Friday, January 30, 2009

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy

Most educators have heard of Bloom’s Taxonomy and how he proposed that learning fit into one of three psychological domains – cognitive, affective and psychomotor.
Bloom’s Taxonomy moves from lower order thinking skills to high order thinking skills. The original taxonomy categories were:

  • Knowledge
  • Comprehension
  • Application
  • Analysis
  • Synthesis
  • Evaluation

Then in 2001 a revised taxonomy was developed by Lorin Anderson and D Krathwohl which listed the categories as:

  • Remembering
  • Understanding
  • Applying
  • Analyzing
  • Evaluating
  • Creating

Recently I found an article about Bloom’s Taxonomy in the digital world from an educator named Andrew Churches. Briefly outlined, this is how Andrew sees teachers using technology with the revised taxonomy in the digital world.

  • Remembering – retrieval of information
  • Digital World – bulleting to mark key words, bookmark websites, social bookmarking or Googling

  • Understanding – interpreting, summarizing, paraphrasing, comparing
  • Digital World – refining basic searches, Blog journaling, Twittering, categorizing, commenting / annotating files

  • Applying – implementing using information and executing tasks
  • Digital World – initiating a program, operating / manipulating hardware and applications, gaming technology, uploading and sharing of materials on sites such as Flickr, editing Twitters or blog journals

  • Analyzing – comparing, organizing, structuring and integrating
  • Digital World – mash ups (several data sources melded into single usable information), links within documents and webpages, validating information found on the web, making judgments about found information, tagging, meta-tagging

  • Evaluating – hypothesizing, critiquing, experimenting, judging, testing and monitoring
  • Digital World – blog commenting and reflecting, posting threaded discussions, moderating blogs, effective collaboration that involves evaluating the strengths and abilities of participants, evaluating the contributions other make, testing is a key component: analyze the purpose of a tool or process, analyze and evaluate data sources and make judgments

  • Creating – designing, constructing, planning, producing, inventing, devising and making
  • Digital World – Programming, filming, animating, videocasting, podcasting, mixing and remixing to create unique products, directing and producing, publishing, video blogging and building, compiling mash ups and at the highest level creating a program application or developing a game

This is an excellent article to assist teachers as they implement these digital tools into their curriculums. Included in Andrew Churches’ article are more detailed examples for each category and scoring rubrics.

Check out these links:
Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy -
Bloom’s Taxonomy and the Digital World -
Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy (PDF)

10 Ways to Boost Learning

In my last blog I wrote about the seven skills that students desperately need by the time they graduate from high school. I also wrote about employers who need employees who can think and be able to see a problem and come up with a way to fix that problem. We as educators need to teach 21st century skills to students finding ways to assess those skills through performance measures. We need to find ways to teach today’s multi-tasking students who need visual stimulation and constant contact with their friends. But knowing that we need to be reaching out to our students in a more creative, productive way using technology is not enough. How do teachers and schools do this?

I’ll start by listing those seven survival skills again:
1. Problem-solving and critical thinking
2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
3. Agility and adaptability
4. Initiative and entrepreneurship
5. Effective written and oral communication
6. Accessing and analyzing information
7. Curiosity and imagination

As I thought about those survival skills I began to think about what part of those skills some students may already possess and how we could build from what students already know. Let’s see, problem-solving – OK if you can’t set up your new cell phone and are tired of reading the manual just give it to one of your students. They will set up your cell phone in 10 minutes flat. How’d they do that? They are not afraid of technology, they are not afraid of trying different things and they will sit and work on something until they figure it out. Problem-solving, simple right? Yea, right. It was easy for them. So students do possess some problem-solving skills. How can we build on that tenacity to help students refine and expand their problem-solving skills?

Collaborating across networks – do students collaborate? You bet, everyday. They work together building Facebook and My Space sites, they form bonds of friendship from texting their many friends everyday and join forces as a team for many of their video games. I continue to read about companies that are using video games for educational purposes. Can we as educators build on the collaborative skills our students already possess? Sure we can.

I don’t need to go through the rest of the list because by now you’re thinking about the students you work with everyday and seeing the skills they already possess. This led me to an article that outlined 10 ways to boost learning with technology. No one would disagree that we have a crisis in education today. In spite of the resources and money used for education students continue to fall behind students in other countries.

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) came up with an action plan with ten recommendations for national, state and local education leaders:
  1. Ensure that technology tools and resources are used continuously and seamlessly for instruction, collaboration, and assessment.
  2. Expose all students (pre-K through 12th grade) to STEM fields and careers - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
  3. Make ongoing, sustainable professional development available to all teachers.
  4. Use virtual learning opportunities for teachers to further their professional development, such as through online communities and education portals.
  5. Incorporate innovative, consistent, and timely assessments into daily instruction.
  6. Strengthen the home-school connection by using technology to communicate with parents on student progress.
  7. Provide the necessary resources so that every community has the infrastructure to support learning with technology, including assessments and virtual learning.
  8. Obtain societal support for education that uses technology from all stakeholders – students, parents, teachers, state and district administrators, business leaders, legislators, and local community members.
  9. Provide federal leadership to support states and districts regarding technology’s role in school reform by passing the ATTAIN Act, the Achievement Through Technology and Innovation Act.
  10. Increase available funding for the e-Rate so that schools can acquire telecommunication services, internet access, internal connections, and maintenance of those connections.
This is a comprehensive list that covers what all school systems, communities and districts should be doing. As I think about what our school system is doing in technology I know we are ahead of other school systems in the state with our use of technology. How does your school compare to other schools in the district where you live? Across your state? Can we do more with the technology resources we currently have? I think so and it’s up to all of us to learn new technology skills and strive to teach the content while reaching out to our students in a more creative, productive way using technology and helping all students gain 21st century skills.

Seven Skills Students Desperately Need

Recently eSchoolNews had an article by Tony Wagner about the seven skills that students desperately need to acquire before graduating high school. Several groups have been offering advice as to how federal policy makers and state and local education leaders can transform education and help students obtain 21st century skills through technology.

One misconception is the fact that a lot of people think the skills that students need for the workforce and the skills needed to be good citizens are two separate things, but they’re not. Students who become successful in the global workforce will also be successful people at life. Employers want people who can ask good questions and people who can engage others in thoughtful conversations.

Employers know that technology changes so fast that they are not concerned if their employees know the latest version of software when hired, they want employees who know how to think. Teaching to the test is not helping the future workforce achieve success in the job market. The future workforce needs to be able to see a problem and come up with a way to fix the problem and not wait for the employer to tell them how to fix a problem. If students are not taught how to think beyond multiple choice answers and to find solutions to problems then the future employees for America will not be able to compete with the global market.

Many teachers who feel pressured to cover a lot of material to teach to the tests are not allowing students the time needed to search and work through problems, finding the answers on their own. The pressure is to cover “x” amount of material in so many days and prepare the students to take a standardized test. Many students today who graduate high school don’t have the skills to make it in college or the workforce.

The article states that education needs to move from content standards to performance standards and that education stakeholders need to think of ways to start assessing 21st-century skills. I think teachers need to teach the content and allow students to show what they have learned through performance standards. We need to design assessments that measure the performance and 21st century skills of the students. Many students who are bright are being turned off from AP classes and other accelerated programs because of all the testing. Students should be encouraged to study subjects they love but many times the subjects they love require too much testing which turns them away from the more challenging courses.

Today’s students are multi-taskers, who like visually stimulating websites, who want to be in constant contact with their friends who also use Web 2.0 tools and they enjoy working in collaboration with their peers. What we as educators need to do is find a way to motivate them to learn using Web 2.0 tools and the technology already provided by the school or through the technology the students use every day. Just going to the computer lab to type up a paper is not using technology. We need to teach our content while reaching out to our students in a more creative, productive way using the technology the students are using.

Here are the seven survival skills that students need by the time they graduate from high school:
1. Problem-solving and critical thinking
2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
3. Agility and adaptability
4. Initiative and entrepreneurship
5. Effective written and oral communication
6. Accessing and analyzing information
7. Curiosity and imagination

I agree with Tom Wagner’s quote from the article –
“We are making [Adequate Yearly Progress] at the expense of failing our kids at life. Something has to change.”

Website to access the complete article –

What is the River City Project?

River City is an interactive computer simulation for middle grades science students to assist them in learning scientific inquiry and 21st century skills. River City looks like a videogame but the content for the game was developed from the National Science Education Standards and the National Educational Technology Standards. River City is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Basically River City is a MUVE (Multi-User Virtual Environment) that enables many students to access the virtual worlds simultaneously, communicate with other students through instant messaging and to interact with digital artifacts.

This is a view of the four areas of the interface for the students taken from the River City website:

Students travel back in time to address 19th century problems that are based on historical, sociological and geographical conditions in a town called River City. The city’s citizens are falling ill and the students must work together to help the town understand why the citizens are becoming ill. Students work in small research teams to look for causes of the illnesses, form and test hypotheses, develop controlled experiments to test their hypotheses, and then make recommendations based on the data they collect. This is all done in an online environment.

The River City Project is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation which provides access to the simulation, provides the curricular materials, professional development and assistance free of charge to the schools. The River City Project mainly works with middle grades science teachers but they have also worked with social studies, math and language arts teachers.

River City is a 17-hour curriculum that students will begin by taking a pretest and a research conference at the end of the unit. The curriculum is designed to replace existing science lessons. The curriculum is interdisciplinary covering ecology, health, biology, chemistry, earth science and history. Students will explore three diseases and learn how the diseases are spread and how the human interactions will the diseases affect the people and city. Students are given situations to identify problems, investigate the problem, and determine the multiple underlying causes for the diseases. Screen shot from River City.

How do teachers determine if River City is right for their students? Check out the section on “Is River City Right for You?”

Also several videos have been created to help teachers better understand River City. The videos may be viewed in Quicktime or Realplayer. Here is the link to the River City videos:

Images for this blog were found at:

Desktop Widgets

A couple weeks ago I posted a blog about Kettering University and two items the instructors used with their students were of interest to me – Widgets and River City. I was not familiar with desktop widgets so I decided to learn more about desktop Widgets and share the information in this blog.

A desktop Widget is a stand-alone, task-oriented application with a web browser running the applications. The purpose of the desktop Widget is to provide services to the user with the user choosing what to place in the Widget.

There are quite a few Widgets to choose from:
There are other types of widgets which can be easily found by searching on the Internet but which Widget is right for you? Basically Widgets are small bundles of software that let users choose graphics and information that sits on the desktop of the computer or a mobile phone. The more you search on the internet the more Widget sites you will find.

I downloaded the Yahoo Widgets and added a few widgets. I chose iTunes Remote, Nu Jongg and Calvin & Hobbs Fetcher. When I selected the iTunes Remote icon it opened iTunes on my computer and the Mini Player appeared because the last setting I had for iTunes was the Mini Player. Without the Mini Player previously selected iTunes Remote will open the iTunes program on your computer. From the main iTunes program you can select a particular CD or make certain settings and then minimize the iTunes program and use the iTunes Remote icon. The iTunes Remote icon is on the left and the Mini Player icon is on the right. The main difference between the two is the ability to open the program from the Mini Player to choose CDs and/or settings which cannot be done with the iTunes Remote.

The Yahoo Widget can sit on the desktop with all icons showing or collapsed down to one Widget and there is an option to hide the Widget. When the Widget is hidden one can easily scroll over the edge of the hidden Widget and it will appear again to easily select an item. Once an item is selected the Widget will again be hidden. I find that to be a nice feature. That way the Widget isn’t covering up any other icons on the desktop screen. Another feature I found nice was the ability to shade the desktop for better viewing of a particular Widget.

Collapsed Widget with one icon showing

Partial view of the opened Widget

I know that I have only scratched the surface for all the uses and capabilities of Widgets so to help in your research of widgets I have hyperlinked the Widgets listed above.


Coming Soon – The Smart Table Interactive Learning Center

The table is designed for students pre-school thru sixth grade. Students can create, explore and have collaborative hands-on activities. The table is a multiuser, multitouch table that enables small group learning and collaboration. Students can move from whole class interactive activities on the whiteboard to small group activities at the table. Up to six students can touch the screen at the same time and the activities are designed to encourage collaboration. Students can select or move objects, draw and/or write on the screen simultaneously. The SMART Table uses Digital Vision Touch technology which enables the multiuser and multitouch capabilities.

Teachers can choose from a wide-variety of ready-made lesson activities or they can customize the activities to suit their lessons. Educators who are interested in developing multimedia content for the SMART Table can become a non-commercial member with free access to SMART development tools to create content for the SMART Board products. Free Membership

The table contains a customized PC and projection system that is turned on with a single button. There is a built in 27” screen that can read simultaneous input from an unlimited number of fingers or pen tools. The table measures 29” wide and 25” high and comes with a standard set of interactive learning applications, interactive lesson activities and educational games. The table will also support the SMART Notebook software through the SMART Table toolkit that runs on the teacher’s computer. Through the toolkit teachers can create and/or customize lesson activities and then load the content to the table using a USB key.

Some of the features:

  • Audio Support
  • Object scaling support and object rotation support
  • Wide range of images and backgrounds to make activities more engaging
  • Precise touch control
  • No calibration – ready to use out of the box
SMART Table video on TeacherTube
The table will be available in spring 2009 (sometime January – March). The table cost $8,000 and will be available to order in December 2008. To learn more about the SMART Table go to the SMART website – SMART Table.

Kettering Professional Cooperative Education Program

Kettering University provides an education for Generation M – the multi-tasker, media, multi-modal, multi-nodal student. Kettering offers a co-op academic program for grades 8th - 11th, thirteen science, business and engineering majors and a graduate program. The programs offer a range of opportunities for students interested in going into a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math field. To apply student must have completed Algebra I and II, Geometry, one semester of Trigonometry, two lab sciences (one must be Physics or Chemistry), three years of English, and Calculus or Pre-Calculus. AP and IB coursework are also accepted.

Students must complete a core curriculum consisting of history, social science, English and literature. All courses require students to practice their written and oral communication skills. Students must take their core courses throughout each year helping to expand the student’s cognitive abilities and experiences. Students will learn about communication, ethics, leadership and social organization through their work experience. The final core course entitled Senior Seminar: Leadership, Ethics and Contemporary Issues engage students to discuss the core issues of leadership and ethics while drawing from their academic and work experience.

Because students need variety in their education many tools are used in the courses:
  • Simulations
  • Social Bookmarking (Delicious)
  • National Geographic
  • YouTube
  • (medical simulations)
  • Education Arcade
  • Immune Attack (for Biology)
  • Widgets
  • River City

There are three main goals for the Cooperative Education Program

  • To develop a strong and positive correlation between a student's academic program at the school and the educational experience with his or her employer;
  • To provide educational experiences that orient and integrate the student into a productive professional role at the employer organization; and
  • To develop positive work-related habits and characteristics in a student.

Students may take courses through Distance Learning opportunities or at one of 130 Learning Centers in North America, Europe and Asia. Students have contact with their professors through telephone, voice-mail, e-mail, fax, Internet bulletin boards and chat rooms. All instructors have office hours.

Kettering University serves as a liaison between the employer, the student and the University. Kettering will identify student candidates, suggest students for co-op positions and facilitate the interview arrangements between the student and the employer. Kettering University also works with the employers concerning appropriate co-op wages and benefits for the students and counsels the students on career goals helping to match the student’s skills with the employer’s needs. Kettering University continues to work with the student and the employer to develop work plans for the student upon graduation so when a student graduates he/she already has a job that they are trained to do.

During the senior year students do a Senior Thesis Project where two co-op work terms are dedicated to completing a major project for the employer. The student and the employer identify a company-oriented problem and the Kettering faculty advisor approved the project. The student may focus the project on a product or a system of the company. When the thesis project is completed the report is evaluated by the employer and the Kettering faculty advisor. Once the thesis is approved, it is bound and sent to the employer. The student has an integrative experience that combines the University curriculum and work experience into a real world professional project for the employer. Upon graduation the employer has a well-trained, dedicated employee with the knowledge to complete the project for the employer.

Kettering University has been ranked one of the top five colleges for Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) and continues to be ranked in the Top Twenty in the nation according to the 2009 edition of "America's Best Colleges Guide” as one of America’s premier technological colleges. Many Kettering graduates are admitted into top graduate schools such as Harvard, MIT and Stanford.

For students interested in working in a specific career area while attending college there are many co-op programs available throughout the United States. To learn more about Kettering University go to the Kettering University website: Project

What if you could learn anything, anytime and anywhere? How about being provided information tailored to your interest and needs? What would be the business potential of context-sensitive information being provided to the consumer?

Many people recognize the personal and social benefits of lifelong learning but because of family commitments and lack of time very few people pursue lifelong learning. The Ambient-Learning Project looked at those obstacles to lifelong learning and decided their main objective would be to provide easy-to-use eLearning services providing people anytime, anywhere access that was personalized with high quality learning content. In order to validate the marketability of the Ambient Learning service four European regions were chosen – Italy, Germany, Greece and the UK.

Here is a basic outline of the project taken from the Ambient-Learning Project:
Users created a profile and chose areas of interests centered on their work or areas of interests. Any information available that pertained to those interests was made available to the user. Here’s an example – the user is in their office reading a document but doesn’t have time to finish, the user can request an audio version of that document. The user can then access the audio version of that document through a Smartphone, MP3-compatible device or mobile phone and continue the document as they are driving or moving about. Upon returning to the office the user will again access the document online and can now add notes to the document.

This is just a basic overview of the project and the possibilities for eLearning and lifelong learning for adults. At the end of the project users were given a questionnaire and one of the responses was: “E-Learning is the wrong term to sell the system . . . Personalized Management Information System is better.”

As the content and delivery of education changes I found myself thinking about all the possibilities and ways students will be learning in the future. Personalized Education for all students, all interests and all needs – provided anytime, anywhere, in written, visual and audio formats - is this possible? As I do an online search for 21st Century Learning, technology in education, eSchool News online, George Lucas Educational Foundation (Edutopia) or E-Learning for kids and many other sites I find some of the possibilities for how students are learning now and will be learning in the future. I think it’s an exciting time in technology and education and I’m glad to be a part of this future for all students and education.

To read more about the Ambient-Learning Project to see how the future of information can be tailored and personalized check out their site:

Wisconsin eSchool Network

“Just in Time” Professional Development Model

During the Virtual School Symposium in Phoenix, Arizona Wisconsin eSchool Network provided a session on designing professional development that provided learning opportunities that would engage an educator’s creative and reflective capacities in ways that would strengthen their teaching practice by changing the way teachers think and teach.

Some of the tools mentioned for collaboration were Elluminate Live!, Basecamp, and Google Docs.

  • Elluminate Live! allows a user to have conversations over the Internet that supports a multiple platforms and low-bandwidth connectivity providing real-time online interaction and collaboration.
  • Basecamp is a client project management tool that keeps information centralized from an easy accessible location for everyone involved in a particular project.
  • Google Docs is a free, web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentations and form application offered by Google. Users can create and edit document online while collaborating in real-time with other users. Documents can be shared, opened and edited by multiple users at the same time.

One of the tools for authoring mentioned was Lectora.

  • Lectora – authoring software available for creating and delivering interactive multimedia content such as web-based courses.

The Wisconsin eSchool Network provides online, face-2-face and hybrid workshops with interactivity that are lightly facilitated, independent study opportunities for teacher. The Just in Time model was designed by Wisconsin to further meet the needs of staff development to prepare teachers to teach online courses.