Saturday, July 6, 2013

Bloom's Taxonomy Adjusted

Back in my Education 101 courses we learned about Bloom's Taxonomy. Thank you, Brother. I still hear you in my head, "Child of Grace, these should be at the heart of all your teaching." The original skills of higher order thinking were: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation. In recent years, this theory has been revisited. It has received an update by several in the field. The new skills are: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating. 

First, I like that they have been changed to verbs. Our learning and knowledge acquisition should be active – therefore verbs should be used. But some have taken time to pigeon hole modern technology applications to fit these new standards. Honestly, at first I too thought this was a great idea. I was about to jump on the bandwagon. I jotted down the skills. I started to think about the applications teachers and students have at their fingertips at our school. I started to align to Bloom's work. 

I placed one tool (Socrative) in a category. I moved to the next category. I realized hmmm the same tool could fit here too. I moved to the next. Hmm it could fit here, here, and here. I realized maybe the skills haven't changed but our tools have. It isn't so much about the tool anymore as it is how we use the tool. 

I admit, last year I did a great Digital Learning Day event about the tools we have as teachers. Insert Elvis lip here on me. Maybe I should have focused on the skills and what tool to use to reach that skill or skills. This year in September, I will be hosting a Technology kickoff in my building for teachers. I don't want to ruin the surprise by revealing the theme now. But I realize that this year's theme I believe is more on track in a colorful way.

How can one tool meet several areas of the Bloom's Taxonomy? It depends on the application of the skilled educator. Thankfully I work with many such individuals. I am merely their guide to assist with integration. For example, if a teacher is interested in using Google Docs in the classroom. I could easily fit “Remembering”. If all they are doing is providing a lesson outline with it for students to read. If they created a flash card like deck in Google presentations. But it can do more. It can also fit “Understanding” if a teacher let's a student summarize what they have learned in a Google Doc. It feels like an infomercial going off in my head. “But wait, there's more...” It could fit “Evaluating” if teachers give students the flexibility to debate their new knowledge in a shared document. It could also fit “Evaluating” if a teacher presents a passage and request students to critique it. Still more. Of course Google Docs is an excellent tool for “Creating”. Students can publish their own stories, poems, and more. Hypothesize a theory for their predicted learning and then revisit and organize the notes from their new actual learning process that developed.

Things that make you go hmmm. So I could be painstakingly evaluating all the applications we have at school and aligning them to Bloom's Taxonomy. Instead I write this blog post to share my thoughts and will go pour a cool glass of iced tea. It is summer after all. Teachers are off July and August, right?

Oh if only those not married/involved with teachers knew the truth...