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Bloom's Taxonomy to Bytes
Bloom’s Taxonomy to Bytes
Metacognitive thinking and its related components are, in simplistic terms, defined as ‘thinking about one’s thinking’. 1 A basic example of metacognitive thinking is when comparing boxes of soap on the store shelf. Is the 750-gram box of soap powder a better buy than one containing 250 grams? We use metacognitive practices in our daily lives to help us understand and make sense our day-to-day decision making. Education – in a broad sense, has taught us creative ways to think and analyse our experiences and knowledge. A number of theorists have attempted to categorise varied levels of thinking skills.
Benjamin Bloom led a group of researchers who, in 1956, developed a well-known taxonomy that produced six levels of cognition that ranged from simple recall of knowledge to evolution of knowledge. Each of these stages is aimed at a level of thinking; such as knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. 2
It takes time, resources and effort to learn. What’s speeding up to make the learning process more efficient in our digital world? Information and communications technology (ICT) has transformed how and where people learn today. With Australian governmental education initiatives funneling over $2.0 billion in digital technologies, it’s no wonder text books are being swapped for bytes.
 Churchill (2011). Teaching, making a difference. Pg. 208.
 J. Duffy, J. McDonald, A. Mizell (2005). Teaching and learning with technology. Pg. 44.
Ideas to get a conversation going about comprehension of new ideas or knowledge
The following are good sentence starters to have a conversation with a young person and you want to measure their level of understanding about a topic:
- Interpret … in your own words.
- Rephrase the meaning of …
- What facts or ideas show …?
- Which statements support …?
- Explain what is happening/meant …
- What can you say about …?
- Show your understanding of …
- Elaborate on …
Blooms Taxonomy & a Fifth-Grader doing his Homework
I was just helping my little brother with his homework. He was stuck on a question asking about the deeper meaning of a story. I remember that I used to hate questions like that because they seemed so much harder compared to most questions that only asked for a level of regurgitation.
To help him out I altered the story to apply it to his own life but made sure to keep the main themes of the original story. Then I told him about Bloom’s Taxonomy, and how that this kind of question was at the top of Blooms Taxonomy. I pointed out that the other questions he had to answer were easy and at the bottom of Blooms Taxonomy.
I went on to tell him that is why I hold creators of any sort at a high regard. It’s not easy creating something from scratch. It takes a lot of thinking, creativity and effort and yet I don’t think they receive nearly enough credit for the incredible work they do.