What is My Class Thinking?

Today we returned to knowledge forum our platform for building community knowledge.

Below are screen captures of the discussion after a 40 minute period.  One of my analytical thinkers organized the space once the discussion was finished.  We begin with a central idea and then students build on each other’s ideas.  Students must provide titles for their ideas and identify the kinds of contribution they are making to the discussion.





We have capacity to analyze the kinds of contributions we are making to our community. Below we can see the scaffolds students used when making their contributions.


If anyone clicks on a contribution, a box opens and the extended idea becomes visible. Here students are discussing our novel, Touching Spirit Bear.



Here students are discussing what they’ve realized from our inquiry into grit, tenacity, perseverance and reliance about how opportunity gets created.


Below students are discussing how young offenders should be handled.


Here students are building community knowledge on spirit bears.


We can track our vocabulary growth individually or as a class.


When we returned to class students suggested ideas on how to make contributions in our community space more productive, including not repeating questions and finding information to answer questions.  With the promising ideas tool, we’ll be able to examine the discussion and then decide which ideas to extract to a new view for further exploration.

The beauty of this tool is that rather than creating assignments to determine what students have learned, in this community space we can watch as the class builds knowledge and then link their interest-based learning to the curriculum.  This reflects a more natural learning process.  Knowledge Forum is the most powerful digital tool I’ve used with students.  If you’d like to learn more about how it works, instructional tutorials are here.   More about knowledge building as a pedagogy can be found on the Ontario Ministry of Education’s new Teach Lead Learn site.


  1. Heidi, I was glad to learn you found these analytic tools useful. Also great to learn you’re using the Promising Ideas tool to redefine the workspace. That was the major intension when I was designing that tool. Would love to hear more!!

    1. Heidi Siwak

      Thanks for your feedback. We haven’t used rise above intentionally yet in the tool. I think for students as they learn to think in this way, physical experience is necessary; once they’ve been through a promising idea/rise above process, I think it will make sense when we move into digital space.

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