Sunday, March 1, 2009

Where to Begin with Blooms Taxonomy

Click on the Wordles for a link to our class wiki page on Blooms Taxonomy.

It was once thought that students needed to have a strong foundation in Bloom's lower levels of thinking before they could analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the information at the higher levels.

I recently read an article "Measuring Skills for the 21st Century" from that explained how complex thinking and analytical skills are a part of learning at every stage of development. Where we once thought that learning had to be a linear process from lower to higher levels has now been proven otherwise. The idea from Bloom's Taxonmy, "You can't apply until you comprehend, or you must understand before you analyze" has been revised by a group who has studied these ideas and discovered that these processes can be learned simultaneously or in a different order. In order to create a solid foundation in each subject area, knowledge and thinking must be interwoven. For a student to be able to think analytically would make it easier to obtain even the most basic skills.

The article mentions a nonprofit group Core Knowledge Foundation and how their ideas, "support the point that learning factual knowledge and the ability to apply, analyze, and solve problems go hand-in-hand।" The question important is it to spend valuable class time memorizing information that is readily available on the Internet? The message that is being conveyed is that we should be spending our time wisely and teaching the students to be thinkers, researchers, decision-makers, etc. and they will have the "know how" to be problem-solvers with any level of information that is given.

This is a site that I ran across that ties in technology with Bloom's Taxonomy. It is pretty interesting so check it out. Digital Bloom's Taxonomy


  1. That's an interesting and very 21st century problem - children have access to internet search engines from an early age and it's a good question how much sense it makes to still rely on memorization when it's all out there to be searched when needed?

    The same is probably true for us adults, but the in-between generation who started with book learning in the late 1970s and now migrates to an online learning experience as middle-aged adults still has both skills.

    But children now will never experience full-on "analog" book learning. It makes not much sense to pretend that Google doesn't exist, so this new generation will grow up with all the world's knowledge a simple search term on their cell phones away.

    Now what this means for the comprehend-apply chain is problematic. You can already see this in video games where even complex tasks (like flying an airplane) are presented as a series of experiments that ramp up the experience level until the player comprehends. Arguably, application comes first (grab the controls and go!) and comprehension comes second.

    For online learning tools this probably means that they should NOT pretend to be just an advanced version of a book, but they will have to be modeled along the lines of what kind of learning experience children have in video games.

  2. Thomas,

    Thanks so much for your comment on my blog that was in response to my reflection on Blooms Taxonomy. You made so many great points that I am going to share with some of my colleagues.

    I am part of that "in-between" generation of text books and technology, and I have had to really stretch myself to change from traditional style of teaching to 21st century. Now that I am not using outdated texts books in my classroom, I have seen how I can still teach the same skills and make it more relevant as I integrate other subject areas and current world events.

    I love how you used the analogy of video gaming to compare to learning in the classroom. It really supports the main points of the article on Blooms Taxonomy.

    In response to tech tools being an advanced version of a book is not how I necessarily view it. I teach grammar in the context of writing so the students are always having to think at a higher level when applying the skills. The tech tools are great for practice, reinforcement, and meeting different learning styles. The technology tools are also great for allowing the students to be creative and inventive as specific skills are being applied. I feel that there are so many limitations with textbooks, and now the Internet and tech tools have allowed students to make global connections where it gives more meaning and purpose to the work that they are doing.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your views!!