Bloom, Fink and going SOLO in a BYOD world

Taxonomy of learning in knowledge networks

inmap (1)

A map of my LinkedIn Professional Learning Network


I am science trained and know that in the study of the sciences, taxonomies are not set in stone. The way we classify organisms  has changed since I was a Biology student. Back then we also had nine planets in our Solar System, whereas now we have eight because the way we categorise planets has changed. These changes are a great lesson in how knowledge changes over time. Our world views change.

I am keeping this in mind as I explore the learning taxonomies that have played a major role in education, including those shown below in Figure 1.

Are these taxonomies relevant in 21st Century classrooms?

What is a learning taxonomy anyway? According to O’Neill (2010): “Learning
 are commonly
 develop.” The following image (Figure 1) shows some Taxonomies along with their dates of publication.


Figure 1 : Educational Taxonomies : Sourced from O’Neill & Murphy (2010)

These taxonomies have assisted many educators in describing student learning. So whilst engaging with Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy (Anderson 2001) we learn to describe student learning in terms of listing, memorising, reciting, classifying, reading, rewriting, finding…to perhaps show they have stored prescribed knowledge in their heads. For your interest read Biggs and Collis (1982) to help develop an understanding of SOLO.

However, educators such as Steve Wheeler (2012) are now making sense of new world views where knowledge is more widely distributed and sits outside of the learner. As Weinberger (2011) says: “Our skulls and our institutions are simply not big enough to contain knowledge. Knowledge is now a property of the network….”

Should we, in light of the connected world we now live in and the knowledge networks that our students can draw on change the  ways we view and describe student behaviour and learning outcomes.  After all, we are now just a node amongst many. Things have changed. The information ecology that we now exist in has changed.

Just for interest, the social graph at the top of this post illustrates my LinkedIn network. This can be seen as a good example of a knowledge network.

Another observation is that these taxonomies describe the individual and do not reflect a connected digital world where learning is becoming “increasingly a networked phenomenon”. (O’Connell 2014)


Educators are now discussing connectivism (Siemens, 2004) which is proving to be a good lens through which to explore 21st Century Learning. Louise Starkey (2010) does this with clarity.  She argues that 21st century educators will be “limited in their ability to teach the upcoming generation to be active participants in a digitally enhanced society without understanding how to apply theories of learning that are relevant to a digital age into their practice.”

As a simple activity, try Googling “Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy’ using Google images. The colourful search result that appears on my screen suggests that we are struggling to  fit an old tool to a new purpose. Maybe also, we are trying to fit new digital tools into old taxonomies. Steve Wheeler (2012 June 26) talks of “Bloom reheated”. What are your thoughts on this?

As explored by Bawden (2012) “technology does not change the ways of dealing with information” but information ecologies have changed particularly with the advent of social media technologies. In this new information ecology, should we continue to refer to Bloom’s (revised) taxonomy whilst reflecting on lesson plans and pedagogy. Or should we, you perhaps, refer to a new tool through which you would reflect on your teaching?

Computational thinking might provide new guiding language/taxonomies.

Starkey (2011) argues that the connections that a student makes are an  important part of learning in the digital age and “it is through these connections that knowledge is created and critiqued”. This is an extremely important concept that is well worth exploring, particularly if we want to taxonomise such learning while acknowledging collaboration, connections, creation of knowledge and the sharing of this knowledge.


Alongside a group of CSU students scattered through Australia and overseas, I am currently learning to:

  • think critically
  • learn through connections
  • create and share knowledge

Some of the knowledge we are aggregating, curating, tagging, creating and critiquing is shared knowledge as it is stored in and accessible via our knowledge networks. How would Bloom, Fink and Biggs have structured their learning taxonomies to describe the learning that I am participating in?


Bawden, D. & Robinson, l. (2012). Information behaviour. In Introduction to information science (pp. 187 – 210). London: facet.

Biggs, J. B. and Collis, K. (1982) Evaluating the Quality of Learning: the SOLO taxonomy. New York, Academic Press

O’Neill, G. and Murphy, F. (2010) Guide to Taxonomies of Learning. Retrieved from UCD website

O’Connell, S. (2014) Knowledge Networks – Connected communities, open access, and connected learning [INF530 Module 3]. Retrieved March 29, 2014 from Charles Sturt University website:

Weinberger, D. (2011) Too Big To Know. New York. Basic Books

Wheeler, S. (2012 June 26) Bloom reheated. [Web log] Steve Wheeler Blogspot. Retrieved from

Wheeler, S. (2012 Oct 26th) Theories for the digital age: Connectivism. [Web log] Steve Wheeler Blogspot. Retrieved from


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Messy Learning

The following presentation by Nathaniel Bott speaking on gamification in education (TedX, 2013) is a must watch for any educator currently on a journey to adapt to 21st Century education.

Which brings me to my day yesterday with a class of Year 8 students. This class has a bunch of characters with learning behaviours that Nathaniel describes in his TedX talk.  It was one of those exhausting days where you perhaps feign classroom control and expend a lot of energy guiding the cohort with heaps of encouragement.

On these days I always see myself as a pirate on a pirate ship, me the captain . We work together collaboratively but the weather is choppy and the crew unruly. Mutiny is in the air. 🙂

Student work

Student work

In the last session for the day when all can deteriorate very quickly,  I guided the students towards an activity that could link into a Humanities unit of Geography. Students were to choose a country of their choice and with a few guiding question communicate to me why they would want to travel there.

I love it when you stand back and all goes well.

The little glimmer of success in this busy day was a handful of curated and published content from my students.   Some  chose to use Pic Collage to communicate their research, an example of which is the above page on Canada.



The real glimmer was four boys using Minecraft to create a scene from the U.S.A.  This group of four worked beautifully together to build a replica of the Statue of Liberty. They found an image of the statue and to the best of their artistic ability build a virtual copy.  At the feet of their Minecraft constructed statue sat a plaque that presented in text form, some interesting information about the U.S.A.

As is mentioned in the above clip, we need to Think Big and look for ways to allow students to explore as they choose, to be creative. If we as educators do not allow this, then students will choose that path anyway, following their own passions and  pathways.

If you want to explore further, this classroom experience also illustrates the thinking of Helen Haste (Harvard Education, 2009) who describes the human being as “tool user”.


“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those that cannot read and write, but those that cannot learn, unlearn and relearn” Alvin Toffler

The above TedxTalk mentions:

Gamification: ”The use of game thinking and game mechanics in a non game context to engage users and solve problems”




Harvard Education (2009 Jun 26). Technology and Youth: Problem Solver vs Tool User (Part 1 of 4) Retrieved from

Tedx Talks (2013 Dec 5). 21st century learning: Nathaniel Bott at Tedx Launceston. Retrieved from






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Concepts and Practises for a Digital Age

What is my current knowledge and understanding of concepts and practices in a digital age; within the context of being an educator and participant in global networks? Good Question … what do I know? Certainly, as the attached word cloud shows, at present I am trying to grapple with many concepts. 🙂

Let me start with a self realisation: My learning has been consistently informed by an exploratory nature. I view myself as an “entrepreneurial learner” as is described by Seely Brown (2012).

Words in my head.

Cloud summary of my thinking and notes.

A maker and tinkerer.

I am inquisitive by nature and look for new ways and new resources to learn new things.   Seely Brown, also states “We tend to underplay how important this is.” I am beginning to realise how this tinkering ability has allowed me to become comfortable in the digital medium and its participatory culture.

A willingness to learn has allowed me to build transferable skills that can be utilised in many  settings. Since leaving my University studies, I have always lived in a digital world where I needed to learn how to manipulate new technologies. (I might ponder that it was not until I left institutionalised learning that I really learnt how to become an independent learner.)  Within the context of working in a University and research environment, on a daily basis I had to tinker with emerging digital technologies. In more informal settings, I also tinkered with chat rooms when they first appeared; clumsy but fun, and lots of laughter. I learnt by playing games online with my children experimenting with games such as Draw Something for hours, weeks, months. These games were collaborative, required imagination and relied on digital networks to work.

More on the tinkering, I first attempted to use VoiP technology in 1999 when I was employed by a technology company in Florida, USA to run a distributorship for them in Australia. We thought VoiP would be a novel but powerful way to communicate with each other across the globe. The software we played with proved to be a disaster but we had fun and learning occurred. In summary, as I entered teaching in 2003, I had the mindset and growing ability to teach with emerging technologies.  I quickly had students tinkering with internet research well before school networks could cope with this reality.

With an interest in technology, and a passion for teaching I found myself in Victoria’s first government school to adopt a 1:1 use of laptop technology (see earlier post) and then moved into the private school system to spend another five years in a “laptop” school. This more formal context of learning in digitally rich classrooms allowed me to develop my own professional philosophy towards teaching and learning with emerging technologies.

In 2009 I first introduced my students to a learning process that involved them collaborating to curate content sourced from the internet and their own collected digital data, so as to create digital artefacts that communicated their learning.

Click the following link to see an example of student generated digital content:

Student produced digital content

A well discussed approach to digital pedagogy is now the three C’s of Create, Curate, Collaborate … in addition to communicate.  As is presented by O’Connell (2012) “acquisition of knowledge has become a deeper process of individual and collaborative learning activities.”

I now realise that I was playing with and contributing to a new culture of learning by calling upon my students to create digital content. They were creators not just consumers. Reflection on this approach allowed me to learn that when my students were called upon to convert one medium into another e.g. text to voice, or text to images, or images to text … they are forced to make decisions and I suspect this deepened their learning experience.

Therefore, I enter this course as an effective user of technology to support learning, but with the aim of developing a deeper understanding  of new information environments.

My knowledge and thinking is being challenged and developed by this course and I must say I am feeling highly engaged and yet overwhelmed by the many new concepts and practices being presented here.

So, I have a few aims:

  • Think more on the repercussions of global social networks and become more conversational about creative cultures and ways of doing, such as design thinking.
  • Work towards deepening my awareness of future work places such as those presented by Davies (2011) and the repercussions this has for education. 
  • Strengthen my ability to critically view, the quickly changing paradigms of education as exemplified by Chen (2014) who discusses enticing students with content.  He also declares “Finally, disruption has come to education.”  This is very exciting to read. The risk  I see is that digital technologies have unfortunately made it easer to throw content at students.
  • Develop a more evidence based approach to my teaching practice.
  • Share my ideas more openly; and learn by doing so.

There is much to learn.


Chen, M., (2014) Future of Learning: From Assigning to Enticing with Content. Retrieved from Institute For The Future. Future Now. The IFTF Blog:

Davies, A., Fidler, D., & Gorbis. M. (2011). Future work skills 2020. Institute for the Future for the University of Phoenix Research Institute: California

O’Connell, J. (2014). Trends in technology environments [ETL503 201430 Subject Outline]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University website:

The Global One Room Schoolhouse: John Seely Brown (Highlights from JSB’s Keynote at DML2012). (2012, September 18). Retrieved March 15, 2014, from



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The Third Place

Today, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Levine (2012) ponder that age old question of “Who am I?” via his YouTube video “We, Our Digital Selves, and Us

The Third Place

The Third Place

Firstly, this resource is an awesome prompt for any teacher willing to explore and reflect on their own digital identity. The video has some very thought provoking questions and challenges, such as “What is the difference between offline and online?

What really grabbed me  was the discussion of “the notion of a place that was neither work nor home”. Levine tells us this concept was originally described by Ray Oldenburg as a Third Place. Intriguing. A place that is highly accessible, involves food and is welcoming. “Can this happen Online?” asks Levine.

Sure, I have been to that place. I go there via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Hangouts, Skype …

What’s more, when I visit this Third Place I can drink coffee, order lunch, world best cappuccino or just simply sit on my balcony. You?

I have then connected with people I met in this “Third place” by meeting them at pubs, schools, hospitals and museums while attending Teachmeets in Melbourne. Or, I meet them in other more formal places during professional development activities. Some I now teach with.

This opens up a vision of how my students will benefit from this Third Place that is neither work nor home … nor school? Maybe my future students will not be locked in a classroom with me; that’s not such a bad thing! 🙂  Perhaps we will meet somewhere more compatible to digital citizens and we will use our connections to learn from the world. Maybe we will only ever meet in this Third Place?

Taking this imagining one step further … my vision is not a #TMMELB but a student meet (#SMMelb) at a local cafe, or … you get the drift. What a great way to teach youth that learning happens anywhere, anytime.

Just pondering out loud here but it’s exciting to ponder.


Levine, A. [Flat Classroom]. (2012, March 21). We, our digital selves, and us [Video file]. Retrieved from

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1.1 Digital Citizenship as a concept


Enlightened Digital Citizenship

My developing definition of digital citizenship :: Digital Citizenship is a way of using technology responsibly that focusses on the skills, attitudes and personal behaviours that allow citizens to engage with their networks in a positive manner.

I am enjoying the idea that the Concept of Digital Citizenship is multi-faceted as described by Mike Ribble at

The model shown above (Davis & Lindsay, 2012) is also very helpful as it helps  us acknowledge that as Digital Citizens we need to develop an understanding of our online citizenship from a variety of perspectives.

What is my stance on digital citizenship? :: I have learnt that students need explicit modelling and guiding as to how to be good Digital Citizens. They do not necessarily do this naturally; nor do adults.

This student mentoring needs to go deeper than the training of students to use various tools but also requires explicit discussions on acceptable use of social media, in its many forms.  In the digital medium there is always the temptation for youth to say things or post artefacts that are socially  inappropriate. Young students quite often engage in online behaviours that they otherwise would not when communicating face-to-face with their peers and wider communities. This also relates to the adult world; some of the most inappropriate emails that I have received have been from parents of students. I would take this one step further and suggest anyone that engages with digital communication technologies be made ware of the global perspectives of digital citizenship.
What should an informed, publicly engaged digital citizen look like? The informed publicly engaged citizen not only has access to the appropriate technology but they are skilled in contributing to their social networks.  They can do so in a way that is sensitive to a variety of audiences across social, cultural and global boundaries.

What direction are you (or your school) taking? To generalise,  in both my work places, policies appear to focus on acceptable use of ICT: the dos and don’t of social media and behaviours online. No explicit discussions of digital citizenship are apparent – to the depth that  we are exploring here and is communicated by Davis and Lindsay in the above image.

Of interest, my current school is what I call a high technology school; students work on their BYO iPads on a 1:1 basis. These students are supported by a renowned School Wide Positive Behaviour Support program. In place is also a supportive social media policy that works in conjunction with an ICT and responsible use policy.  Good use  of social media and other web 2.0 tools is explicitly advocated.  In the classroom students are encouraged to make decisions about how to use the digital tools at their disposal.  So, the school is clearly on a journey of exploring issues of Digital Citizenship similar to those being explored in the early modules of #ETL523.  However, perhaps a more in-depth journey is required to engage in the areas of awareness as suggested by Lindsay and Davis (2012).
I must say that in the museum where I work there is strong a commitment to digital transformation including “in the way people work, think and interact.” This includes but is not limited to 1) Staff incorporating digital systems into their daily life 2) trialling and adopting digital systems and platforms that enable flexible content generation 3) A digital infrastructure that meets business needs.  No explicit policy on digital citizenship  … more goals and acceptable use policies. It is my understanding that there is a strong difference between “Digital Citizenship” and “acceptable use”. Digital Citizenship certainly involves ‘acceptable use but delves into deeper issues, including those of a global relevance.


Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., Donovan, J. (2011). Digital citizenship in K-12: It takes a village. TechTrends 55(4) 37-47.

Lindsay, J., & Davis, V. (2012). Flattening classrooms, engaging minds: Move to global collaboration one step at a time. New York: Allyn and Bacon. Chapter 5: Citizenship.

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1.0 Introduction to Digital Citizenship

Here I sit, surrounded by technology that I now take for granted whilst pondering issues of Digital Citizenship with a focus on the school environment.

My desk

Digital Tools

Digital Learning Environments – what are they?

My developing definition of a “Digital Learning Environment” (DLE) is any place in which  learning is facilitated by current and emerging digital tools. It is an environment into which information flows easily and we have “anywhere, anytime” access to information (As described by the Digital learning statement produced  by the Victorian DEECD).

However, as participants in #ETL523 we are discussing and reflecting on the idea that a DLE is not just a place cluttered with digital tools, think mobile phones, iPad and laptops. It is more than just a ‘place’. When thinking about or defining DLEs this course of study is encouraging its participants to think on the supporting skillsstandards, attitudes and habits that are required when accessing digital content.

Digital Learning Environments (DLE) are participatory and collaborative by nature as they allow learners to drive their own learning via the  manipulation of technologies.

What are some of the changes created by our digital lifestyle that I need to be aware of as an educator?

Good question … let me dot point:

  • People across a multitude of cultures are more connected to their social networks.
  • Huge flows of information into our lives: “anywhere, anytime”
  • Growing communication across digital networks, on a global scale
  • We are more likely  able to be able to manipulate tools of social media.
  • Employers demand anywhere/any time access to workers 🙁
  • A call for a participatory experience wherever we go, classrooms, TV, Museums etc.

What has been the impact of social networking on teaching and learning?

  • Strong development of Professional Learning Networks (PLNs).
  • Teacher driven PD in the teaching sector, supported by social strong networking. This is perhaps accompanied by a decline in subject orientated professional association. Think about the increase of the ‘un-conference’ format.
  • A growing need to develop in our students an awareness of Digital Citizenship.
  • A need to adjust our approach to teaching and learning which includes a strong need to adjust curriculum … not just pedagogy. In fact, I think a lot of teachers are ready to adjust their teaching to take account for the digital shift, however, they feel encumbered by formal curriculum.
  • Students have the ability to plug into their own social networks to facilitate their own learning … even though they might not be aware of this …. more on this at a later date.


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Clearing the clouds..

Is that almost Week 1 done and dusted!

I think I am only just beginning to acknowledge that I am actually ‘doing’ my Masters. I think I should say ‘engaging’ in learning. As I settle in, I can now see an enjoyable albeit challenging learning experience ahead. This Masters course is very relevant to my professional journey: –
a) classroom teaching – technology rich classrooms
b) education officer in the museum sector – where we regularly discuss learning in a digital age.

What have I achieved so far:

I am studying two subjects: Digital Citizenship in Schools (ETL523) and Concepts and Practices for a Digital Age (INF530)

Life will be busy! I have begun to engage in the copious amounts of reading and  YouTube videos while recording my personal notes and reflections into Evernote, for example see my raw notes on Digital Citizenship. I will come back and process these over time and add deeper reflections. Evernote will be my place to download my thoughts! I have also inserted a study timetable into Evernote that I can update as need be.

A Flipboard magazine titled “Digital Citizenship In Schools” has also been created.  I will use this to aggregate and share subject content that I have or am about to engage with. I learn by doing (participatory learning) and thus need to undertake these activities to promote my own personal engagement.

On a side note, Graham Clark has built a Flipboard magazine titled “Concepts and Practices for a Digital Age“. Graham has very smartly called his blog “Clouding Around“.

I have been busy on social media but that has been a part of my professional life for a few years now. However, the decision to engage in this course has provided direction to my readings and thoughts. I am already thankful for that. My challenge now is to freely share my thoughts and practices on digital education.

If interested please follow and contribute to both subject discussions on twitter via the following hashtags:

#INF530 :: Concepts and Practices for a Digital Age


#ETL523 :: Digital Citizenship in Schools

Highlights so far.

1) Digital Citizenship – A Global Perspective :: An online discussion about Digital Citizenship.

2) Organising and publishing this wiki :: I had to get it ‘just’ right and learnt a few technical things along the way.

Already I am thinking about the the concepts and practices offered by these two subjects as I go about my daily life either at school or at Scienceworks.

I am wondering what everyone else has been up to?  See you all in the forums or else on twitter.

Happy learning.


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