Knowledge Building International Project

Congratulations! This Entry has been selected as a semifinalist.

Knowledge Building International Project: KBIP aims to prepare students for a competitive, globally-connected society

Several cities throughout the worldSeveral cities throughout the world
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

KBIP prepares today’s students for tomorrow’s complex challenges with proven strategies of computer-supported collaborative deep learning. Children can develop 21st Century skills like critical thinking, creativity, community and others to examine real life problems that need innovative solutions.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

we could nuture a child's natural inquisitiveness and curiosity at an early age to harness innovation toward creating solutions for local proble
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In mainstream education, student engagement with the real world is an issue. We need practical strategies of how to pose real life problems that need to be solved, structure learning activities to get students to think deeply, develop teaching practices that foster knowledge creation, and engage in collaboration among both teachers and students in ways that develop the capabilities and skills they need for the 21st century living and learning.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

KBIP students take advantage of society’s new openness of information to experience being knowledge builders while engaging in productive interactions and collaborations through partnered classrooms and videoconferencing. Students build knowledge around a common theme utilizing educational technology to do research from authoritative sources to find innovative solutions to local problems. When these students are partnered with other classrooms around the world, local problems become global issues to be solved within collaborative learning environments. KBIP educators are mentored by colleagues and share best practices, also through videoconferencing, adopting knowledge-building pedagogical innovation and its technology to their teaching.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

A common subject chosen by consensus of the teachers, SMART CITIES for example, can be studied within the context of the learning objectives for a wide range of subjects and age groups. Students are engaged, work with their peers and with technology to connect their studies to the real world through the Knowledge Forum (KF) platform. After researching the subject, they prepare recommendations on how their own city, town or village can improve the quality of life for their residents. Thus, they have a better understanding of the material and learning becomes relevant to their lives. Partnering students with other students across the globe is also very exciting for them, allowing a glimpse into other cultures and empathy for shared problems.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Reading, writing, vocabulary growth and subject mastery assessments can be fed back into the work as it proceeds. This avoids having to wait until the end of a unit of classroom work to provide feedback, when it is too late to make adjustments. By developing 21st Century skills through knowledge building, students show improved learning outcomes in both mother tongue and English, which is the common language used in KBIP. By partnering classrooms around the world, children learn to become empathetic as they work collaboratively to solve common problems that impact every living creature on earth. Partnering classrooms also facilitates a sharing of culture and a building of international relationships at an early age. Partnered educators are mentored by colleagues, share best practices, and adopt knowledge-building pedagogical innovation and its technology by participating in KBIP.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

KBIP is rooted in school-university-government partnerships along with locally-based networks of innovation, primarily in Hong Kong, Catalonia and Canada, where the pedagogy was developed. By partnering classrooms around the world, the main spread strategy, these collaborations provide benefits at multiple levels: support for research-based educational innovation from a university perspective; governments can bring more vitality into schools in urban and rural settings as well as international collaborations; educators are themselves experimenting with technology to enhance their teaching.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Financing is required for the key personnel who will train teachers and ascertain the technology requirements are adequate. We count on the schools incorporating the technology into their current system. These initial funds would need to come from foundations or the public sector. Continued financing could come from offering KBIP as a supplemental education service such as those supported under No Child Left Behind.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Deep learning programming, project-based learning, and inquiry learning could all use the technology for applications in both traditional classrooms and other learning environments, such as after-school programming, alternative learning sites, armed forces schools, and prison educational services. Canada has been very successful in implementing the knowledge-building rural network to provide opportunities for rural communities to learn from each other, foster improved communications between practitioners, communities, rural organizations, policy makers and academia.

Founding Story

It took over ten years for the Knowledge Building International Project to grow from a hand full of schools in three countries to several dozen schools in over 17 countries. This growth was based on the commitment of the trailblazers promoting knowledge-building pedagogy through an international network of researchers, educators, policymakers and business. Mireia Montane was responsible for the growth of KBIP in Catalonia during her tenure as a public policy official at the Ministry of Education. After her retirement, with renewed vigor, she transferred her dedication and commitment to promulgating the knowledge-building model amongst new partners in additional countries, including the U.S., while continuing to nurture experienced teachers.


Currently, all team members work tiredlessly on a pro-bono basis. Mireia Montane works to recruit partners at the macro level, especially by virture of her responsibilities as Chair, Global Education at the Association of Teacher Education in Europe. Penelope Beery serves as the Director of Professional Development, and works primarily to engage U.S. teachers in KBIP. Sandra coordinates activity, including promotions and videoconferencing.
About You
Knowledge Building in Action
About You
First Name


Last Name

Lund Diaz

About Your Project
Organization Name

Knowledge Building in Action

How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

, Several cities throughout the world

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Several cities throughout the world

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Foundations, NGOs, Businesses, Other.


The project is currently undergoing formal evaluation at the highest level within the Catalonia Ministry of Education for learning effectiveness and teacher training

Primary Target Age Group

6 - 12, 13 - 17, 18 - 35, 35+.

Your role in Education


Please specify which of the following best applies:

I am applying on behalf of a particular program or initiative.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with (if applicable)


Intervention Focus

Professional Development, Online Learning.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Putting Children in Charge: Giving children a voice and cultivating agency via experiential learning, project-based learning, and civic engagement.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

One size fits all fits none: Students are disengaged and not being prepared for "real life."


Creating collaborative learning environments inside and outside the traditional classroom


computer-supported collaborative learning

What key learning outcomes does your work seek to improve?

- improved learning outcomes
- professional development and teacher training
- developing international relationships at an early age
- implement educational technology in the classroom, in after-school programming and online for home-schooled children

Secondary Form
PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details explains what knowledge-building activities take place around the KBIP common theme. Here we demonstrate how knowledge building supports playing with ideas, which is the basic premise and supporting pedagogy behind KBIP. The model transforms individual ideas into communal knowledge through an electronic workspace, where profound learning takes place. Every KB class convened provides for an opportunity to develop skills in students to think critically, creatively and imaginatively about about issues that have implications for their lives; learning is relevant and fun

INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.

The smart city movement is forecasted to reach a trillion $ value by 2016. Children can learn about concepts Smart cities invest in through KBIP, at an early age when creativity is at its peak, so they have time to build their skills for when they become the leaders of tomorrow. Another trend worth noting is the idea of introducing STEM subjects in middle school. With knowledge building, students incorporate new ideas in STEM as well as fine-tune the scientific method and research practices, all tools that allow students to engage in serious play with ideas deeply rooted in the real world.

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?

Every child, no matter their intellectual capacity or social background, possesses the ability to learn through serious play where they develop important skills and capabilities. With knowledge building, children are given the tools to think critically, learn and understand information and experiment with different outcomes. By playing with ideas in a safe environment supported by collaborative learning, they can explore opportunities where their own ideas can contribute toward solving complex problems. Through serious play, students acquire self-confidence in their abilities and have fun.

SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.

Being a newly-established organization, we currently have no revenue stream. Ideally, we would grow the project to becoming self-sufficient with earned income from schools, districts or state funding allocated toward educational programming. However, to get to that point, we need serious investment

MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?

Our mission is to create systemic, sustainable change in the school experience for students in order to prepare them for success in the education process, in the workforce and in life. While every child deserves to be educated, education is costly. We could package the model into a supplemental education product and sell it to every private school at the detriment of children from disadvantaged communities and widening the achievement gap.

FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?

We need to codify the pedagogy, disseminate it, recruit/train more educators. Unrestricted funding would be invaluable in (1) marketing – creating a professional video on the knowledge building experience (2) supporting the KBIP Summer Institute where teachers can network and be trained on the model

PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.

We partnered with established organizations and projects primarily in places where knowledge building has gained momentum over the past few years. We also partner with the researchers who developed the pedagogy and related technology through their supporting universities. We recognize the importance of creating partnerships at the public policy level and with school districts, post-secondary education institutions that takes funding/manpower

COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.

C.P. sharing similar goals as ours for serious play to impart important 21st Century skills such as critical thinking and creativity seem to be lacking the technology and tools, which we have and are excited to share. We would love to explore partnerships with them and other Changemakers.

VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?

All children can engage in serious play to acquire skills that will prepare them for being productive adults and contributors to society. Children will want to come to class because learning is interesting, relevant to their lives, and fun, reducing drop-outs. Teachers will be effective facilitators of learning to prepare students for college and 21st Century workforces and marketplaces.

IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time

KBIP formative learning assessment tools gauge student progress in mastering subject matters and contributions in terms of qualitative and quantitative outputs. Student multimedia presentations are responses to learning goals that provide a picture of a teacher’s effectiveness in guiding their learning. The model also adheres to UNESCO guidelines for ICT standards. Workspace data should be improved with a larger user base.

IMPACT - REPORTING SAMPLE: Please attach any examples of your impact reporting. [optional]:
RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE: Please link or attach any research or evidence resource you are open to sharing more widely [optional]. Building research and evidence is a key aim of this initiative, and the resources you share may be chosen for listing in the Center for Education Innovations library:
SOURCE: If applicable - who created the research or evidence you are choosing to share? :
IMPACT - REACH: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

500 to 1,000

STUDY: Has an external evaluation or study been conducted of your organization?

Other (please specify)

Other (please specify)

A formal evaluation was just completed by the Catalonia Ministry of Education citing the model as the most innovative technology

Number of Employees:

Fewer than 10

Number of Volunteers:


APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.

Symbolic Play, Creating a Supportive Socio-Emotional Environment, Educational Structuring (developing playful projects within educational contexts), Other (please specify).

Other (please specify)

Serious play with ideas rooted in the real world

AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.

We have no affiliation with the LEGO Group - hope that changes :-)


Ing. Enrique Barajas's picture

This is serious academic innovation, encompassing careful design of learning inquiries and monitoring the acquisition of several skills in the way to complete a classroom project by the students.

New website at launches the Knowledge Building International Project for the 2014-2015 school year, focusing research around SMART CITIES - Join Us!

Ing. Enrique Barajas's picture

Fully supported by an innovative process of teaching and learning, this project is ambitious and well structured. I can see benefical connections of KBIP with other projects in Changemakers, creating a synergy.

Hello everyone! We created a new website to concentrate KBIP activities around our common theme of SMART CITIES. Please visit our page at We are excited about starting this school cycle with such an interesting and important theme, Smart cities improve infrastructure, deliver services with technology, develop ways to use land more effectively, foster an entrepreneurial economy and increase citizen participation to make their cities a better place to live. If you want your students to learn about these important concepts to apply to their own community, we invite you to join the Knowledge Building International Project. Best regards, Sandra

Hello again to all! It has been difficult to synthesize knowledge-building pedagogy and its associated technology for a wider audience to understand how it functions, so we created a background paper on the KBIP Smart Cities K-12 initiative. It is available online at We invite all the Reimagining Learning submissions interested in promoting 21st Century skills to join us this school cycle as our students learn how their own communities can become "smart" and resilient. Best to you all, and kudos on your endeavors to promote learning opportunities! Cheers, Sandra

Thanks to everyone sending me feedback on our submission of the Knowledge Building International Project to the Reimaging Learning Challenge. There seems to be great interest in the subject of "serious play". While it can be considered experiential learning and academically-based, serious play takes its cues from the business world, and is associated with fostering creative thinking through team building, and a belief that everyone can contribute to the discussion, decisions and outcome that benefit the enterprise. Knowledge-building communities (in KBIP's case, students in small group learning enviornments) foster creative thinking through a process of refining and transforming individual ideas to communal knowledge, where every member of the community contributes his or her idea toward solving a real-world scenario (in KBIP's case, problems confronting a city, town or village). The result of serious play for KBIP students is an acquisition of skills and knowledge that will equip them to become autonomous thinkers and strong leaders.
Our best to you all!
Regards, Sandra