Monday, 15 February 2010

Blooms taxonomy for a digital world, including mobile learning

Andrew Churches is curriculum manager of computer studies and teaching and Learning technologies at the Kristin school in Albany Auckland, New Zeeland. His educational wiki, called educational origami, was voted as the best wiki in 2008 and in 2009 he was again nominated for best educational wiki.

What makes his wiki so interesting is that it focuses on the core of TELearning, the learning itself. He does this in a variety of ways, but what caught my eye (Thanks to the formidable Wilfred Rubens), was how he uses and interprets Blooms taxonomy for this digital age.

Bloom’s taxonomy was not revised by Andrew, but by Lorin Anderson and David Krathwohl, who published their findings in 2001. The key change in Anderson's and Kathwohl's approach was that they added verbs rather than nouns for each of Bloom’s categories, and that they pushed creating to the top of the thinking skills. So where does Andrew’s wiki come in? Well, the way Andrew makes Bloom’s revised taxonomy relevant is amazing.

In just 75 pages Andrew succeeded in giving me a deeper understanding of everything I collaboratively set up with learners and link it to Bloom’s learning framework. In just a couple of hours time (= reading through the pdf) I could pinpoint mobile learning inside Bloom’s framework and I could see where some defaults were located within some of the mobile cases I have co-developed. Admittedly the ideas that popped-up should be investigated, but it gave me an extra insight to work with.
For example: as mobile learning is on the rise, more voices add to the idea that mLearning has been focusing too much on the technology and not enough on the learning process (at least if you sift through the papers). If I go through the six levels of the revised taxonomy of Bloom, I can see that throughout some of the mobile projects I did not include any or too few tools to give learners access or building blocks to get access to all levels. In the mLearning projects I have had the pleasure to co-design, I did include ‘remembering’ tools (mgoogle, but no tool to enable – or give attention to – mobile bookmarks like e.g. mobile delicious. On the ‘understanding’ level, I feel a bit more comfortable as we did include personal commenting, mobile Facebook… and other tools that could lead to a better understanding. A mobile mindmapping tool might have been nice though, the only thing is, that a mobile mindmap demands more space to keep an overview, so that might be problematic with mobiles. On the applying level I think we did well: we demanded the learners of the Tibotec mobile project to share and upload stuff, so that feel okay. On the ‘analysing’ aspect however, I feel the least comfortable, as analysis demands tools that just… take up more space than available on a small mobile device (an iPad or netbook might do the trick though). There are some tools for mobile analysis, but still the human brain likes an overview of data (spreadsheets), graphics… so unless a mobile device is provided with a beamer so you can project unto a wall of some kind, analyzing certain information from your mobile keeps on being tricky.
The ‘evaluating’ level was okay, as well as the ‘creating’ level (skype, shozu, fring to exchange notes, cases and collaborate).

So overall I am happy with what we do on the mobile space, but there is still a lot of room to improve the learning, especially if mobiles are the only tool to get to the learning. If you ever did a Bloom analysis on any of your mobile learning or eLearning projects, let me know, I would love to read up on them.