I participated in a lively Twitter chat earlier this week where Bloom’s Taxonomy and more current Digital Taxonomies were the topic of discussion. Digital taxonomies are simply visuals of Bloom’s Taxonomy that try to label different technologies as connected to a particular part of Bloom’s Taxonomy. I already wrote about the problems I see with digital taxonomies, but I want to further illustrate my point with a simple example/question.
Where does typing a word fit on Bloom’s Taxonomy? For easy reference, I’ve included a visual of Bloom’s in this post. My answer is that it might be any part of Bloom’s Taxonomy, depending upon what is happening inside the mind of the person typing it.
Remembering – A student heard a word the other day and was trying to recall it. She suddenly remembered it and typed it in Google Docs, on Twitter, in a Facebook post, in a very short (as in one word) blog post, or in a text chat amid a Google Hangout. Note that she might have typed the word in any number of technologies, but it was still just remembering.
Understand/Comprehend – A student is on a field trip at the art museum and decided to type one-word explanations of what she saw in each exhibit. She classified what she saw based upon knowledge she recently gained about different art periods. Again, regardless of where she types it, this is understanding.
Applying – The student is in a room full of art from different periods. After classifying the art by period, she devises a plan to organize the art by period in different parts of the room.
Analysis – A student learned about interior decorating and then toured an art museum with the charge of decorating an imaginary house with art. The student used her knowledge of decorating to write down the word of the room in which she thought a given piece of art might best fit.
Evaluation – A student recorded one-word critiques of art based upon her acquired knowledge in aesthetics, art history and other relevant disciplines.
Creation – A student designed unique, one-word statements to represent significant ideas or collections of ideas that are important to a given community.
You could argue that some of the activities I described might be better associated with a different part of Bloom’s Taxonomy. However, it is difficult to argue that the same activity, typing a single word (whether it be on Twitter, a blog, a Google Doc, or a traditional word processor) can only be described as functioning at one part of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Context matters and so does the thought process and nature of the cognitive activity.
This is why I struggle with the digital Bloom’s taxonomies. They essentially encourage teachers to function at the lower levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Designing technology-integrated learning experiences is a higher level cognitive function, not a simple menu selection of technologies that were sometimes seemingly arbitrarily placed in a certain part of Bloom’s Taxonomy.