In Hong Kong, it has already been a long clip that schooling puts the chief focal point on persons ' abilities, temperaments and chances without profoundly researching the possibility of larning through community interaction. Normally merely formal cognition and incontrovertible accomplishments are taught in traditional schoolrooms. The bulk of this sort of cognition is inert that does non promote deep thought and enquiry. There is no mechanism for pupils to get expert-learning accomplishments. In add-on, informal or silent cognition is by and large ignored in school course of studies, though it is every bit of import as the formal cognition. The acquisition aims are besides crystalline to pupils. Students are occupied with undertakings and activities but they do non hold a clear thought about the grounds why they have to make those undertakings and activities.
Problem 2: Pedagogical Paradigm Shift due to the Introduction of the NSS Curriculums
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Since 2009, the course of studies of most secondary schools have undergone a dramatic alteration due to the acceptance of the New Senior Secondary ( NSS ) course of studies. Two major alterations are the debut of broad surveies and project-based acquisition. The broad surveies subject enables pupils to do connexions among different subjects, examine issues from a assortment of positions, and construct personal cognition of immediate relevancy to themselves in the modern-day universe. On the other manus, project-based acquisition ( PBL ) aims to enable pupils to build cognition through developing their independent acquisition capablenesss, generic and collaborative accomplishments. It is obvious that the new course of studies emphasise on the cultivation of abilities of pupils to incorporate information gathered to build their ain cognition independently and collaboratively. However, most instructors and pupils are still non prepared for this polar alteration and experience perplexed about the new manner of instruction and acquisition.
Problem 3: The Problems of the Commonly Used Learning Platforms
Even though some Hong Kong schools understand the jobs of the traditional permissive instruction attack, good acquisition platforms that can carry through the demands of this new acquisition environment are rare in the market. Despite that many schools have installed computing machines with Internet entree in schoolrooms, there is no obvious difference in pupil larning quality between this sort of computer-supported schoolrooms and the traditional 1s. Intentional acquisition and expertness development.can barely be fostered in this sort of schoolroom scenes.
In order to better larning quality and effectivity, some schools in Hong Kong have been following certain learning platforms for about ten old ages, yet they can merely let pupils to upload their work, download stuffs mandated by instructors, station messages to or read messages from electronic notice-boards, etc.. The platforms merely act like electronic information depositories that can non truly assist pupils to larn and build cognition on their ain or collaboratively, non to advert that the user interfaces are non easy-to-use in general. This sort of larning platforms contradicts the e-learning systems suggested by Angehrn, Nabeth and Roda ( 2001 ) . They claimed that e-learning should be extremely personalised, learner-centric, societal, active, synergistic, connected to scholars ' ends, supportive of uninterrupted acquisition and so on.
Research of Existing Learning Platforms Supporting Collaborative Learning
Sing the issues mentioned above, pupils in Hong Kong need a learning platform that can supply utile and effectual installations for them to pull off and build cognition, and larn collaboratively and continuously. The platform should besides assist them to do better usage of the bing on-line resources and manage and consolidate the information they have obtained for self-regulated acquisition.
After researching preliminarily on bing acquisition platforms, there are three major computing machine supported collaborative work/learning ( CSCW/L ) systems available for instruction intents: FLE3, Synergeia and Knowledge Forum.
FLE3 ( Leinonen et al. , 2002 ) , which is an unfastened beginning platform developed under the ITCOLE undertaking, entails a depository, a forum and a shared workspace called WebTop tool, Knowledge Building tool and Jamming tool severally. The last tool allows scholars to do usage of all sorts of multimedia digital artifacts.
Synergeia ( Stahl, 2004 ) is besides designed within the ITCOLE undertaking that provides free licences for educational establishments. It portions paperss and informations through depositories ( the Basic Support for Cooperative Work system ) and forums ( Instant Messages ) severally in an asynchronous environment. The most singular tool is MapTool that enables a group of participants to make concept map collaboratively and synchronously. The confab tool is besides synchronal.
Knowledge Forum was initiated by Marlene Scardamalia and Carl Bereiter. They have proposed that schools should be restructured as cognition edifice community based on the thought that larning, expertness cultivation in peculiar, requires enormous attempt and societal support that is non accessible in the first-order school environment. Students should get non-asymptotic acquisition accomplishments, i.e. , learn to continuously accommodate to alterations in the environment caused by others ' version. This procedure will invariably do parts to the corporate cognition of a school community, transforming the school into a second-order environment.
A acquisition platform that can steer pupils efficaciously to build cognition from assorted sorts of information, particularly the multimedia one ( Shank, 2005 ) , is of paramount importance. Van Merrienboer ( 1999 ) proposed some guidelines of bringing of instructions in multimedia acquisition environments. He considered multimedia larning in web-based environments really important in the approaching hereafter as it facilitates distributed distance bringing and combines presentation and communicating installations. He believed that multimedia acquisition can be used to back up competency-based acquisition, and effectual, efficient and appealing collaborative acquisition. The multimedia capablenesss of all of the three platforms literally satisfy the guidelines.
The MapTool of Synergeia allows participants to build corporate cognition through pulling construct maps: a graphical artifact that expresses cognition of scholars in a signifier that can be understood easy. The development of construct maps was initiated by Novak and Gowin 's ( 1984 ) research refering human acquisition and cognition building. In a construct map, besides called cognition map, a construct is normally placed inside a box or circle that is connected to one or more other constructs via directed discharge, stand foring the relationships between the constructs concerned. The relationships are described by verbs normally. The constructs are contrived hierarchically with the most general constructs at the top of the map.
The construction of a construct map is dependent on its context. Concept maps holding similar constructs can change from one context to another and are extremely idiosyncratic. Concept maps can be used to mensurate the cognition of a individual about a subject in a specific context. Therefore, construct maps constructed by different people on the same subject must be different. In the same sense, there is no such a thing as the `` right '' construct map about a peculiar subject, as there can be many available right representations of the subject.
Concept function has assisted people of different ages obtain cognition in assorted Fieldss. When constructs and associating words are carefully chosen, these maps are powerful tools for detecting niceties of significance. Each construct map allows its Godhead to do usage of a virtually limitless set of associating words to demo how significances can be developed. There are no limitations on what words can be used to organize constructs or associating phrases. Concepts are normally nouns and associating phrases verbs. It is recommended to utilize as few words as possible for constructs and associating verbs. Associating phrases can show any types of relationships and are non limited to a defined set.
Knowledge Forum is designed harmonizing to the 12 Knowledge Building Principles proposed by Marlene Scardamalia and Carl Bereiter. It is a collaborative acquisition platform operated in a networked environment. It can work on both wired and wireless webs and users can entree it via the Internet. The model of Knowledge Forum is cross-sector, cross-age and cross-cultural. It has been used in instruction, wellness attention and concern communities in the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, and New Zealand. This reflects that the sociocognitive and cultural procedures underlying cognition acquisition and cognition creative activity are basically the same that are applicable to knowledge builders of all sectors, ages, and civilizations.
The 12 Knowledge Building Principles are as follows:
Real Ideas, Authentic Problems
Ideas are every bit existent as touchable things. Learners are much more interested in existent life jobs than textbook jobs and mystifiers. Knowledge Forum fosters a civilization for scholars to work with thoughts creatively.
All thoughts are improvable. Learners can actively better their ain thoughts and those in the community if they are encouraged to take hazards without being afraid to attest ignorance and have ague and unconstructive unfavorable judgment. Knowledge Forum allows continual betterment, alteration and theory polish.
Idea diverseness is indispensable to the development of cognition promotion as it creates a rich environment for thoughts to germinate into new and more refined signifiers. Knowledge Forum facilitates associating thoughts in different notes and positions together to advance interaction and productive usage of thought diverseness.
New syntheses of cognition can be obtained by unrelentingly working with improvable and diversified thoughts. High-order thought can be cultivated. In Knowledge Forum, rise-above notes and positions enable participants to larn accommodating progressive alterations in the environment.
Learners are responsible for their cognition promotion that can be stimulated by the thoughts of other community members. They learn how to pull off their acquisition by puting ends and programs, inquiring inquiries, and measuring accomplishment. Knowledge Forum offers characteristics like scaffolds that help scholars synthesise high-ranking cognition by utilizing a assortment of epistemic footings such as speculation, admiration, speculate, etc..
Community Knowledge, Collective Responsibility
Community accomplishments are valued more than single accomplishments. Participants portion duty for the overall cognition promotion in the community. Knowledge Forum provides an unfastened and collaborative environment that allows community members contribute conceptual artifacts that can be linked together effectual for future mention.
All participants, including the more and less talented, are empowered to prosecute in cognition invention in Knowledge Forum. Every member strive for cognition promotion in a joint venture mode.
Symmetric Knowledge Advancement
It can be achieved from cognition exchange between members of different sorts of intelligence in a community as to give cognition is to acquire cognition. Knowledge Forum supports practical trials and co-construction of positions across user groups, both within and between communities.
Permeant Knowledge Building
Knowledge edifice utilizing Knowledge Forum can be carried out in and out of school through the Internet.
Constructive Uses of Authoritative Beginnings
Authoritative beginnings such as intelligence and multimedia stuffs found on the Internet can be attached to Knowledge Forum that can be acted as the foundation for cognition builders to progress community cognition.
Knowledge Building Discourse
Knowledge Forum accommodates discourse of cognition edifice communities that refines and transforms knowledge through the dianoetic patterns of the community.
Embedded and Transformative Assessment
Knowledge Forum allows a community to explicate its ain internal appraisal, which is both more bespoke and flexible than external appraisal
After comparing the chief characteristics of the three collaborative CSCL/W tools, it is blunt that Knowledge Forum emphasizes deeply on the procedure of community cognition edifice based on rules like improvable thoughts and progressive job work outing. It should be a more executable declaration for instructors and pupils to manage the approaching pedagogical paradigm displacement than the other two. It is perceived that Fle3 is simply designed as a package of depository, forum and shared workspace without important emphasis on the procedure of collaborative cognition building. Refering Synergeia, it is empowered by the notable construct maps that are widely accepted as a really effectual manner for cognition building. Nevertheless, the rise-above and build-on characteristics of Knowledge Forum maximize the learning capacity of each scholar through community attempt that triumph the concept-organising belongings of construct maps.
Largely significantly, there are already many instructors rehearsing cognition edifice teaching methods utilizing Knowledge Forum in many topographic points. Apart from Toronto, Hong Kong has the largest instructor community giving excessive attempt to learning pupils collaborative larning accomplishments. However, the instructors who have experience in utilizing Knowledge Forum reported some insufficiency of the acquisition platform. For case, when a instructor wants to read a certain sort of messages, such as inquiries, he/she has to shop through all the notes straight in the present design. It is one of the grounds why it is non really easy to measure pupils ' parts. Sometimes a subscriber may desire to hold a list of his/her ain parts so that he/she can size up the acquisition procedure ; however, this map is non available in the current version.
The aims of this research are as follows:
To look into extensively how Knowledge Forum can assist pupils build community cognition.
To understand the jobs faced by instructors and pupils in utilizing Knowledge Forum, particularly those refering assessing pupils ' acquisition advancement and public presentation.
To research a set of appropriate web and database engineering, particularly knowledge and information visual image, that is utile to strengthen the functionality of Knowledge Forum, particularly assessment tools that can avail instructors to measure pupils ' parts.
To develop a paradigm of back uping tools that can reenforce Knowledge Forum sing appraisal, information storage and retrieval.
To measure the quality and public presentation of the paradigm.
Relevant Literature and Guiding Framework
Knowledge Building and Problem Solving through Knowledge Forum
Scardamalia and Bereiter believe that a school should be a topographic point for knowing acquisition and expertness cultivation. However, traditional schooling merely tackle seeable parts of cognition, i.e. , formal cognition and incontrovertible accomplishments. These sorts of inert cognition rarely touch pupils ' idea and behavior and utile informal/tacit cognition is seldom embraced in traditional school course of studies.
Furthermore, in a traditional school, many instructors project their focal point on undertakings and activities without underlying the associated acquisition aims, so pupils are by and large incognizant of cognition aims behind the undertakings and activities they are supposed to make. Scardamalia and Bereiter point out pupils can accomplish knowing larning merely if they actively try to achieve a cognitive aim. Therefore, the current schooling system merely benefits those with high persons ' abilities, temperaments and chances, merely those alleged `` bright '' pupils are able to prise into the `` secrets '' of those undertakings and activities.
Expertness cultivation in schools is besides of paramount importance, i.e. , pupils should be able to larn to be an expert-like scholar who processes progressive job work outing accomplishments. It is believed that job work outing accomplishments can be achieved through meaningful acquisition that metacognitive cognition is obtained by agencies of self-acting procedures. Richard and Wittrock put frontward seven instructional methods that stimulate job resolution: load-reducing, structure-based, schema-activation, productive, guided find, mold and learning thought. The first six methods train pupils to be domain job convergent thinkers while the last one enhances their general job work outing capablenesss. There are four characteristics of successful learning believing accomplishments plans: focal point on the most chiseled accomplishments, contextualize the accomplishments within reliable undertakings, personalise the accomplishments through societal interaction and language-based treatment of job resolution procedures, and speed up the accomplishments that pupils can larn with lower-level accomplishments. Simply expressed, Richard and Wittrock suggest that general expertness or job work outing accomplishments can be transferred from instructors to pupils based on dogmas similar to those 12s knowledge edifice rules advocated by Scardamalia and Bereiter. However, traditional schooling offers no mechanisms for instructors to reassign their expertness to pupils, so most pupils can non come on into expert-like scholars through reinvestment of mental resources released from following progressive job work outing methods such as form acquisition and automaticity.
Scardamalia and Bereiter impulse that, with the drift of engineering, schools should be transformed into cognition edifice communities. The discourse framed by this sort of sociocognitive procedure transcends the barriers of didactic instruction and child/activity-centred cognition development. The advancement of the acquisition accomplished through cognition edifice discourse should be able to be orchestrated and mediated alternatively of the unpredictable acquisition advancement in traditional schooling. In add-on, all members in a school community, including both instructors and pupils, should take up corporate cognitive duty which `` refers to the status in which duty for the success of a group attempt is distributed across all the members instead than being concentrated in the leader '' ( p. 68 ) . Every community member should understand the cognition required by the community and do certain others know what they are supposed to cognize.
In a cognition edifice discourse, a pupil referee can hold their cognition advanced from groking the parts made by other pupils in the community, so it is one of the inducements for pupils to take part in the discourse. Once a pupil makes a choice part, he/she gets acknowledgment and regard from other community members. The desire of being recognized and respected, together with the craving for doing outstanding impact on the community, may be two of the other motives. A to the full well-designed equal reappraisal system is indispensably required and the discourse should be near to pupils ' personal lives: `` pupils work together to do sense of the universe around them and work
towards progressing their ain province of cognition and that of the category '' .
The features of a successful cognition edifice discourse are `` concentrate on jobs and deepness of understanding '' , `` decentralized, unfastened cognition environments for corporate apprehension '' and `` productive interaction within loosely conceived knowledge-building communities '' ( p.274 ) . Technology plays a critical function in carry throughing a successful cognition edifice discourse. Knowledge Forum and its former version, Computer-Supported Intentional Learning Environment ( CSILE ) , have a community database at the Centre of a schoolroom discourse. Students ' thoughts can be extended to a broader cognition edifice community if necessary. In the discourse environment, pupils act as both writers and referees who can lend their thoughts by making text or graphical notes, hunt bing notes, and form notes into more complex informational constructions. Auto-notification through electronic mails will be sent to writers when others comment on their notes. The note-writing environments are specially designed for participants to specify enquiries as jobs alternatively of subjects. Discourses are carried out through saying theories and information for progressing theories. The scaffold map provides participants with phrases refering cognitive procedures, such as `` I need to understand '' , `` My theory '' , `` A better theory '' , `` This theory can non explicate '' , `` Put our cognition together '' , to call a few, that help participants contour discourses. The frequent usage of these theory-building footings can assist scholars tackle expert-like acquisition accomplishments that can be employed in their day-to-day lives. Knowledge Forum and CSILE besides pinpoint intentionality as scholars deliberately submit jobs of what they require to understand and asseverate justifications for linked attached. The knowing scholars can larn how to do determinations and deploy diagnostic procedures.
Knowledge Forum and CSILE render a decentralized and unfastened discourse environment that reverses `` the instructor initiates, pupil responds, teacher evaluates form for unwritten and written discourse '' . By using a distributed theoretical account, information fluxing between participants is non audited by a cardinal authorization. Since different pupils possess different sorts of cognition, the cognition exchanges can be really productive. Students of different ages and abilities can take portion in the same discourse. Students with better viva voce or written linguistic communication accomplishments can non rule the discourse as the other pupils can border their thought by pulling diagrams or edifice on information in others ' notes or external resources. Those who are non familiar with the subject can lend to the community by inquiring inquiries and composing contemplations. The inefficient turn-tasking job in normal schoolroom treatments is automatically eliminated as discourses in Knowledge Forum are held asynchronously over a computing machine web or the Internet. Students can compose their statements at any coveted clip and have all the clip they want to explicate the statements, without force per unit area like that happened in an unwritten treatment. This encourages pupils to print independent idea and polish their ain thoughts and those in the community, ensuing in progressive self-acting acquisition and job work outing preparation.
Information / Knowledge Visualisation
Some users reported that the current design of Knowledge Forum is non really intuitive to utilize, particularly for complex undertakings and ill-structured capable affairs. The new coevals of knowledge/information visual image engineering seems to be an effectual solution. The purpose of information visual image is to supply knowledge-based entree to information resources and aid users in doing sense of the resources they are looking for during information retrieval. On the other manus, the end of cognition visual image is to help pupils in acquisition and job resolution by supplying tools to further externalised knowledge.
There are many good practiced information visual image techniques available, such as landscape metaphors, cartograms, ticket clouds, etc.. Some pedagogues claim that these techniques can assist users understand the information better. In the context of cognition building, apprehension of information is non sufficient, pupils need to be exposed to the information in different ways and be able to lucubrate a personal experience from it.
Some other similar tools using visual image techniques have besides been developed in recent old ages, like Topic Maps Strand Map, VisIT ( Visualization of Information Tool ) , Model-It, Microworlds, etc.. Some web hunt engines even implement explorative hunts with the aid of information visual image techniques to polish user hunt questions. Users can now transport out explorative hunts on the WWW through consecutive loops on the ocular interfaces of these tools. Examples are KartOO, UJIKO, Crokker, Simploos, Quintura, oSkope, News Map, etc..
It is evident that educational tools using cognition visual image engineering can help pupils in undertaking topics like broad surveies to a great extent as this sort of topics require pupils to larn from resources in assorted subjects and develop capacities to construction and organize their cognition and acquisition stuffs for effectual learning direction, non to advert that cognition from different topics and spheres is complex, interconnected and ill-structured in a complex mode.
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