The Sandbox

The "Knowledge Society Sandbox” is a digital learning environment for secondary school students that my team and I have developed in collaboration with the Israeli Center for Educational Technology (CET). The Sandbox is currently available online to all public secondary schools in Israel and is in its initial implementation and testing phase. The overarching aim of the Sandbox is to promote students’ abilities to critically construct knowledge from multiple information sources and to foster their epistemic understandings regarding knowledge construction and evaluation. 

The design of the Sandbox is based on current theoretical models of multiple document comprehension (Braasch & Bråten, 2017; Britt, Rouet, & Braasch, 2013; Rouet & Britt, 2011; Rouet, Britt, & Durik, 2017) and supports students through several phases of knowledge construction: understanding the task and its requirements, evaluating and selecting information sources, analyzing the information sources, integrating information, writing an integrative essay, and evaluating and revising this essay. 

The Sandbox includes three main components:
1. A collection of tasks that require evaluation, analysis, and integration of multiple information sources.  Each includes a task statement and a set of information sources chosen to represent diverse viewpoints, genres, credibility, quality, and more. Students and teachers can add and remove information sources and create their own tasks. 
2. Cognitive scaffolds that support knowledge construction processes.  These scaffolds help students evaluate the credibility and relevance of the information sources, identify their claims and supporting reasons, map the network of links among sources and claims, and write based on multiple information sources.
3. Metacognitive scaffolds and supports that promote regulation and understanding of knowledge construction and evaluation. These scaffolds include metacognitive monitoring and evaluation prompts, short explanations about relevant epistemic concepts (e.g., “credibility”), and longer units that engage students in learning about when, why, and how one evaluates and integrates multiple information sources, and other relevant issues. 

Click here to try out the Sandbox. It is currently available in Hebrew and Arabic. We are seeking funding to translate the Sandbox to additional languages.

We are currently studying how students and teachers use the Sandbox and how learning and teaching with the Sandbox impacts students' abilities to evaluate and integrate multiple information sources and their epistemic metacognition.

Information Source Evaluation Scaffold:

Information Source Integration Scaffold:

Metacognitive Scaffolds: