INF 530: Blog Task 2 – Taxonomy of Learning in Knowledge Networks

Learn - keyboard

creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by GotCredit:

When I think  of taxonomy of learning, I think of Bloom. Bloom’s taxonomy is older than I am, having been published in 1956. I remember first hearing of Bloom’s Taxonomy as a young teacher but had no idea what it was, nor that it was the work of many authors whose aim was to classify three domains of educational goals and objectives. The cognitive domain is, I expect, the one that educators are most familiar with. Krathwohl’s Taxonomy and Harrow’s Taxonomy classify the affective and psychomotor domains respectively and are quite new to me.

Bloom’s taxonomy is still a valid way for educators to classify learning objectives and ensure that students are engaged in activities that move beyond lower order thinking tasks to the more complex higher order thinking tasks of synthesising and evaluating.

In our current digital age there is more scope to design learning that covers the spectrum of learning but how to evaluate this learning can be problematic. There is much talk about 21st century learning skills which usually centre around the skills of problem solving, creative and critical thinking, collaboration and so on. I do not believe that these skills have only been devised for 21st c learning; they are, however, perhaps more desirable in contemporary society where much of the workforce is required to demonstrate and use these skills in ways that were not so prevalent in previous generations. Our knowledge networked society enables us to connect and collaborate with others beyond the physical classroom and beyond our local communities. With the arrival of Web 2.0, educators can harness these tools to develop these skills in students, particularly with regard to collaboration and sharing of knowledge.

I have had many conversations with parents recently who continue to request data that proves that technology is improving their child’s learning; the data requested is that of the NAPLAN type. Many don’t seem satisfied with a response that speaks of creativity, collaboration, problem solving or any other skill that is deemed by many to be the holy grail of contemporary learning.

Therefore, as educators, we must search for ways that will enable us to assess these skills, particularly when the use of ICT is required. Heppell (2001) cautions against assessing learning done with ICT using measures that were constructed prior to the digital age as we would be assessing in ways that are reminiscent of pedagogy that predates current educational pedagogies.

Bloom’s original taxonomy has been revised and adapted by many as seen by the selection of images included here:

creative commons licensed (BY-NC) flickr photo by AJC

creative commons licensed (BY-NC) flickr photo by AJC

Blooms Revised Taxonomy

creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by jutecht:


Padagogy wheel

creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by AllanADL:


Starkey (2011) states that whilst these later versions have creativity as the goal, the ultimate goal should be the sharing of what has been created. Prior to the digital age, this was only possible in a limited way. Now, with a vast array of web 2.0 tools available, sharing is possible on a global level and can be done instantly. Starkey lists six aspects of learning that use digital technologies and provides a matrix that can be used to connect Bloom’s and SOLO taxonomies and, further, be used as and assessment tool:

  1. Doing
  2. Thinking about connections
  3. Thinking about concepts
  4. Critiquing and evaluating
  5. Creating knowledge
  6. Sharing knowledge


Five digital technology uses associated with these  levels of learning:

  1. Accessing information
  2. Presenting
  3. Processing information
  4. Gaming
  5. Communicating

Teachers using this tool are able to discern the value of activities with regard to ensuring the connection between activity and concept. If teachers are to do more than give lip service to higher order thinking skills and their application in a digital learning world, they must ensure that their learning spaces, both physical and virtual, are conducive to learning in a digital age and that their theory of learning is also supportive of contemporary learning design.

Heppell, S. (2001) Assessment and new technology: new straightjackets or new opportunities? Retrieved from
Starkey, L. (2011) Evaluating learning in the 21st century: a digital age learning matrix. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 20:1, 19-39



INF 530: Blog Task 1

creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by Stuck in Customs:

creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by Stuck in Customs:

As I begin to explore concepts and practices in a digital age, I find myself jumping all over the place – it is such a broad area to study. What concepts do I associate with the digital age? The first to come to mind include connectedness, collaboration, cooperation, globalisation, stability, change, belonging, sustainability, space, environment, ethics, ownership. No doubt, there are many more. My thoughts about practices in a digital age are somewhat cloudy as I consider what practices are specific to a digital age. How are they different from those of a time before the impact of digital environments and tools? Are they improved or just different? What implications arise that are directly related to this ever expanding digital environment?In exploring this subject, I hope to answer these questions, particularly in the context of primary school education.

My work in education is directly related to the pursuit of these answers. My role sees me working with primary school teachers with vastly different experiences, opinions and abilities with regard to digital practices in the classroom. I hope that by exploring and clarifying my understandings in this field, I will be better equipped to collaboratively navigate the ever-changing landscape that educators face.

With such a wide distribution of knowledge and skills demonstrated by teachers and students alike, the terms ‘digital native’ and ‘digital immigrant’, as coined by Marc Prensky in 2001, are often used to help explain the digital divide. These terms, however, do not sit comfortably with me when the former is often used to refer to the younger generation and the latter connected with the teachers born before this digital revolution. Prensky states that our students today are native speakers of digital language, yet I would also consider myself a native speaker because I have used the language as it has developed. I have lived in the time when the language was invented so I could also be considered a native speaker. The fact that some people choose not, or have no need, to use the language does not necessarily mean that they are immigrants any more than a person who does not use language related to disciplines that use a specific language are eg music, medicine, law. There may be a digital divide, but I don’t believe it has a great deal to do with when one was born. I agree with Gerald Haigh who writes in Open University research explodes myth of ‘digital native‘ that there’s no evidence of a clear-cut digital divide. Use of technology varies with age, but it does so predictably, over the whole age span. And secondly, although younger people are more likely to be positive about technology, there is evidence that a good attitude to technology, at any age, correlates with good study habits.

An area of interest I aim to explore further is that of digital literacy. My understanding of digital literacy is the ability to efficiently and effectively select and use a variety of digital technologies to locate, understand, synthesise, evaluate, create and communicate information whilst applying social and ethical protocols in order to protect and respect self, others and property. For teachers who are not digitally literate, supporting the development of these skills in their students will be a significant challenge.

An aspect of the information environment that has been brought to my attention by embarking on this subject is that of digital preservation. On a personal level, I have always understood the need to back up data, especially after losing data that could not be retrieved. I had not, however, considered the impact that this concept has on larger scale. I am comforted to know that the International Internet Preservation Consortium is working on our behalf to ensure that our web is preserved for future generations. On a local level, it makes me wonder about what I should be preserving and encouraging others to preserve. Can we rely on the cloud to keep our data safe? Hopefully access to the cloud will not be dependent on specific hardware (yet I suspect at some time in the future it will) like previous storage solutions were such as floppy discs and, more recently, CDs and USBs.

creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video:

creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video:

My first instinct is to think that all will be safe in the cloud. That was, at least, until last week when a radio discussion I was listening to drew my attention to the disastrous effect a solar storm would have on our society if one such as the Carrington event of 1859 were to happen today. Dr Karl explained how an event such as this would impact on our everyday lives, from banking and GPS navigation systems to the watch we may be wearing on our wrist.

I look at the work samples from my days in primary school and wonder what future generations will have to show of their past or, indeed, what they will consider valuable.

St Francis - Kindy
St Francis – Kindy
Poem- Yr 6
Poem (Handwriting test) – Year 6


Haigh, G. (2011). Open University research explodes myth of ‘digital native’. Merlin John Online.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon 9(5). Retrieved,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf