Monday, April 28, 2008

Bloom's Taxonomy Narrative

I got this from my MT Cadre workshop. I think it explains the environment we have been working to create for the last two years in TILT.

Compare the old Bloom's to the new Bloom's.

A dynamic learning environment

Bloom’s Taxonomy and the World Wide Web are two pieces of a puzzle that forms a dynamic learning environment. With them in place, the remaining two pieces, the teacher and the student, will be changed. If the teacher creates a constructivist or inquiry-based classroom environment, then both teacher and student must behave differently to take advantage of the learning opportunity it affords.
The student

In an inquiry-based classroom, students are not relegated to the traditional desks in straight rows. Students are not empty vessels waiting to be filled. They assume an active role in which they must locate, evaluate, organize, synthesize, and present information, transforming it into knowledge in the process. (Note the distinction here from Bloom’s definition of knowledge — see below.) Students work collaboratively with classmates to explore a problem. This makes it possible for each student to come to his or her own understanding of a particular topic as he or she constructs knowledge. This environment is focused on the learning and is more student-centered than the traditional classroom.
The teacher

If the classroom has become more student-centered, then what does this mean for the teacher? Is he or she no longer necessary? Of course not. In fact, the teacher’s role is just as important as it has always been — if not more so. With a knowledge of learning styles and of Bloom’s Taxonomy coupled with access to the wealth of resources provided by the World Wide Web, the teacher works alongside the students. Teachers scaffold learning so that students can assume a more active role in their own learning. This means that lessons are in fact more carefully constructed to guide students through the exploration of content. Teachers’ instructional arsenal contains a greater variety of instructional techniques and knowledge of instructional design. Their role has evolved from the limited didactic form of lecturing once held as the standard view of an effective teacher.

Attention to Bloom’s Taxonomy does not mean that every class period must be optimally designed to place students in inquiry-based roles. Teaching requires that we constantly assess where students are and how best to address their needs. This may mean that on certain occasions it is necessary to lecture. In the long run, it means that the teacher balances methods of instruction by providing opportunities for the students to take some ownership of their learning. It means that it is more likely that various learning styles will be addressed. And it means that we may not hear the dreaded question Why do I need to know this? so often
Final thoughts: A Bloom by any other name

Benjamin Bloom did his work long before the advent of the "Information Age," and some of his terms conflict with the way we often talk about the Internet. It has become common to say that what students find on the Web is only information, and that they have to construct knowledge from that information on their own. If Bloom were devising his taxonomy today, he might call the first level Information instead of Knowledge.

Perhaps the point to remember is that it doesn’t much matter what you call it, as long as you teach it. Bloom’s Taxonomy is a convenient means of talking about higher-level thinking, but other taxonomies could be (and have been) designed with different names for more or fewer levels. If your students are analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating, they’ll be able to decide for themselves what to call their ideas!

(excerpts from

Thanks Daren for sharing!