12 Taxonomies, Templates & Acronyms for Educational Innovators

I recently gave a keynote presentation for a workshop that was devoted to providing educational leaders with a chance to consider various models for 1:1 school environments.  As part of my talk, I suggested that a critical part of any such endeavor is to get increasingly grounded in some theories, models, and/or frameworks that inform the school’s conversations and decisions about teaching and learning.  As such, I suggested the following 12 taxonomies, templates, and acronyms as some useful “thinking” tools/technologies that play an important role in imagining or re-imagining learning in a 1:1 environment, whether it be a BYOD school, laptops, Chromebooks, iPads, Android tablets, or something else.

  1. Bloom’s Taxonomy (remember, understanding, apply, analyze, evaluate, create) – – This one has been around for a long time, but it continues to help educators think about how to guide learners toward increasingly complex ways of thinking and functioning.  For a fresh way of thinking about Bloom’s Taxonomy, you might also want to check out the ways that it is visually represented here.

  2. The Alternatives to Bloom’s Taxonomy – Of course, Bloom’s taxonomy is not the only taxonomy of this sort.  There are alternatives and this link provides a few of them.

  3. The Pedagogy Wheel – This visual attempts to describe how different apps relate to various levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.  I share it because I think it is useful to know, but I also have concerns about it.  This visual can be easily misused if the viewer/user mistakenly thinks that using a particular app automatically results in one functioning at a given level.  The fact is that you can design learning activities with a pencil that are at the remembering level of Bloom’s Taxonomy, and then you could design a very different learning activities with the same technology where learners are working at the evaluation or creation levels.  Some apps may be designed in such a way that they lend themselves toward functioning at a particular level in Bloom’s Taxonomy, but it is really the way that it is used and the learning experience design that determines this.

  4. The SAMR Model (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition) – This is a powerful tool for thinking about technology integration and how different integrations impact the learning environment.

  5. TPACK (Technology – Pedagogy – Content) – This and SAMR are probably the two most frequently referenced models for thinking about technology integration in education. Both have value and help people to think more deeply about the way in which a given technology integration will or will not impact student learning, student engagement, or increased access and opportunity. TPACK is especially helpful in thinking about the interrelated nature of technologies, teaching strategies, and a given body of knowledge/content.

  6. SCAMPER (Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, Reverse) – This is a powerful and popular tool for helping to add some creativity to most any endeavor.  As an educator, I find it to be a great way to add interest, creativity, and a fresh perspective to designing learning experiences.  Similarly, I find it to be a powerful tool as a leader, administrator, and educational innovator.

  7. KIARCH from InGenius by Tina Seelig (Knowledge, Imagination, Attitude, Resources, Habitat, Culture) – I recently finished Seeig’s book on creativity, it I highly  recommend it.  She fills with pages with helpful insights and tips for conjuring a bit of creativity. KIARCH represents to six aspects of what she calls your “innovation engine.”  The first three are the inner parts of the engine, and the last three relate to those influences that are external to you.

  8. 4 PIllars of Innovation Applied to Schools (People, Culture & Climate, Structures & Processes, Leadership) – The article that I linked to here provides a wonderful and refreshing way of using the 4 Pillars of Innovation within a learning organization.

  9. Buck Institute Template for Project-based Learning (Driving Question, Culminating Product/Performance, Entry Event, Formative & Summative Assessments, Resources, Refleciton Methods, PTL Guide, & Calendar) – If you want to promote deep and engaging learning, then PBL is a great option.  It may not be ideal for every learning goal, learning or context; but it certainly has a powerful role to play within many learning organizations.  Toward that end, I continue to find the resources at the Buck Institue web site to be among the most helpful, especially the lesson/unit plan template for PBL.  They even include a worked example or two.

  10. 5 Skills of Disruptive Innovation – (Questioning, Observing, Networking, Experimenting, Associating) -Clayton Christiansen and his colleagues describe five skills that are consistently present in leaders of the most innovative organizations.  While the book does not focus upon learning organizations (some of his other books do, like Disrupting Class and The Innovative University), I continue to find challenging and inspiration applications from this book to leadership in learning organizations.

  11. Positive Education – PERMA (positive emotion, engagement, positive relationships, meaning, accomplishment) – Martin Seligman’s work on this subject has been an inspiration to me, and I continue to see many important applications in learning organizations, as do the many others who use the PERMA model as a part of the positive education movement.

  12. 7 Survival Skills – (Critical Thinking & Problem Solving, Collaboration Across Networks & Leading by Influence, Agility & Adaptability, Agility & Entrepreneurialism, Effective Oral & Written Communication, Accessing & Analyzing Information, Curiosity & Imagination).  Taken from Wagner’s Bridging the Global Achievement Gap, this represents what Wagner proposes as important skills for life and learning in the contemporary world, and it serves as a useful guide for educators and leaders of learning organizations that want to make sure that they are indeed preparing people for a present and future world rather than unknowingly preparing them for a world that no longer exists.

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About Bernard Bull

Dr. Bernard Bull is an author, professor of education, Vice Provost of Curriculum and Academic Innovation, podcast host, and blogger. Some of his books include Missional Moonshots: Insights and Inspiration for Educational Innovation, What Really Matters: Ten Critical Issues in Contemporary Education, The Pedagogy of Faith (editor), Adventures in Self-Directed Learning, and Digitized: Spiritual Implications of Technology. He is passionate about futures in education; educational innovation; and social entrepreneurship.