Education in the Knowledge Age — Engaging Learners Through Knowledge Building



In this Knowledge Age or innovation-driven age, knowledge is a key asset for a society to create value. The health and wealth of societies depend increasingly on the capacity of people to innovate (Scardamalia & Bereiter, in press 2002). Since schools are responsible for preparing the young for the future they have to be models of innovation, where teachers and students are “willing to take new routes, try different methods, and occasionally break the mould” (Shanmugaratnam, 2003). Too often, however, we find classroom pedagogies varying between two extremes: didactic knowledge transmission where teachers are the “sage on the stage”, or constructivist approaches where students are actively engaged on activities. The former approach is often criticized for treating students as a passive party, assuming that knowledge can be transmitted and assimilated into the student’s mind. The latter approach, on the other hand, has the tendency to motivate students to complete tasks and activities, but not necessarily engaged with the knowledge creation process. In this chapter, we argue that we should engage our students directly in knowledge production, not so much of asking students to produce new knowledge or discoveries, but putting them into a development trajectory to be knowledge producers. Examples of knowledge building classrooms in Cananda and Singapore schools will be used to illustrate how we can engage students as knowledge producers, who take on ownership of learning by collaboratively and continually improve upon their initial ideas to better ideas, thus advancing collective knowledge within the community.


engaged learning knowledge building constructivist learning Knowledge Forum professional development Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning 


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© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nanyang Technological UniversitySingapore
  2. 2.University of TorontoCanada

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