Fundación Chile

A Canadian researcher explains that schools must transform into knowledge builders

Publicado: 16 junio, 2014 Categorías:

One of the most disseminated ideas regarding the development of countries and citizens is that their prosperity is now more related to the knowledge building than to the natural resource abundance. However, it is rarely discussed how this affects what is happening at schools and the education of citizens.

Dr. Scardamalia, academician and researcher of OISE, explained this and other issues in the VII International Seminar on Network of Leading Schools organized by the Center of Education Innovation of Fundación Chile, with the support of Fundación Minera Escondida, Fundación Arauco, and El Mercurio Newspaper.

According to the expert, nowadays schools have to change and transform into “Knowledge Building Organizations”.  This means that “it is necessary to reshape radically the education in order to introduce students to the knowledge building culture”. That is, students should see themselves as architectures of their own ideas and those of others. According to the researcher, “it is necessary to give students the collective responsibility of improving ideas and building new information and better knowledge for the team and among all citizens”.

To achieve this challenge, Scardamalia says schools should prioritize the “design mode” over the “belief mode”, that is what prevails today in education. The “belief mode” focuses on students who believe and should believe. While the “design mode” seeks to design the thought, knowing that the knowledge is an emerging and improvable product of the creative work and the ideas.

In this way, for example, a knowledge building class should operate as an expert team. “Like medical teams, flight crews, and sports teams, where each member has a special way of contributing, but they are all aligned with the team objectives”, said the researcher.

Finally, the expert indicated that the knowledge building should be understood as a way of life, “where the school work can no longer be isolated from the real world and the students should arrive at a deeper understanding of things”.

Conferences in regions

Marlene Scardamalia will also be in regions making presentations. On Monday 16th, at 16.30, she will present her ideas at the Hotel Dreams of Valdivia. Furthermore, on Thursday 19th, at 15.00, she will be at the Hotel del Desierto (Enjoy Hotel) of Antofagasta.


Leading Schools

Furthermore, there were 13 new schools presented during the event. These schools will be part of the Network of Leading Schools, which already has 100 schools.

The Network of Leading Schools aims to become a collaboration space and a space for reflection, where good educational practices will be promoted and potentiated as school improvement strategies for vulnerable schools.

The meeting was inaugurated by the Deputy Secretary of Education, Valentina Quiroga, who in addition to explaining key aspects of the educational reform, spoke about the contribution of the Leading Schools initiative: “These are schools, that despite being vulnerable, have done something different and they are motivated to teach all children. There is a richer and more complex educational vision behind these experiences. This vision not only considers the cognitive skills, but also the skills development for life and the values training. This kind of practices is what we want to boost and expand to all the educational system”.

At the same time, Ana María Raad, manager of the Center of Education Innovation of Fundación Chile, spoke about the importance of the collaborative work for the innovation: “We know that the collaboration is the basis of the education, it is not the competition. The team work and the interchange of support networks are essential to improve the learning processes and also to create communities who believe in new projects. We want these schools to be an example of innovation and an example for the conversations about public policies and institutional improvements.

Finally, there was a panel discussion that aimed to put the visions of Dr. Scardamalia into the Chilean reality. This panel was composed of: Jorge Sequeira, director of OREALC/UNESCO; Marcela Gajardo, consultant and former co-director of PREAL; Gonzalo Muñoz, head of the General Education Division of MINEDUC; and Lucía Gajardo, director of the Pehuén School.

The researcher

Marlene Scardamalia is president of the Department of Education and Knowledge Technologies at OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education) of the University of Toronto, and co-founder and director of the Institute for Knowledge Innovation & Technology, a worldwide network of innovators working to advance the frontiers of knowledge building in various sectors.

Marlene’s areas of research include knowledge building, cognitive development, psychology of writing, intentional learning, the nature of expertise, and new knowledge media.

Her work has been recognized by several organizations and has led to several honors and awards, such as the honorary doctorate from the University of Joensuu, Finland, the Michener Institute’s prestigious Honorary Diploma, she is fellow of the American Educational Research Association, the ORION Learning Award to the institute she directs, and the World Award of Education from the World Cultural Council for her contributions in the field of social education, among others.