Very often in our schools we use forms of educational activity that require finding and presenting information. These types of assignments are often called “research”. However, it should be noted that simply gathering information and preparing a text or presentation about the information retrieved is not a research and knowledge construction, but a collection of existing knowledge / information.
Knowledge construction is actually the same as “critical thinking”. Knowledge is constructed when students, in addition to activating what they have already learned, rethink it and think of new ideas. Knowledge construction involves interpretation, analysis, synthesis, or evaluation of information or ideas.
- Interpretation is seeing a thought beyond its direct meaning. For example, students may read general population perceptions about water pollution and may contemplate what might be the reason for such perception (why do they think so?).
- Analysis is the process of identifying the components of a whole and establishing the relationship between them. For example, students can explore the factors that pollute the environment around them and determine which of them contribute to water pollution and ultimate water scarcity.
- Synthesis involves establishing connections between two or more ideas. For example, students can compare different countries’ approaches to water conservation.
- Evaluation is the determination of the quality, credibility, and significance of data, ideas, events. For example, students can read materials about several different approaches to hydropower plants and justify which one is the most reliable.