Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy: Lorin Anderson 2001

Bloom’s revised taxonomy illustrates much of the learning that occurs in modern-day classrooms.  These Wordles help us to understand more clearly how each tier of the pyramid could be incorporated into our teaching.

Creating: A Wordle by Gabriela Grosseck

Evaluating: A Wordle by Gabriela Grosseck

Analysing: A Wordle by Gabriela Grosseck

Applying: A Wordle by Gabriela Grosseck

Understanding: A Wordle by Gabriela Grosseck

Remembering: A Wordle by Gabriela Grosseck

Creating Masterpieces

Strategies and high level thinking are part and parcel of our daily teaching routines. I’m continually trying to push my students’ thinking, so Bloom’s revised taxonomy (Bloom’s Taxonomy Blooms Digitally: Andrew Churches) is a breath of fresh air.

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy: Lorin Anderson 2001

If digital literacy is the ability to locate, organize, understand, evaluate and create information using digital technology (Reach: Jeff Utecht), then this highlights the theory that technology can in fact push students’ thinking and extend their thinking skills. In fact, linked with the learning pyramid (Darren Kuropatwa), this emphasizes that fact that creating products which teach others could be an effective way to interweave thinking skills with learning.

While I agree with the idea that creation is the most compelling means of challenging students to apply their understanding to new products, I also feel that creating doesn’t stand alone at the top of the pyramid. In fact, I believe that the top three tiers of the pyramid are closely  interlinked and should not take place in isolation. What good is creating a product if it is not then analyzed, evaluated and improved? Of course blogs give creators the opportunity for others to read their posts and comment upon them. But the creators themselves must also be given the chance to reflect on their products and evaluate their effectiveness. Peer feedback, whether through comments or other means, is also vital.

Learning pyramid twin triangles with Bloom's new taxonomy by Darren Kuropatwa

Making products for others to see, whether it be podcasts, videos, blog posts or slideshows, is a great way to not only focus on higher level thinking, but also to teach or inform others. As the learning pyramid shows, practicing by doing and teaching others helps students to retain information, therefore digital tools can provide a powerful way to increase understanding.

Bloom's digital taxonomy map: Lorin Anderson 2001, revised by Andrew Churches 2008


Constructivism is a key part of learning today, and the revised taxonomy emphasizes the role creation should have in our classrooms. Through the inquiry process, students are able to explore their own questions and construct their own learning with facilitation by the teacher. Now Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy shows the part connectivism can play in constructing understanding. Digital literacy has a key part to play in the future of education and it is now up to us, the teachers, to give our students access to digital tools and empower them to use them.

Connect, Create, Collaborate

Communication. Collaboration. It looks different in the modern, digital world. From day one, I’ve believed in collaboration. It was how I was trained. It’s what I believe in. In the New Zealand education system, group work was paramount. Now within the international school system, and with U.S. based programs such as Writers’ Workshop, FOSS Science and Math Investigations in place, partner and group work is part and parcel of the program. I’ve explored many different online tools, computer programs, and platforms. I’ve even tried forming global connections. My learning curve has been steep but I’ve enjoyed the challenge. The big question is, how do you form lasting global connections?

Jeff Utecht, in his book, Reach, talks of the value and power of building learning communities and networks. Learners should be prosumers, rather than consumers, Utecht states. I’ve been a believer in sharing experiences and the excitement of learning with others for as long as I’ve been a teacher. As time has gone on, this has morphed into building communities within the classroom and then between classrooms. Finally, I’ve even tried to create global communities.

This video, featured on a colleague’s blog (Chrissy Hellyer: Life We Got), inspired me and reminded me of my recent goal in connecting classrooms .

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The fantastic thing about this project was that it connected classes across six continents. Whether it be music or academics, connecting people from so many places around the world is an amazing accomplishment. Last year, I tried to implement a similar project, Classroom Bridges, with the ambitious aim of connecting classes across six continents.

But it was a failure. Try as I might, I couldn’t get others to really commit to the project. I scoped all my networks around the world, carefully selected committed educators, and was even approached by others who seemed truly keen in the project. The result: Complete FAILURE! Commitment to the project was the biggest issue, as was finding like-minded peer groups.

While global connections are important, our students are still fairly egocentric and real connections that they can see and value seem to be fundamental stepping stones. It seems that making connections within our own school is a first step toward finding peers with similar interests. At least that way my students can at least relate to what they are blogging about. With help from colleagues at the International School of Bangkok, Grade 4 colleague Mike Jessee and Grade 5 teacher, Stacey Melhorn, as blogging mentors, I hope that I can fully inspire my students to blog.

Creating personal learning networks (PLN) for the students in my class so they can gather feedback is a vital component to the success of our blogging. It was also the key component to the failure of the Classroom Bridges project. When others don’t respond to your questions or posts, it doesn’t motivate you to keep writing. We all need feedback, and the more connections we can make, the more we’re inspired.

As Utecht states, teachers become overwhelmed and find it hard to remain active in the digital world. We all have busy lives and so much to teach already. There are so many tools, and technology is changing so fast. It’s hard to keep up. But, Utecht writes, we teachers need to understand and become prosumers ourselves. In order to prepare our students for today’s connected digital world, we need to be familiar with the tools they will need to survive. It’s not only students who need greater skills in digital literacy, it’s us, the teachers, who need to upskill too. So, busy as we are, I hope that I can find others to connect with, on both a local and global scale, so I can provide my class with the means to build up their own personal learning networks.







What Rings My Bell?

Our class has been inspired by author and creator Amy Krouse Rosenthal and her uplifting videos. Amy not only loves to spread joy but is a great teacher of the ways we can become more conscious of ourselves and others. Our ‘What Rings My Bell?’ presentations were inspired by Amy and provided us with a fun way to explore what makes us tick.

In 4 Terry, we are becoming more aware of ourselves as learners. As a result of my recent course in Cognitive Coaching, we are focusing on the five states of mind which help us to become self-directed learners. We’re looking forward to becoming more aware of the ways we can become more responsible for our own learning. This project helps us to to focus on ‘Consciousness’, as does our recent wave of spirit in the Elementary School inspired by Amy’s video: ‘Life is a Marathon’.

We’re looking forward to many more fun and thought-provoking activities which will help us focus on the other states of mind: craftsmanship, efficacy, flexibility and interdependence.

And of course we’re looking for Amy’s visit to ISB in April!

Look out for our individual ‘What Rings My Bell?’ presentations on our student blogs soon! Links to student blogs can be found on: 4 Terry Class Blog

For now, here’s a preview into what makes Ms. Terry tick:


The Age of Collaboration

My thoughts after reading World Without Walls: Learning Well with Others by Will Richardson and the first chapter of Reach by Jeff Utecht.

We’re now living in the ‘Collaboration Age’. As Richardson writes, teachers must now reconsider their roles in students’ lives. Global collaboration and building learning communities are essential to the digital age and a world full of social networking. So what does that mean to me and my fellow educators? A shift of thinking, that’s for sure, and perhaps a whole new perspective of technology and the role of the teacher in the classroom.

As Richardson states so succinctly, ‘We must know for ourselves how to create, grow, and navigate these collaborative spaces in safe, effective, and ethical ways. And we must be able to model those shifts for our students and counsel them effectively when they run across problems with these tools.’ (World Without Walls: Learning Well with Others, Will Richardson)

Some rights reserved by Gary Hayes

The teacher now has a multi-faceted role: as facilitator, mentor and modeller. We must help students to think critically and evaluate the overwhelming amount of information at their fingertips. We should help them sift through this barrage of material, modelling strategies for dealing with the deluge. As Richardson states, explicit modelling is essential to helping students navigate the net. Reflecting with students on our own successes and failures, thinking aloud as we locate information and weigh up its relevance, and sharing our thinking is the role of teachers in the modern digital world.

So how is this possible in our busy classrooms where we’re continually crunched for time? The International School of Bangkok‘s motto of ‘Inspired Students, Inspired Teachers, Inspired Learners’ can only be enhanced by the use of technology and the powerful learning that can come of it. But how is it even possible to integrate technology to a point where we model and reflect with students when our programs and curriculum demand so much of us and are so labor intensive? This is a struggle that all teachers are faced with: How do we balance all that we are expected to do in our curriculum with the implementation of digital tools which take time to learn, appreciate and understand.

As in most schools, the definition of learning at ISB is logical, well thought out and in tune with current educational thinking. The statement: ‘We value meaningful learning where students construct enduring understanding by developing and applying knowledge, skills, and attitudes.‘ (Definition of Learning: International School of Bangkok) ties in perfectly to the use of digital tools, but the big question remains: How can we retain consistency between team members and grade levels and integrate technology when teachers are at so many different comfort levels and have such varied technical knowledge?

Despite a great deal of money being poured into technology, 1:1 schools, laptop carts, technology coaches and leaders, it takes a different mindset to launch wholeheartedly into using digital tools in the classroom. Often the creation of digital projects are labor intensive, riddled with technological hitches and set the teaching schedule behind those of the grade level team. As teachers we must be prepared to justify our approach with parents and administrators should the question ever be raised “Why are you behind your colleagues?”

As an educator, however, I believe that it takes considerably more time to delve deeper into a subject and understand it at a high level. By simply glossing over subjects and remaining content driven, we are unable to help students gain a thorough knowledge of an area and prepare for the real world. Most schools have a Definition of Learning similar to that of the International School of Bangkok, yet this demands a depth of understanding our curriculum does not allow us time to explore. This is an issue I continue to struggle with, finding the right balance between content and understanding, as well as providing students adequate opportunities for metacognition and application of ideas.

I am hoping that, as I delve deeper into these issues through the COETAIL course, my vision of using technology to aid metacognition and apply ideas will become clearer. The value that technology can play in education cannot be underplayed, but must be molded to be both sustainable and feasible in the classroom.



Header Acknowledgement

Some rights reserved by Jaime Silva





I’m about to begin a whole new world of learning through the COETAIL online course. Look out for new posts coming soon on the ‘collaboration age’ and living with social media and social networking sites in the modern world.

For what’s happening in my classroom, check out my class blog: Ms. Terry’s Class Blog.