The Journey of Knowledge Building with ITM

The following visual shows how the progressive journey of knowledge building unfolds over time in the classroom. As the classroom members (teacher and his/her students) engage in deepening inquiry and discourse to generate and improve ideas in a domain area(s), they work collectively to form and reform shared structures of inquiry, including the inquiry directions, processes, and collaborative roles to best advance their knowledge.

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The process of knowledge building is largely open and continually evolves; therefore, it cannot be fully prescribed by the teacher. In each extended knowledge-building inquiry that may last over several months, the teacher works with his/her students to co-formulate inquiry directions and collaboration structures over time as the inquiry unfolds in response to the deepening ideas and problems contributed by all the classroom members. See a specific example: A ITM-supported Grade 5 inquiry about human body systems over a six-month periodhttps://prezi.com/view/Py4OiH6axgt7xBX19O4x/

Depending on the length and nature of the inquiry work, the whole journey may progress through several major milestones as shown in the above visual. The milestones are not fixed or linear but need to be flexibly approached and connected to best achieve productive knowledge goals and work with practical constraints (e.g., curriculum requirements, time).

KB Milestones

Guiding Questions for Teachers

Engage & Explore:

Kick-off an inquiry with an engaging activity to build shared interests, generate questions, and carry out initial exploration and open dialogue.

  • What are the “big ideas” in the domain(s) of the inquiry? How may student thinking unfold and progress toward the “big ideas”? What are authentic local/global challenges that are relevant to students in this knowledge domain(s)?
  • How to plan an engaging kick-off to stimulate student interest and passion and provide seeding experience related to a knowledge domain(s)/problem area(s)?
  • How will I facilitate the reflective sharing of questions and ideas and build a safe and collaborative community?
  • What resources will be used to support students’ initial research and discussions?

Wonder, Research, & Reflect:

Form and gather around “juicy” wondering areas, generate and improve ideas (theories, designs, solutions) in/across the wondering areas through deep research and collaborative talks, while identifying deeper problems and goals as the work proceeds.

  • How will I facilitate the collaborative process to form productive wondering areas based on students’ diverse interests and questions?
  • How should the collective wondering areas be worded, recorded, and shared?
  • How will I trace collective progress while addressing individual needs of support?
  • How will I facilitate metacognitive meetings to help students connect and advance ideas across the areas?
  • How to best integrate hands-on works to support conceptual knowledge building?
  • How will I encourage students to reflect on their Journey of Thinking (JoT) along the way to synthesize “big ideas” learned, identify deeper problems, and build connections?

Re-organize & Crisscross for Deeper Research:

Expand/re-organize the wondering areas based on new inquiry directions and cross-cutting themes that have emerged, pursue deeper ideas drawing upon the community’s existing knowledge, and have “super talk” with other classrooms focusing on challenging issues.

  • What are the key cross-cutting concepts/ideas in this domain(s) that the students may get to?
  • How can I monitor and support the development of cross-cutting concepts and connections?
  • What types of questions/topics may be fruitful for “super talk” with other classrooms? How can I introduce a super talk question/topic to my students?

Integrate & Apply:

Putting our knowledge together to share with the audience and make an impact

  • How is this inquiry connected with local /global challenges?
  • What specific events/materials/products may be designed to integrate and apply our knowledge and share it with the public?