Educational Trends

Bloom's Revised Taxonomy

Well over a half a century ago, education psychologist Benjamin Bloom developed a way to frame learning goals by identifying the key intellectual skills necessary for learning to occur. Still in use today, the 1990’s saw its modification to reflect an emphasis on the active nature of learning.1 What you see here is the latest iteration of this classification system. As you’ll note, the visualization of this learning taxonomy shows the lowest cognitive level occupying the largest amount of real estate with the higher cognitive domains of analyzing, evaluating and creating occupying the smallest amount. Interestingly, Bloom found in the 1950’s that 95% of test questions only asked students to think at the lowest level of learning, information retrieval.2

Understanding the Concept

If it is true that our roles as educators and scholars are changing, with its attendant focus on new modes of scholarly authority and student engagement, what kinds of opportunities and challenges might these emerging technologies present to you as young scholars and educators?

During Monday’s class we will meet face-to-face and via Ustream (with Alex) to explore teacher-facilitated learning environments that make use of social media as well as some examples of open source publishing resources. For our Tuesday virtual class, we’ll give WiZiQ one more try try out DimDim and discuss this week’s readings.

1. Bloom’s Taxonomy by Heather Coffey.
2. Kinetic connections: Bloom’s taxonomy in action by Bobby Hobgood, Melissa Thibault, and David Walbert.


10 Responses to “Educational Trends”

  1. sondrus Says:

    It seems one of the most basic challenges towards using technology in teaching is to overcome prejudices and fears. For example, as a teacher I feel a bit adverse to using blogs or online learning. One of my primary worries is that “oh this will demand too much of my time.” I envision that being in charge of a blog, online forum would demand more responsibility of me. I envision that I would have to check the site daily and respond to new comments. Now perhaps this fear could be coming from a hierarchical view of education where the teacher is seen as holding all the power, knowledge and responsibility. Maybe a division of responsibility would be a solution. For example, some teachers have students take attendance, collect homework, write on the board. So perhaps each week a different student could be responsible for monitoring the site? I’m not sure what the answer is. another idea would be for the teacher to say “I will check the site every Wednesday.” Setting such a guideline could assure students that they will be read, but also it could give the teacher a boundary too.

    In response to tech. innovations I must say that the electronic books made me think that students might always come to class with the text! I have frequently had students not bring their books because of the weight of the books. It is frustrating when they do not have their books. I can also understand the burden of carrying books. I wonder, can one annotate on electronic books? I understood that on Course Smart they can, but this is a textbook online.

    Regarding augmented reality it would be cool to simulate the physical environment for students for example studying West African literature. I would love for them to feel the heat and dust, to hear how strongly the rain can come down, hear the call of a mosque.

    Lastly, in Map of the Future, I was keen to hear about alternative financial models where peer to peer lending would happen through social networks. I have heard of online individual loans for individuals in Africa. I wonder if peer lending will evolve more and how one’s loan is guaranteed beyond social responsibility.

    • layspan Says:

      I agree with all of your comment. However, the answer to most of your argument may be summarized in one sentence:
      “We must rethink ourselves.” (Taken from “The Machine is Us/ing Us”.)
      And WE means teachers, students, the book industry, technology, classrooms, Academia in general, ideas…

      • kemen528 Says:

        Lay, I think that you are correct in your response. I really like how in the we you did not just include teachers, but students, etc. I think that when we bring up the word “accountability” when it comes to who is responsible for education we often think of teachers, but I am glad that you expanded WE to include everyone else. I would even add parents to that list because you would be surprised how many parents use the excuse that “they are not technology savvy” and they completely ignore that aspect of their child’s education. Web 2.0 tool use in the classroom should also include parents, that way it could be one way that we could repair that “education” bridge, that is definitely damaged, among parents, teachers and students.

      • Blanca Says:

        I also agree with Lay in her definition of WE, and also with Kemen’s addition. Many teachers share the same opinion; they try to rethink themselves and to let other teachers know about this new approach. What I wonder is whether students are aware of their role. I have heard from other TAs experiences and all of us have had at some point a class where we were the engine, no matter how hard we tried to encourage students’ participation. How can we make them assume new roles when they are convinced that the teacher is the only responsible for the class?

    • sarahmelvine Says:

      Suzanne, I can relate to your anxieties relating to the use of technology in the classroom. I am nervous about implementing a new way of relating to my students that breaks down some of the formal aspects of the student/ teacher relationship. I am not sure how I am to conduct myself professionally in an online environment; it seems like the internet is used so much for social networking that it has become second nature for me to be more “open” online than in a classroom setting. I know that we are encouraged to appeal to students affectively, but there is still a certain hierarchy that needs to be in place or else personal interest will become conflated with the interests of grading (we are still vested with a certain institutional authority, whether or not this is a pedagogical approach).

      I share your worry about technology becoming a roadblock instead of an open door in teaching. Just today, I spent almost 30 minutes just trying to reformate the font on a class blog that I am using in my CLCS course. I felt as though I wasted a good part of my day dealing with the complications of technology rather than working on a more thoughtful lesson plan. Despite this setback, I do recognize that with proper training and a familiarization with these tools, it will be possible for me to devote more time toward the content of my lessons rather than administrative tasks. Hopefully, as these approaches become more common and institutionalized, it there will be more opportunities to receive support from colleagues and other educators in their implementation.

      I also found the NYT article, “Don’t Buy that Textbook, Download it Free,” to be especially provocative. I am definitely in support of a greener and more economically viable alternative to textbooks as many students will only use the books during the term and never need them again. Although according to the article, downloading textbooks, only bring down costs to a certain degree, and there still is the problem of publication monopolies and a consumer market that is unable to find competitive prices. I am not sure exactly what as educators we are to do about it; we must use textbooks that have a certain amount of scholastic value and do not simply “appeal to the masses,” as a lot of widely published books do. Online materials are not necessarily peer reviewed, and those which are protected by copyright end up with inflated prices. I am not sure what the answer to this problem might be, but it is something that I would like to examine further in class.

    • chenwenh Says:

      Suzanne, I totally agree with your doubts and share with you the worries and anxiety over this ubiquitous powerful presence of technology. These are all challenges we experience in our scholarly, as well as teaching, careers.

      However, while this horrifying technology is going through revolutions itself, we can also take this as a new opportunity for our own use. As Alex Raid commented that writing in a digital age has lost its property of being isolated and solitary, teaching nowadays–in times of Web 2.0–has also changed. It is not just that teaching should be learner-centered, but another equally important feature of teaching in the age of “the new web”–as new as Don Tapscott defined today’s World Wide Web to be–emerges as one of the advantages we can make use of. That is “Collaboration.” In a time when mass collaboration is possible and happening around the clock, we as teachers can seek help from each other even though we don’t physically meet or know each other. Take Tapscott’s idea: think globally and also act globally. All teachers must be experiencing the same fierce struggle between new technology and old ways of teaching. With the help of technology, we reach out the world, out of the local communities we thought we should belong to, and then different ideas arise beyond our imagination. Isn’t this the way of turning one gigantic monster we are so afraid of into one machine that we can all use and benefit from?
      After all, we all understand very well that World Wide Web has become such a huge community even we, with our technophobia, are already part of it. We don’t want to be the kind of teacher like “Johnny’s Professor,” and we don’t want to ignore the kind of questions like “Why Johnny’s Professor Can’t Read.” Perhaps we, while tagging ourselves as intellectuals, as educators, don’t necessarily follow the train of thought as “the mass” or “the people.” Yet, we also don’t want to exclude ourselves from this global community, and we have the responsibility to prepare our students well for this revolution. Right?

  2. layspan Says:

    According to Don Tapscott’s, “Wikinomics” is “the art and science of harnessing mass collaboration for innovation, for growth, for competition”. In this new model, hierarchies should not exist neither should boundaries. Local problems are solved globally. Success comes when we embrace the change by understanding and using it, and my applying it’s principles. Most importantly, we must admit that “leadership comes from everywhere […] all you have to do is will it”.

    If we take this into consideration, then our role as teachers is to accept that we are not the main characters in the classroom play, but rather, serve as collaborators for our students’ masterpieces. If we see the diagram on “Kinetic connections”, the student, the teacher, the Web and Bloom’s taxonomy occupy the same space: we are connected to each other. This means that we all have an effect on each other. Both the teacher AND the students become the LEARNERS.

    Therefore, the new objectives for a class then should be:

    1. The learners will label, name and design…
    2. The learners will paraphrase, explain and illustrate…
    3. The learners will demonstrate, prepare and solve…
    4. The learners will differentiate, analyze and infer…
    5. The learners will devise, revise and integrate…
    6. The learners will evaluate, critique and compare…

    We are no longer the leaders of the classroom. We must empower the students so they may understand that knowledge is open and we are ALL a part of it. If we do not accept that our new role is as “enablers”, then we will become obsolete. Besides, in Tapscott’s words, changing “will hurt you only if you let it”.

    • christopherlaine Says:

      I really object to all this rhetoric of “revolution.” Why must we rethink ourselves? Because HTML has changed? Because globalization is progressing relatively unimpeded? I want to point out the political bias of both the Tapscott “Wikinomics” and Thomas Friedman’s talk from a couple weeks ago: both assume a business model of competition and profit. Education needs to maintain its sovereignty from what is really a form of hegemony.

      Do we want to give in to the trend that needs flashy images and clickable hypertext in order to sustain attention? Why did the old model—a teacher, a book, a chalkboard and pen and paper—become insufficient? I’m relatively technologically literate, and it worked fine for me. I’ve appreciated the inclusion of technology: PowerPoint (if done right), Ning, etc. But that the existence of such technology necessitates a total rethinking of the whole process seems like a power grab by a pervasive form of administration that stems from the business world. It is ridiculous that to be able simply to sit with a book in one’s lap and not be compelled to maintain permanent connectivity has become an act of resistance.

      I remember professors having a certain aura about them, and I was happy to hear what they had to say and to observe how they think. And I didn’t really want to hear the opinions of the other students who didn’t know anything more than I did. Or rather, it was nice to have discussions about the professor’s lecture, but without the lecture, there wouldn’t have been anything to discuss. We would have a book club, not a class. Form and content cannot be separated: altering the form changes the content. By de-emphasizing content and knowledge, we’re turning students into middlemen who will know how to use technology to present a given subject matter, but who will be free to forget it as soon as the next task arrives on their desk.

      • kemen528 Says:

        The title of this blog, “Educational Trends” says it all, we are discussing something that has become “trendy” in terms of education, which is incorporating technology in the classroom. As Christopher has mentioned, we have to wary of buying into these talks of “revolution” and, as Noam Cohen investigates in his New York Times article, “Don’t buy that textbook, download it for free,” having certain pedagogic tools and materials turn digital.

        However, there is no denying that out of all of this “hype,” I must say that I find the notion of “rethinking ourselves” extremely valuable in terms of our roles as educators, and as such, constant students. What I mean by that statement is that in order to have a successful career as an educator we must recognize that we must always learn new ways to acheive our goals in the classroom. Our teaching philosophies should always be in a state of flux, and our pedagogy must remain fluid in terms of educational trends. This means not “putting all of our eggs in one basket” when it comes to a trend, yet finding a way to make the most of it for the benefit of our students.

        Furthermore, a concept that has been touched upon in our readings, specifically in the podcast “What is Wikinomics,” is this concept of “mass colaboration,” which I think can be attributed to the notion of “rethinking ourselves.” I feel that the majority of educators, much like the companies Don Tapscott speaks of, “hoard” their ideas and hesitate to reveal any problems or breakthroughs in the classroom. It seems to me that we can all benefit from mass colaboration, of our peers and our students working together to really revolutionize education and find a way to incorporate technology with out having it take over education. A good example of this take over is what Barbara mentioned in class where some school districts are in favor of replacing language teachers with rosetta stone and let’s not forget the example that Diego Leal gives us of the students in the Mexican museum using technology incorrectly that perpetuates the old “scribe” teaching method.

        This leads me to my fears about incorporating technology in the classroom, on the one hand relying too much on technology causing a “take over,” and on the other hand incorporating it incorrectly and unknowingly perpetuating antiquated teaching styles and methods, both which sacrifice our students’ creativity.

  3. celeste2010 Says:

    I would like to go back to our talk during our first virtual class about: too much information but not enough development of critical thinking. I think we need to find out what to do with this big amount of information. I think maybe first think what is meaningful for us as educators and also, thinking critically and trying to be objective, what part is meaningful for our class goal that may not be the same as our personal goal. On the other hand, different students may have different interests too! I think Suzanne was saying something about each student using this information in different ways. I agree with her on that. But how do we include those students for whom this content seems to be useless?

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