Bloom’s Taxonomy Goes Digital

Have you noticed radical changes in our language in the last few years?  We now have many new technological verbs at our disposal.  Five years ago I certainly wouldn’t have considered “tweeting” or “googling” in public!  Are your students texting, blogging, posting, podcasting, communicating and collaborating in ways you don’t understand?  Join the club!

Many of us, working with instructional technology, are running after the technology train trying to jump on.  We just get onboard, feeling comfortable, and along comes a new track with a new gadget guaranteed to engage the students.  In our effort to provide rigor and relevance we take these tangents, grab the gadgets and may add layers of more tech tools that do the same things we’ve been doing with no clear purpose.  Many say, “Stop the train. I want to get off!”

How do we find direction and calm the chaos?   We need to get on the right track – the track of sound, instructional practice.  How?  Many educators are looking to Digital Bloom’s Taxonomy to clarify the role of instructional technology, make wiser curricular decisions, and improve learning.

Bloom’s Review:

In the 1950’s Benjamin Bloom, along with other educational psychologists, began examining the learning process and developed a taxonomy of educational objectives with levels of intellectual behavior important in learning. Bloom and his colleagues proposed that learning fits into one of three domains: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor.   The cognitive domain categorizes and orders thinking skills and objectives.  It is this domain that is examined in Bloom’s taxonomy (see Old Version above).

Some forty years later, Lorin Anderson and David Krathwohl revised Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Their work centered upon how the taxonomy interacts with different types and levels of knowledge — factual, conceptual, procedural and metacognitive.  They also renamed the taxonomical levels, switching nouns to verbs and reversed the top two levels (see New Version above).  One intent of this work is to cause us to reflect on instruction and strive for higher order intellectual behavior from students.

In both versions of Bloom’s Taxonomy, the categories are accompanied by outcome-illustrating verbs.  For example, a student “Applying” information may demonstrate this level of cognition when they “choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, schedule, sketch, solve, use, or write.”  The Wordle below was created using some of the verbs found in Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy.

These verbs describe many traditional classroom practices, still appropriate for students, but they do not account for an ever-expanding array of learning behaviors provided through instructional technology. Today we have a new assortment of outcome-illustrating verbs.

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy
Andrew Churches has updated the works of Bloom, Anderson, and Krathwohl.    He has provided digital alternatives to the more traditional practices listed in the earlier taxonomies but has not changed or altered the previous content of the taxonomy.  Notice, the key terms have not changed but the list of verbs has grown.

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy website: http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Bloom%27s+Digital+Taxonomy

Several educators have conceptualized and published their own “tech toolboxes” which they believe align with Bloom’s Taxonomy (see example below).  Many such pyramids are posted online.  There are pyramids with Google apps, iPad apps, Web 2.0 applications, interactive whiteboard practices, and more.  A very well constructed blog which has compiled a number of Digital Bloom’s visual aids may be found at: http://techtoolsforschools.blogspot.com/2011/09/bloomstaxonomymashups.html.

Another site I would recommend is the TechnologyIntegrationMatrix. This organization does not utilize Bloom’s Taxonomy but it is a great resource for classroom videos depicting various lessons integrating technology.  One can observe the impact of effective tech integration and consider the level of thinking skills employed by the students involved.

Summary:
Digital Bloom’s is NOT about the tools or technologies but it’s about using these to improve instruction and facilitate learning. We mustn’t give up and jump off the instructional tech train.  Use the studies of Bloom, Anderson, Krathwohl, and Churches to examine instructional practices, both traditional and digital.  Their work can become a guiding directive to determine appropriate integration of technology in our schools leading to improved instruction and learning.

It’s time to climb up the pyramid and, for many of your students; technology is the way to go.  There has never been a better time to learn . . . and think!

Resources:
Anderson and Krathwohl. Retrieved September 18 2011, from beyond bloom website: http://www4.uwsp.edu/education/lwilson/curric/newtaxonomy.htm

Bloom’s Taxonomy. Retrieved September 18 2011, from website: http://www.odu.edu/educ/roverbau/Bloom/blooms_taxonomy.htm

Churches, Andrew. “Bloom’s Taxonomy Blooms Digitally.” 2008. Tech & Learning. <http://www.techlearning.com/article/BloomsTaxonomyBloomsDigitally/44988>.

educational-origami. Retrieved September 18 2011, from Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy website: http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Bloom%27s+Digital+Taxonomy

Ferriter, B. (2011, April 20). It’s About Verbs, Not Tools. Retrieved September 17 2011, from edweek.org website: http://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2011/04/20/tln_ferriter_igeneration.html?r=1217701481

Forehand, Mary. Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching and Technology. <http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Bloom%27s_Taxonomy>.

November, A. Handouts. Retrieved September 16 2011, from November Learning website: http://novemberlearning.com/resources/handouts/Education

Technology Integration Matrix.  website: http://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/matrix.php

Word Clouds website: http://www.wordle.net/

Author:
Jane Trotter, Instructional Technology Specialist
jane.trotter@gpaea.k12.ia.us
800-622-0027 ext. 1145

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