Another dot in the blogosphere?

I finally got down to remaking a model of the revised form of Bloom’s Taxonomy (BT).

Revised Bloom's Taxonomy Wheel

This is a PNG that I share under this Creative Commons license: CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0.

My Google Drawing of the revised form of BT is at and can downloaded there as a PDF, PNG, JPG, or SVG (File > Download as).

I based the model on a 2009 version that was created with the original BT in mind. That version retained the old static and passive terms like Knowledge instead of Remember, and Evaluation instead of Evaluate.

While the old wheel model did a good job of not using the traditional BT triangle, it did not swap the positions of Synthesis (Create) and Evaluation (Evaluate).

Given that the original BT model in 1956 was revised in 2001, I thought that revision of this otherwise excellent wheel model was in order.

I kept the wheel structure because:

  • The triangle implies prescription: Teachers tend to start with the base and work their way up, if at all.
  • Red core: The wheel has no start point. A facilitator can start by challenging students with a complex problem and requiring them to generate projects (Creating).
  • Amber hub: The wheel offers verbs that are more observable and measurable. While this practice has behaviouristic foundations, it is better than having teachers design lessons where outcomes are “students will know…” or “they will understand…”. Teachers are not mind-readers!
  • Green rim: The wheel model also has examples of learner artefacts or evidence of learning. This not only reinforces the observable and measurable principle, it also provides examples of what to design for.
  • The examples are not mutually exclusive. For example, a story might be evidence of Understanding or the process of Creating.

BT is a mainstay for the preparation of teachers and instructional designers. However, the triangle model is outdated and its levels imply causality or precedence (e.g., remember first, then understand, then…). It might be convenient to think this way, but it is irresponsible to teach this way because that is not how all people learn all the time.

I hope that my revised model provides a scaffold for newbies and a critical discussion piece for all.

I brought my new-ish Chromebook with me on consulting and teaching gigs. What both efforts have in common are:

  1. Connecting to the Internet for shared resources, e.g., Google Slides, Google Sites, other web resources.
  2. Sharing information by projecting it on a large screen.
  3. Highlighting or zooming in to specific information.

Like any laptop computer, a Chromebook is used differently as a facilitation tool compared to when it is used for browsing or creating content. I share how I set it up for facilitation.

Connecting to the Internet
Most organisations offer guest wifi that is as easy as to join as your home network. Institutes of higher learning (IHL), on the other hand, typically offer secure wifi. Their access points have names like AP-SECURE or APx.

Assuming you have been provided a valid user ID and machine-generated password, it might still not be as straightforward as typing these in when prompted. Unlike Mac or Windows systems, Chrome offers a rather intimidating connect dialogue box.

Chromebook join wifi network dialogue box.

I have found that selecting “PEAP” as the EAP method and “do not check” Server CA certificate seems to do the trick, but your mileage may vary.

The IHL might have a technical support site that provides this information, but you need to get this information in advance. Some information may be out-of-date. One site I visited had information for up to Windows 7 and way back to Windows Vista and XP!

Projecting information
My Chromebook has a very high screen resolution (1920×1080) and used to default to extended screens when hooked up to a projector. This would result in a small fuzzy projected image that you could only see if you pulled windows to the extended screen.

Chromebook display settings.

The way to get around this is to lower the projected resolution by trial and error. Each time you compromise between projected screen real estate and detail of information.

In earlier scenarios, I had to manually set the projection to mirror the laptop display each time I connected. Later on, the system defaulted to mirrored mode. This seemed to happen after I made the setting change for zooming.

Highlighting/Zooming information
I tend not to use a laser pointer because most people jiggle the dot to the point of distraction.

Instead, I use the computer cursor to highlight areas of interest, e.g., blocks of text, and/or zoom in to focus areas.

My bugbear when moving from a Mac was how awkward the simple task of zooming in and out is on a Chromebook.

One option is to simply increase the font size and everything else with CTRL+ (zoom in) and CTRL- (zoom out). However, this just makes everything bigger and you cannot focus on something, say, at the top right quadrant of the screen.

I tried a Chrome extension, but it did essentially the same thing.

Chromebook accessibility settings.

Then I found this workaround:

  • Enable accessibility setting: Settings > Show advanced settings > Select the box next to “Enable screen magnifier”
  • CTRL + ALT + brightness keys or CTRL + ALT + two finger swipes up and down on trackpad

The zooming in and out is not as smooth as on a Mac as it jumps in steps instead of pulling in and out like a zoom lens.

The Chromebook can sometimes lose focus too. For example, I zoomed in on a table element in a Google Doc that was embedded in a Google Site. The Chromebook scrolled the display back to the top left of the Google Site.

The main reason I persist with the Chromebook is how light it is when travelling. I do not need to bring the charger along and that saves on the weight I lug around.

I might decide to use my Mac when some presentations and facilitations require a smooth, seasoned look. I will need my Mac at an upcoming keynote as I plan on showing apps on my iPhone via my Mac to the projector.

But for basic presentations and facilitations where I can afford to try something different, I will opt for my Chromebook. This is a nice first world problem to have.

One of my son’s favourite Pokémons is Lickitung. So when one hatched from a Pokémon Go egg, I decided to make an animated GIF of it (it needs to move for you to get the full effect).

Lickitung animated GIF.

But how did I create the GIF given that the Pokémon Go app does not have an export function?

There are many options and this is what I did. First, display and capture the animation, then convert the animation to a GIF.

To display and capture, I mirrored my iPhone with AirServer on my Mac. I used AirServer to capture a few seconds of the movement as a MOV file.

To convert the MOV to a GIF I Googled “mov to gif” and found several online tools. I tried five tools and settled on because it did not ask for email information, request to link to Dropbox or Google Drive, or change browser settings. It also had powerful image editing features like cropping, splitting, and overlaying.

The lesson is not about Lickitung, as cute and as disturbing as this Pokémon might be. This is also not about promoting the tools I used. The lessons are:

  • Learning by doing
  • Learning just-in-time
  • Using tools that respect your privacy
  • Openly sharing what you learn
  • Using a memorable hook

There is a lesson from Pokémon Go that could be applied to teacher professional development and the design of learning experiences for students. It is learning to play the long game.

The long game is favouring long-term results and rewards over instant gratification and short-term gain. Here are three long game strategies in Pokémon Go.

The first is levelling up by accumulating XP (experience points).

One way of doing this is by catching mundane Pokémon like Pidgeys, Rattatas, and Weedles. These creatures common and easy to catch. Catch them, convert them to candy by transferring them to the Professor, feed that candy to stronger versions of their own kind, and evolve them to the next stage. This results in quick bumps in XP.

The learning by teachers and students should also be about getting more experiences. Like Pokémon Go, these life experiences should take place outside the classroom. Instead of the mundane Pokémon, they should be going for variety. But leave out the candy-cannibalism, please!

The higher your XP in Pokémon Go, the better the Pokémon you tend to find. The more experiences you have in life, the better equipped you are to handle what comes your way.

The second long game strategy is trimming the fat.

This means discarding what you do not need from both your bag of items (initial limit 350) and Pokémon storage (initial limit 250). Not clearing items out not only leads to clutter, it also prevents the inclusion of newer items, e.g., higher CP wild Pokémon or more Poké balls.

Clearing items like healing sprays and raspberries might seem counterintuitive because they are supposed to help. But these help only if you use them regularly. If not, hoarding them is like hanging on to medicines and encyclopaedias that you do not use.

Both teachers and students need not hoard information and artefacts just in case. It is a discipline to decide what you need and what you do not. Teachers and students need to realise that the brain is designed to forget and that we operate largely on just in time.

The third long game strategy is battling in gyms every 20 hours or so in order to get free Poké coins.

If you are quick after a successful battle, you might claim a place in a Pokémon gym. Doing this gives you a 10-coin reward at the shop. Accumulate enough coins and you can buy something from the shop without using a credit card.

This is like saving a little bit of one’s allowance every week or one’s salary every month. The drops might take a while to fill the bucket, but the reward is that much sweeter when you enjoy it.

We do not learn from experiences. We learn from reflecting on experiences. -- John Dewey.

People might think of incorporating Pokémon Go to teach content. You can. But I would rather use it to teach values like appreciating diversity, consistency and discipline, as well as persistence and patience.

This is about learning with and from the game without realising that you are learning. That is both a strength and weakness of this form of game-based learning.

It is a strength because the learning is experiential and emotional. It is a weakness because the takeaways might not be obvious. Both teachers and students need to reflect and transfer.

You need to be familiar with the pop-culture reference of Bart Simpson being punished by writing lines on a blackboard.

You also need to know how “interactive” white board vendors descended on classrooms to replace blackboards. Some still do now, but with glass boards instead.

When you see a tweet like the one above you might smirk or laugh.

After appreciating the joke, and if you are more critical, you realise that the rhetoric is not met by example.

The call is for teachers to move with the times. Bart was punished punitively, but he found a way to get around the work because he was more adept than the teacher or administrator. Perhaps the call should be for teachers to move with their students.

Changing the medium does not guarantee a change in the message or the method. The new and expensive boards do not move teachers away from chalk-and-talk. They leave the technology largely in the hands of teachers instead of with the learners. The creators, communicators, and correctors of content are the teachers. Neither the message nor the method has changed.

The overall message the GIF sends is this: Do the same thing differently. Being more efficient is necessarily being more effective. This is certainly not being innovative.

Ultimately, this is putting money in the pockets of vendors. There is nothing wrong if the vendor provides a worthwhile and meaningful service or product. But it is a cardinal sin if you are not getting any change in pedagogy for your dollars.

Fintech is short for financial technology. Examples might include digital wallets, apps for funds transfer, and bitcoin.

That is the limit of what I know about fintech. Oh, and that it promises to be a big moneymaker.

What I understand more deeply is educational technology. So when I read TechCrunch’s article Edtech is the next fintech, I shuddered.

I read with dread the dry descriptions of money-making and profit potential from this sector. It was like watching the Greek gods dispassionately play chess with human pieces.

We already have vendors and providers with little idea telling teachers what they are doing wrong and how to do it right, i.e., their way or the old way packaged in shinier parcels. We do not need more of that.

But we will get more. Many will be led by their pockets. Very few will have their hearts and minds in the right place.

I had never heard of Julius Yego AKA Mr YouTube until just a few days ago thanks to the video below.

Video source

Yego won the silver medal for the javelin event at the Rio 2016 Olympic games. He did this despite injuring himself after his second throw.

The odds were stacked against him from the beginning. Yego is from a country of runners, Kenya, and he did not have a javelin coach when he wanted to pursue his passion. So he turned to YouTube videos of javelin throws and training methods. Amazing!

It might take a high-profile case like this to highlight how important YouTube is to self-directed and independent learning. But kids and learners anywhere in the world with access to YouTube already know this.

They teach themselves to play the guitar, to cook, or to perform dance moves. They learn how to apply makeup, say words in a foreign language, or do their homework. They get tips from experts, learn game walkthroughs, or gain a new perspective.

There are a lot of cat videos on YouTube. But saying that buries a rich resource for learners of all ages. We have so much to learn about learning from YouTube.

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