by authority. Ideas are sought from many different sources, particularly ideas that challenge prevailing wisdom.”
- Synthesis – “When a community is faced with a problem, the solution does not usually come from a single source. Rather it is cobbled together from past ideas and ways of doing things, from different people’s suggestions, from the artifacts and technologies in place, and from ideas and ways of doing things that exist in other communities.”
I’m still working my way through the piece, but can see how these seven could drive structural and curricular decisions within a learning organization. I see how they could help prepare students to be participatory citizens.