Bloom's New Digital Taxonomy: A Framework for Improving Educational Administrator Preparation Programs

How can we improve administrator preparation programs? It might seem like a daunting question (and one that’s hard to solve in a single blog post), but I think we can start by doing this one thing:

Incorporate projects into the curriculum that require students to use technology to make something new.

But how do we do that? Bloom’s New Digital Taxonomy, a revision to Bloom’s Taxonomy for the digital age, suggests several ways in which technology can be incorporated into the curriculum to improve student learning. If applied to administrator preparation programs, educational administrators could graduate with an important skill set that will set them up for success in their careers and allow them to be more dynamic researchers.

But first, you might enjoy this article if you’re…

  • An educational administration + leadership student interested in researching how we might improve administrator preparation programs

  • A teacher who is designing or building their own courses and want to incorporate technology and get students creating new kinds of projects

  • An administrator or curriculum developer looking to improve the curriculum in your own school or for an administrator preparation program

  • Government employee assessing new program proposals to ensure that they reach the higher levels of Bloom’s New Digital Taxonomy

Ready to get started?

A Brief review of bloom’s taxonomy

You may have heard about Bloom’s Taxonomy. Originally developed in 1956 by Benjamin Bloom, the Bloom’s Taxonomy provides a useful framework for instructors to set educational goals in their classrooms. Often illustrated as a pyramid (but in this case, portrayed as a lightbulb), the original Bloom’s framework scaffolds students’ skills. Beginning with knowledge, the idea is that a student professes up the “levels” of the pyramid, to comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and finally, evaluation (pictured in Figure 1).

And this was great, for a while. But in the early 2000s, Bloom’s original taxonomy was revised to move away from static notions of educational objectives to action verbs, to better describe student cognitive processes. For example, remembering became remember, comprehension became understanding, and perhaps most importantly, evaluation became creating. And however useful these previous versions of Bloom’s Taxonomy continue to be, earlier versions have not fully considered the possibilities created by advancements in technology. And with a new revision in [date], Bloom’s Taxonomy was re-imagined in a way that incorporates technology.

Bloom’s New Digital Taxonomy, as the new revisions by Andrew Churches came to be known, incorporates technology in a way that is more aligned with the 21st century learner. And it’s with this new digital revision that I think has interesting and useful applications to improving courses in administrator preparation programs.

Figure 1. FRActus learning. Bloom's taxonomy verbs. image provided via creative commons license.

Figure 1. FRActus learning. Bloom's taxonomy verbs. image provided via creative commons license.

Bloom’s New Digital Taxonomy

Bloom's New Digital Taxonomy includes certain verbs the describe more accurately, how today's students might learn. So for example, to remember (lowest-level cognition), students may highlight, duplicate, or visualize information. To create (highest-level cognition), students may choose to film, direct, or publish an original piece of research. The diagram below is a useful resource from Fractus Learning that illustrates the ways in which students can remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create using digital tools.

Figure 2. fractus learning. bloom's taxonomy for the digital world. iimage Provided via creative commons license.

Figure 2. fractus learning. bloom's taxonomy for the digital world. iimage Provided via creative commons license.

This revision of Bloom's Taxonomy suggests that it's never too late to revise old systems to make them work for 21st century learners. I think that we should have the same view when examining whether the current structures of our administrator preparation programs properly equip today’s administrators to work and thrive in the modern university.

In my opinion, we put future educational administration researchers and leaders at a disadvantage by not emphasizing technology as a means through which to learn and to create original pieces of research. Scholars have noted the absence of emphasis on technology in the field of educational administration + leadership, and Bloom’s New Digital Taxonomy may be one way that we can address this gap in curriculum.

Bloom’s New Digital Taxonomy is a helpful framework to consider when thinking about the kind of work we are asking educational administration students to produce and whether we are using technology sufficiently to reach the upper “levels” of the

We should have the same view when examining whether the current structures of our administrator preparation programs properly equip today's administrators to work in the modern university. We put future educational leaders at a disadvantage by not emphasizing technology as a means through which to learn and to create. Bloom's New Digital Taxonomy would be a helpful framework to consider when thinking about what kind of work we are asking studying educational administration to produce and whether or not we are sufficiently incorporating technology as a means of producing that work. 

Student Project Ideas

Ideas for student projects that incorporate technology could include:

  • Recording a podcast on administration and/or higher education issues

  • Publishing a blog to reflect on administrator learning in graduate school

  • Crafting an autoethnographic arts-based research project that explores the student's personal motivation for studying educational administration + leadership

  • Designing a multimedia presentation on the effects of organizational alienation

  • Writing an original essay, study, or literature review on a topic of the student's choosing

However, it’s important to note that introducing technology into the lives and schools of educational administrators does not automatically result in changes. As Cho (2016) notes, “Although technologies do offer schools many possibilities, no particular practices are guaranteed as a result of their adoption” (p. 840).

Do you think Bloom's New Digital Taxonomy is a useful framework that has the potential of improving educational administrator preparation programs? What are some ways to encourage students to create original pieces of research using technology?

Christine

References

Bloom's Taxonomy for the Digital World. Retrieved from https://www.fractuslearning.com/blooms-taxonomy-digital-print-table/

Bloom's Taxonomy Verbs. Retrieved from https://www.fractuslearning.com/blooms-taxonomy-verbs-free-chart/

Padagogy Wheel V5: https://designingoutcomes.com/assets/PadWheelV5/PW_ENG_V5.0_Apple_iOS_PRINT.pdf