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Article of Volume 9, Issue 1, March 2014

Multi-player epistemic games: Guiding the enactment of classroom knowledge-building communities

Authors: Katerine Bielaczyc, John Ow

Abstract: Teachers and students face many challenges in shifting from traditional classroom cultures to enacting the Knowledge-Building Communities model (KBC model) supported by the CSCL environment, Knowledge Forum (Bereiter, 2002; Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1993; Scardamalia, 2002; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 2006). Enacting the model involves socializing students into knowledge work, similar to disciplinary communities. A useful construct in the field of the Learning Sciences for understanding knowledge work is “epistemic games” (Collins & Ferguson, 1993; Morrison & Collins 1995; Perkins, 1997). We propose that a powerful means for supporting classroom enactments of the KBC model entails conceptualizing Knowledge Forum as a collective space for playing multi-player epistemic games. Participation in knowledge-building communities is then scaffolded through learning the moves of such games. We have designed scaffolding tools that highlight particular knowledge-building moves for practice and reflection as a means of supporting students and teachers in coming to understand how to collectively work together toward the progressive improvement of ideas. In order to examine our design theories in practice, we present research on Ideas First, a design-based research program involving enactments of the KBC model in Singaporean primary science classrooms (Bielaczyc & Ow, 2007, 2010; Ow & Bielaczyc, 2007; 2008).

Keywords: Knowledge building communities, Epistemic games, Design research, Implementation paths

Citation: Bielaczyc, K. & Ow, J. (2014) Multi-player epistemic games: Guiding the enactment of classroom knowledge-building communities. ijcscl 9 (1), pp. 33-62

DOI: 10.1007/s11412-013-9186-z

Preprint: Acrobat-PDF bielaczyc_ow_9_1.pdf

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