Thursday, August 20, 2015

Restarting 21st Century Learning

Hello again, I am back from my hiatus of writing weekly blogs. I took an extended vacation to reflect, relax, and consider the direction that education seems to be following. In recent weeks we are seeing the convocation of many candidates for the Presidency of the United States, none of whom have, as of yet, offered any inkling of the direction their education policies will follow. But, the sentiments of No Child Left Behind, as well as Race to the Top, and, of course, Common Core are still with us and will continue to be, as long as the theorists and politicians attempt to manipulate the educational programs of children for their own gain; whether to prove or advance a theory or win votes. 

I will continue to push forward on igniting a true 21st Century Learning Organization in our schools, because I feel that is the only true system that will prepare and make a considerable difference for children. But, in so doing, are we making the difference we seek in the goals and visions we bring to the table as educators?

In 1956 Benjamin Bloom wrote the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, which was a six-level description of thinking that has been widely used and adapted in many different version of teaching and learning since. (1)  They are: 

These skills and keywords have designed numerous instructional objectives that
have guided learning for thousands of educators and students for sixty years. But, times have changed, the sooner we accept this and the concept of how children are learning today, the sooner we move our new generations into this thing called the 21st Century Learning Organization. Around 1999 Dr. Lorin Anderson, a former student of Benjamin Bloom created an updated and revised model of the taxonomy. “This revised taxonomy attempts to correct some of the problems with the original taxonomy. Unlike the 1956 version, the revised taxonomy differentiates between “knowing what,” the content of thinking, and “knowing how,” the procedures used in solving problems.” (2)

The revised Bloom’s Taxonomy is more learner centered, and learner focused. Here is an excellent graphic of the new version from the University of Arkansas. (3) As the website advises, "before you can understand a concept, you must remember it. To apply a concept you must first understand it. In order to evaluate a process, you must have analyzed it. To create an accurate conclusion, you must have completed a thorough evaluation."

No where in that model are teachers directed to lecture, test, assess, or even teach. Teachers become facilitators of learning, meant to provide the strategy and guidelines for students to find the path to learning. This becomes the first step in true 21st Century regeneration. 

(1) Designing Effective Projects: Thinking Skills Frameworks Bloom’s Taxonomy: A New Look at an Old Standby." Accessed August 20, 2015.

(2) ibid.

(3) Shabatura, Jessica. "Teaching Innovation & Pedagogical Support." Using Bloom’s Taxonomy to Write Effective Learning Objectives. September 27, 2013. Accessed August 20, 2015.