Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Resources for Bloom's Digital Taxonomy

Bloom's taxonomy of learning came up in class last night.  Earlier in the course it had been a topic of discussion on our class's Blackboard discussion board, and it popped up again when were were learning about Udutu, a free online course authoring tool that lets you make online interactive site and "learning objects" (like tests, things to read and do, and other activities).  Udutu's documentation doesn't confine itself to telling you how to use the tool (e.g. "click here to add a picture") - it also discusses establishing learning outcomes and some of the old-fashioned lesson- or course- planning activities that are appropriate to each stage of creating an online (or e-learning) course.  While this made it verbose (and maddening when I was looking for quick step-by-step instruction on how to import a video) I do think I will be reading it more carefully before I charge off into e-learning.

But at any rate, it made me think of some recent modifications of Bloom's Taxonomy that people have been making to adapt Bloom's (a product of the 1950s) to the digital age.

Andrew Churches has written a lot about this.  His article at gives brief explanation of Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning as adapted for digital learning.  Best of all, it provides annotated lists of common digital tasks, organized by the level of the taxonomy they fall under.  Churches article in is useful, clear, and best of all, specific.  For example, under Bloom's level "Understanding," Churches places the following:
The digital additions and their explanations are as follows:
  • Advanced and Boolean Searching – This is a progression from the previous category. Students require a greater depth of understanding to be able to create, modify and refine searches to suit their search needs.
  • Blog Journaling – This is the simplest of the uses for a blog, where a student simply "talks" "writes" or "types" a daily- or task-specific journal. This shows a basic understanding of the activity reported upon. The blog can be used to develop higher level thinking when used for discussion and collaboration.
  • Twittering – The Twitter site's fundamental question is "what are you doing?" This can be, in its most simplistic form, a one or two word answer, but when developed this is a tool that lends itself to developing understanding and potentially starting collaboration.
  • Categorizing – digital classification - organizing and classifying files, web sites and materials using folders etc. 
  • Commenting and annotating – a variety of tools exist that allow the user to comment and annotate on web pages, .pdf files and other documents. The user is developing understanding by simply commenting on the pages. This is analogous with writing notes on hand outs, but is potentially more powerful as you can link and index these.
  • Subscribing – Subscription takes bookmarking in its various forms and simplistic reading one level further. The act of subscription by itself does not show or develop understanding but often the process of reading and revisiting the subscribed-to feeds leads to greater understanding.
And so on for the other levels of Blooms. 

Churches has also published a long but interesting and accessible article on Bloom's digital taxonomy here.  It's dated 2008 - not sure if he's updated it recently.

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