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Magazine Issue 84: Knowledge
June 2017

This month: Thoughts about KNOWLEDGE

Article: Knowledge
New Resources
Additional Resources

This Month's Article:

Is Knowledge Power?

Is Knowledge Power? An Article about knowledge. What is it? How should we teach it? With 3 top questions to promote Knowledge Literacy.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Categories: Article, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, Educators

Tags: Knowledge Curriculum Facts

How Much Knowledge?

I once read a Sci-Fi story in which a spaceship sets out carrying all the data that humanity has ever generated. There's no storage space left on Earth but the information can't be destroyed or overwritten. So the ship, stuffed full of magnetic tapes (probably), heads off to find a suitable planet to dump it on. Not long into the voyage an alien ship is spotted racing towards Earth. It's quickly established that this ship is doing exactly the same thing; it's full of alien data and searching for a place to put it all.

I wrote that short paragraph at 14:33 GMT on Friday 2nd June 2017. At that time mine was the 2,952,631st blog post that day and the 625,396,001st in 2017. (

Welcome back if you've just spent a thoughtful 10 minutes or more on worldometers and thanks for reading this instead of the many other blogs you could have chosen. Mind blowing world data don't you think? Not spaceship-filling but nevertheless showing that more and more of us are generating more and more information than ever before (and making it 100% clear that the management of our planet's food needs some serious work, fast).

So, how much knowledge is there? How much data and information? How many facts? How fast is it all increasing? How should we educate our children about it? And do we make them more powerful in the world if we do?

Knowledge is...

Knowledge is power. (Francis Bacon)

Knowledge is beautiful. (David McCandless)

Knowledge is doubling every 12 months (Buckminster Fuller curve estimate)

When educators lock horns about knowledge it's usually over which information should be included in a curriculum: Literary works, historical facts, national values, social behaviours, cultural norms, and subject-specific material. 

Once that fight is over (it's never actually won) they'll move on to the roles of teacher and pupil. On one hand the teacher is an expert who knows more than the pupil and is responsible for passing on a precious knowledge heritage to the next generation. One the other, the teacher is a facilitator who engineers opportunities, resources and challenges in which the pupil discovers or creates the information for themselves.

Taking the first approach ensures that the important stuff is preserved. But if it's taught without skill, passion and energy it turns children passive observers of a curriculum that has no relevance or interest to them.

Likewise, the second method can involve and motivate children but if they are left to their own devices they will miss essential learning.

You'll find that these extremes exist as school vision statements and also as aggressively defended personal educational philosophies. You'll also find a great deal of forward-thinking synthesis of the two positions - likewise, as school vision statements and personal educational philosophies.

Knowledge Literacy

The knowledge available to your pupils 20 years from now will most likely be unimaginable, as will the ways in which they can access and express it. As well as considering which knowledge is important and how children will best learn it, we must also teach them how to handle what's currently out there and what's on its way. Here are 3 simple questions that you can teach them; 3 questions that they can use to critically assess the information available - wherever and whenever they come across it:

  1. How is this information authentic, genuine, trustworthy?
  2. In what ways can I use this information to add value to my life and to the lives of others?
  3. How does this information connect to other knowledge that I already have?

It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
Albert Einstein

New Resources:

List Thinking

List Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool for making lists more meaningful and memorable. Remember and understand key subject knowledge.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Memory Skills, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, All Ages

Tags: Memory Process Organisation
Free Standard Member Resource: Login or Join for Free to access this resource and others.

List Thinking Powerpoint

List Thinking Powerpoint

A Thinking Tool Template in PowerPoint for easy presentation of List Thinking.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Memory Skills, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, All Ages

Tags: Memory Process Organisation
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Knowledge Think Sheet

Knowledge Think Sheet A Think Sheet with simple challenges to show pupils how to connect facts together - making them more meaningful and memorable.

Categories: Think Sheet, Memory Skills, Any Subject, Junior

Tags: Facts Memory Connections
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.


Additional Resources:

Thinking Classroom Archive:


Factivity An Article looking at knowledge and creativity and proposing the concept of 'Factivity' - the integration and co-dependence of the two. Also includes suggestions for designing activities that include factivity.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Find out more
Categories: Article, Creativity, Other Subject, Educators

Tags: Creative Curriculum Knowledge Creative Thinking

Active Lecture Thinking

Active Lecture Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool that gives the lecture a makeover to produce a more engaging, memorable learning experience.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Memory Skills, Skills-Based Learning, Any Subject, Junior, Secondary, Tertiary, Educators

Tags: Lecture Memory Collaboration
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Advance Organiser Thinking

Advance Organiser Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool to help you design and deliver Advance Organisers for pupil understanding and recall.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Visual Thinking, Teaching & Learning, Planning, Any Subject, All Ages

Tags: Planning Visual Thinking Advance Organiser
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.


1,234 Facts from QI
by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson, James Harkin

1,234 Facts from QI<br> by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson, James Harkin The TV show QI has been making facts interesting and fun since 2003. Here is a sample.

Available from Amazon 

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Suggested Books

Tags: Knowledge Facts

Next month we think about NEGOTIATION