I had a great, wide-ranging discussion last night with Bud Hunt (@budtheteacher), Audrey Watters (@audreywatters) and Steve Hargadon (@stevehargadon) after the second day of the DML Conference 2012. Much of it focused on the role of technology in educational reform with much of it sparked by an excellent keynote panel of which Connie Yowell (MacArthur Foundation) was the star.
To me, the whole problem with educational reform is that what matters can’t be seen or touched. It’s physically intangible.
What do we tend to do? We focus on the things that we can see. As Bud pointed out, teachers in his district will sometimes point to discrepancies in access to technology as being a limiting factor on their performance. Others look at the material conditions of one learning environment and attribute ‘success’ to these easily-observed factors.
We should be used to this by now. Living in a world of networks (and networks of networks) we know that it’s the invisible bonds, the weak ties, that connect us to people and ideas. As Connie Yowell pointed out it’s this kind of innovation that scales. Audrey Watters extended this point when she commented that technology scales vertically, whereas people scale horizontally.
So what can we do about this? The first thing we need to do, I’d suggest, is to surface processes and networks. These both need to be as open and inclusive as possible and we need ways to talk about them to make them more tangible.
Any suggestions? I’d love to hear them in the comments.
I appreciate the sentiment here. It’s an educator trying to share some tools in an organised way with some other educators. But mapping them against Bloom’s Taxonomy. Really?
Bloom’s Taxonomy is a classification of learning objectives within education proposed in 1956 by a committee of educators chaired by Benjamin Bloom.
It refers to a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). Bloom’s Taxonomy divides educational objectives into three “domains”: Cognitive, Affective, and Psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as knowing/head, feeling/heart and doing/hands respectively). Within the domains, learning at the higher levels is dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge and skills at lower levels.
(Wikipedia, accessed 21 February 2012)
Why is Flickr under Remembering when it can be used for mashups under a Creative Commons license? Surely VoiceThread can be used as much for Evaluating as Creating? How does Google Earth, in and of itself, promote Analysing?
Tools, by themselves, rarely develop higher-order thinking skills. It’s all about the processes around them and the context in which they’re used.
I’ve seen lessons and lectures that were captivating and really pushed students forward using no more than a blackboard and a piece of chalk. Similarly, I’ve seen some that used almost every conceivable piece of technology under the sun and students made little or no progress.
So educators, if you’re going to use a specific framework to present some tools or some ideas, please make sure that you understand the nature of that framework.