Bloomin’ Web Tools

Bloom’s Taxonomy. It’s one of those things we know we should think about when planning lessons and activities, but matching it with the right tools and activities can be tough.  In this post, I thought I’d share with you one favorite tool that matches with each level of Bloom’s taxonomy.

Remember
Memorizing isn’t a bad thing – it’s often the first step to higher order thinking.  If you don’t know the vocabulary, you can’t join in the discussion with real meaning.  Quizlet (http://quizlet.com/) is a website that helps students practice and memorize vocabulary by creating flashcards and playing games.  You can create groups of students and share your card sets with them or they can create and share sets with the rest of the class. Want to hear more about Quizlet?  Listen to the podcast created by CHS students last year as they interviewed Anthony VanGessel about his use of Quizlet.

Understand
Summarizing and outlining content to emphasize the important ideas is an effective way to demonstrate understanding.  Glogster (http://www.glogster.com/edu/) allows students to create virtual posters that include video, audio recording, images and text.  The templates are engaging and interactive and allow students to show their creative side while demonstrating content understanding.  Take a look at an example from Cyndy Murphy’s class where students outlined information about the history of atomic research.

Apply
Sticking facts into your brain isn’t that tough, it’s trying to use those facts to make meaning that can be a big challenge.  Why not try a web simulation?  You’ll find lots of them linked at this simulations site from the Kent ICT website.

Analyze
Curiosity is the best tool for expanding learning.  What does this information mean?  What would happen if? Why?  All these are good starters to an analysis exercise.  If you think analysis is just for the math department, think again. Wordle (http://www.wordle.net) allows you to visually analyze the contents of a body of text to see trends.  Take a look at a Wordle of Obama’s speech to see an example.  Tom Woodward also gives some interesting ideas for using wordle in his blog post looking at poetry through wordle. No matter what subject you teach, analyzing texts with Wordle can help students look at trends and commonalities visually.  Want to explore even more analysis tools?  Check out Many Eyes while you’re at it.

Evaluate

Want to make judgments about the validity of an argument based on the facts or judge a product based on established criteria? That’s what evaluating is all about.  One way to do that is by commenting on the work of others and a great tool to do this is VoiceThread (http://voicethread.com) where your class can create an online slideshow of images, video, and text and then comment on the work collected there.  Mary Anne Staples did just that with her art classes last year where students picked one of their favorite selections and uploaded it to a group gallery. They discussed what elements of art were displayed in their piece and asked questions for their fellow classmates to answer and comment on.

Create
Finally, the greatest thing that students can do is create new knowledge from scratch.  Rather than rehashing knowledge that’s already been recorded, having students create something that is entirely unique is the best learning of all.  What does this look like?  It could look like a podcast similar to the ones on our own website at http://pensacolachs.org/podcasts or it could be a video like the one created by students in Computer Applications last year.  See an example of their work on Digital Citizenship videos below:

CyberBullying PSA

I want to challenge you to think about your own technology projects and tools.  Post a link or an description here along with an explanation of where it fits in the Bloom’s continuum.  I look forward to seeing your examples!

7 thoughts on “Bloomin’ Web Tools

  1. Excellent way of showing how web tools can help out along all the stages. Some hold the view that ICT is only to be used for the advanced types of learning, but I appreciate your first point very much: the importance of memorizing. Some think that is not important any more, but it is (your point about the vocabulary). This means that a teacher with very few ICT skills, and who are not very Web 2.0 savvy, can use technology in the classroom with some good effect, and then progress to a fuller use.

  2. This is a very nice, well thought out post. I am to work with a group of high school students that are interested in becoming teachers. This challenge may be just the project I am looking for to get them thinking. Thanks Milobo.

  3. Thanks for the excellent post – I am going to share it with my department, we are always looking at ways to incorporate Blooms into our lessons

  4. @kobus It’s my hope that teachers use any and every tool at their disposal to make learning more engaging. Whenever I work with teachers to brainstorm and plan projects, my first question to them is “What is your intended outcome?” What I’m looking for is a clear understanding of what they want students to gain from the activity. Once I know what they see as the goal, I can help them determine where their outcome falls in terms of Bloom’s and then what tool would best be suited. Sometimes their goal for an activity truly is to have students build a base of knowledge and to me, that’s ok.

    Oftentimes, this leads to a discussion of how we can re-engineer a unit to include higher orders of thinking, which is the ultimate goal. We need to provide learners with a balance of every level of learning, from mastering the basics to creating new content in order to help them become true masters of any content. My ultimate goal is to have teachers build units of instruction that progressively build understanding from the lowest to the highest level. If we begin students at the creation stage without providing them with a foundation, they often don’t make the connections we’re looking for. If we provide them with the foundation without allowing them opportunities to apply that knowledge, then we’ve cheated them out of true mastery. It’s all about scaffolding for success at all levels for both the teacher and the students.

  5. Great post! I am a college sophomore with a dual major in Physics and Mathematics @ University of California, Santa Barbara. By the way, i came across these excellent education flashcards. Its also a great initiative by the FunnelBrain team. Amazing!!!