Student-Generated Questions Fostering Sustainable and Productive Knowledge Building Discourse
Keywords:knowledge building, student-generated questions, productive discourse, sustainable discourse, science education
The role of questions in student learning is well recognized. However, the controversial issue of who should pose questions that direct inquiry continues: teachers or students? One perspective advocates that teachers generate questions as it assumes that students cannot generate high-quality questions. In contrast, Knowledge Building, a pedagogical approach that advocates transforming schools into knowledge-creation organizations, emphasizes student agency in generating authentic questions as they try to understand the world around them. This study examined the extent to which elementary students could generate questions and explore how student-generated questions help knowledge-building discourse progress. Comparing question threads (i.e., a series of online notes started with questions) and non-question threads (i.e., a series of online notes not started with questions), we noticed that questions posted by students engaged them in sustainable and progressive discourses, which is central to Knowledge Building. Moreover, the content analysis of the data revealed that the threads starting with questions were more likely to end up with productive threads than the non-question threads.
Bereiter, C., Scardamalia, M., Cassells, C., & Hewitt, J. (1997). Postmodernism, knowledge building, and elementary science. The Elementary School Journal, 97(4), 329. https://doi.org/10.1086/461869
Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B., & William, D. (2002). Working inside the black box: Assessment for learning in the classroom. Phi Delta Kappan, 86(1), 8–21. https://doi.org/10.1177/003172170408600105
Campbell, J., & Stasser, G. (2006). The influence of time and task demonstrability on decision-making in computer-mediated and face-to-face groups. Small Group Research, 37(3), 271-294. https://doi.org/10.1177/1046496406288976
Chen, B., Resendes, M., Chai, C. S., & Hong, H. Y. (2017). Two tales of time: Uncovering the significance of sequential patterns among contribution types in knowledge-building discourse. Interactive Learning Environments, 25(2), 162-175. https://doi.org/10.1080/10494820.2016.1276081
Chen, B., & Zhang, J. (2016). Analytics for knowledge creation: Towards epistemic agency and design-mode thinking. Journal of Learning Analytics, 3(2), 139-163. https://doi.org/10.18608/jla.2016.32.7
Chin, C., & Brown, D. E. (2000). Learning deeply in science: An analysis and reintegration of deep approaches in two case studies of grade 8 students. Research in Science Education, 30, 173–197. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02461627
Chin, C., & Kayalvizhi, G. (2002). Posing problems for open investigations: What questions do pupils ask? Research in Science & Technological Education, 20(2), 269-287. https://doi.org/10.1080/0263514022000030499
Chin, C., & Kayalvizhi, G. (2005). What do pupils think of open science investigations? A study of Singaporean primary 6 pupils. Educational Research, 47(1), 107–126. https://doi.org/10.1080/0013188042000337596
Chin, C., & Osborne, J. (2008). Students’ questions: A potential resource for teaching and learning science. Studies in Science Education, 44(1), 1–39. https://doi.org/10.1080/03057260701828101
Chuy, M., Resendes, M., Tarchi, C., Chen, B., Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (2011). Ways of contributing to an explanation-seeking dialogue in science and history. QWERTY - Interdisciplinary Journal of Technology, Culture and Education, 6(2), 242–260.
Cuccio-Schirripa, S., & Steiner, H. E. (2000). Enhancement and analysis of science question level for middle school students. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37, 210–224. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1098-2736(200002)37:2<210::AID-TEA7>3.0.CO;2-I
Fjermestad, J. (2004). An analysis of communication mode in group support systems research. Decision Support Systems, 37(2), 239-263. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0167-9236(03)00021-6
Graesser, A., & Olde, B. (2003). How does one know whether a person understands a device? The quality of the questions the person asks when the device breaks down. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 524-536. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-06184.108.40.2064
Hakkarainen, K. (2003). Progressive inquiry in a computer‐supported biology class. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 40(10), 1072-1088. https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.10121
Hewitt, J. (2005). Toward an understanding of how threads die in asynchronous computer conferences. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 14(4), 567–589. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327809jls1404_4
Hewitt, J., & Teplovs, C. (1999). An analysis of growth patterns in computer conferencing threads. In C. Hoadley & J. Roschelle (Eds.), Proceedings of the Computer Support for Collaborative Learning (CSCL) 1999 Conference (pp. 232–241). Stanford University Press. https://doi.org/10.3115/1150240.1150269
Hsu, C. C., & Wang, T. I. (2018). Applying game mechanics and student-generated questions to an online puzzle-based game learning system to promote algorithmic thinking skills. Computers & Education, 121, 73-88. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.02.002
Khanlari, A., Resendes, M., Zhu, G., & Scardamalia, M. (2017). Productive knowledge building discourse through student-generated questions. The Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, 585-588. Philadelphia, PA: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Lai, M., & Law, N. (2013). Questioning and the quality of knowledge constructed in a CSCL context: a study on two grade-levels of students. Instructional Science, 41(3), 597-620. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11251-012-9246-1
Miyake, N., & Norman, D. A. (1979). To ask a question, one must know enough to know what is not known. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behaviour, 18(3), 357–364. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-5371(79)90200-7
Osborne, R., & Wittrock, M. (1985). The generative learning model and its implications for science education. Studies in Science Education, 12, 59–87. https://doi.org/10.1080/03057268508559923
Pizzini, E. L., & Shepardson, D. P. (1991). Student questioning in the presence of the teacher during problem solving in science. School Science and Mathematics, 91(8), 348-52. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1949-8594.1991.tb12118.x
Reeve, R., Messina, R., & Scardamalia, M. (2008). Wisdom in elementary school. In M. Ferrari, G. Potworowski. (Eds.) Teaching for wisdom: Cross-cultural perspectives on fostering wisdom (pp. 79–92). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6532-3_5
Resendes, M. (2014). Enhancing knowledge building discourse in early primary education: Effects of formative feedback [Doctoral dissertation, University of Toronto]. TSpace. https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/65731
Resendes, M., & Dobbie, K. (2017). Knowledge Building gallery: Teaching for deep understanding and community knowledge creation (A collection of foundational KB practices and teacher innovations). Leading Student Achievement: Networks for Learning Project.
Resta, P., & Laferrière, T. (2007). Technology in support of collaborative learning. Educational Psychology Review, 19(1), 65-83. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-007-9042-7
Scardamalia, M. (2002). Collective cognitive responsibility for the advancement of knowledge. In B. Smith (Ed.), Liberal education in a knowledge society (pp. 67-98). Open Court.
Scardamalia, M. (2004). CSILE/Knowledge Forum®. In Education and technology: An encyclopedia (pp. 183–192). ABC-CLIO.
Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (1983). The development of evaluative, diagnostic, and remedial capabilities in children’s composing. In M. Martlew (Ed.), The psychology of written language: Developmental and educational perspectives (pp. 67-95). John Wiley & Sons.
Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (1992). Text-based and knowledge-based questioning by children. Cognition and Instruction, 9, 177-199. https://doi.org/10.1207/s1532690xci0903_1
Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (2006). Knowledge building: Theory, pedagogy, and technology. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (pp. 97-115). Cambridge University Press.
Thagard, P. (2007). Coherence, truth and the development of scientific knowledge. Philosophy of Science, 74, 28–47. https://doi.org/10.1086/520941
van Aalst, J. (2009). Distinguishing knowledge-sharing, knowledge-construction, and knowledge-creation discourses. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 4(3), 259-287. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11412-009-9069-5
Watts, M., Gould, G., & Alsop, S. (1997). Questions of understanding: Categorizing pupils’ questions in science. School Science Review, 79(286), 57-63.
Yang, Y., van Aalst, J., Chan, C. K., & Tian, W. (2016). Reflective assessment in knowledge building by students with low academic achievement. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 11(3), 281-311. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11412-016-9239-1
Yu, F. Y. (2009). Scaffolding student-generated questions: Design and development of a customizable online learning system. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(5), 1129-1138. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2009.05.002
Zhang, J., Hong, H. Y., Scardamalia, M., Teo, C. L., & Morley, E. A. (2011). Sustaining knowledge building as a principle-based innovation at an elementary school. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 20(2), 262-307. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508406.2011.528317
Zhang, J., Scardamalia, M., Lamon, M., Messina, R., & Reeve, R. (2007). Socio-cognitive dynamics of knowledge building in the work of 9- and 10-year-olds. Educational Technology Research and Development, 55, 117-145. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-006-9019-0
Zhang, J., Tao, D., Chen, M. H., Sun, Y., Judson, D., & Naqvi, S. (2018). Co-organizing the collective journey of inquiry with idea thread mapper. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 27(3), 390-430. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508406.2018.1444992
Zhu, G., & Kim, M. S. (2017, June). A review of assessment tools of Knowledge Building towards the norm of embedded and transformative assessment. Paper presented in Knowledge Building Summer Institute 2017, Philadelphia, PA.
Zhu, G., Resendes, M., Khanlari, A., Scardamalia, M., & Wu, Y. T. (2017, June). Asking semantically similar questions in knowledge building communities: patterns and effects. The Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (pp. 875-876). Philadelphia, PA: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Zhu, G., Teo, C. L., Khanlari, A, & Mohd, S. B. (2018, August). The use of Knowledge Building scaffolds by grade 7 students. Paper presented in Knowledge Building Summer Institute 2018. Toronto, ON.
Copyright (c) 2022 Ahmad Khanlari, Gaoxia Zhu, Monica Resendes
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under an International Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (CC-BY-NC 4.0) that allows others to share the work for non-commercial purposes, with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.