Monday, 1 July 2013

The Awakening of Thought Through Blogging - Bloom's Taxonomy and Commenting

It was only recently I drew a link between Bloom's Taxonomy and the art of commenting on blogs. It's not that it wasn't there "staring me in the face" so to speak. It's just I hadn't connected the two until writing a comment on one class's blog. Which class blog? It was the Grade 3 students from a school in Calgary, Canada.

Global Grade 3 - a.k.a. Battalion Hawk Bloggers

Let's look at the above diagram. It was a grey scale public domain diagram sourced through Wikimedia Commons but I added colour shades to represent the "enlightening of thought".

How might Bloom's Taxonomy apply to blog commenting?

As for most things in life, I don't claim expertise in any area but have a curiosity about many so much of what I write is opinion but isn't that the case for many experiences in education? :)

My latest Extended Comment was for the Battalion Hawk Bloggers and their final post before end of school year vacation. 

Here is a link... Passing the Torch – A Metaphor for life’s learning journey for Battalion Hawk Bloggers and Beyond


There are posts with a simple message. I visit blogs where children are praised for what they have accomplished. At this first order of commenting, I might simply reinforce the praise.
Example: Being a neat writer is an important skill. Well done. :) 

Other blog posts are more complex. Something in a post might trigger a recall of information relevant in some way to the post. From the initial recall, I check my facts and search for extra information. I move to the next order of thought.
From my "Passing the Torch" extended comment: It was the metaphor used by Battalion Park Bloggers that interested me. I wanted to look more at it and its implications. At the Remembering level, I identified and defined the metaphor.


Some posts give extra details or children share some of their work. One young student particularly requested readers make inferences from the story she shared. For others, they end their posts by asking questions of the reader. Questions invite answers and answers show the blogger what was shared was understood.
Example:  Your report is well written. I found your information helpful but wondered, could you really learn a new language in such a short time?

Continuing the idea of creating a more complex comment, at this level I start considering how the information I gather might be of use to the comment under construction. It's at this stage I might start seeing different directions the comment might take.
From my "Passing the Torch" extended comment: With the metaphor identified and defined, I wanted to stimulate thought on the meaning so I questioned if we really pass the torch.
Rather than passing on our torch do we share the light with the new so their torches grow brighter and in the process kindle ours and prepare it to grow brighter still as we continue our learning journey?


Now we are moving onto a comment level where we're not simply responding to what is written. A comment might include suggestions based on what appears in the blog.
Example: I found your way of working out multiplication interesting. I have tried your method and found it worked. Thanks for sharing such a good idea.

For the more complex comment, this is where I might start applying facts or other data to draw Diagrams, pictures or charts as well as video, audio or photographs relevant to the post.
From my "Passing the Torch" extended comment: I now made use of found quotes I thought relevant.  They were there for the analysis stage.
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the single candle will not be shortened.” Buddha


This is where I believe an extended comment separates from a simple comment. By this stage there are probably diagrams, pictures, charts, video, audio and/or photographs to be included. Such inclusions are generally not permitted in comments on student blogs.
Now I look at the information and start to organise and look for links to build on an idea.

From my "Passing the Torch" extended comment: With the quotes in place, I then drew their relevance into the comment.
"The teacher kindles the torches of many during a career and in the process their own torch grows brighter. It’s the interaction with students that fuels their fire and thirst for learning and sharing. A little of themself is passed on to future generations in the process."


In the creation stage, I look for ways of combining information and using it to extend the learning for the blogging students. This can mean moving beyond the main topic of a post.

From my "Passing the Torch" extended comment:  With the idea we don't really pass the torch, we only brighten the torches of those who follow as we carry our torch forward, I wanted to apply this thought in another direction. I wanted to explain we carry our torch throughout life, i.e. our metaphorical torch is essentially our personal learning journey through life.
Drawing in my situation as a retired teacher, "I sought ways of being involved by writing for the young and sharing as a volunteer working with children but my torch has grown all the more brighter for the interactions I have shared through blogging. I have become a virtual teacher in the classrooms of many and in doing so have learned much more.
Our torch only truly grows dim when we close our minds to new knowledge and if we fail to share with others."


I left this till last but evaluating occurs when Analysing and Creating, and to a lesser degree when applying. I can at times be my own harshest critic as I question what I write. Self doubt can be a factor here.

From this post: In the process of writing this post, I had edited out a number of lines of thought or the way I was putting my case forward. In then end, if I see merit, I decide to publish a comment. Responses to my extended comments can show me if others see any merit or errors and I can respond. At times in some of my extended comments, I have modified my post and in others defended my choices. I don't claim to be an expert in any field but I do have opinions. Whether feedback is positive or critical, it also is part of a learning journey.

At the stage I also often add a statement to summarise my post. For the "Passing the Torch" extended comment, I wrote, "The torch has been shared and we have all grown from the experiences kindling our own."

So how does anything in this post directly apply to students?

I wouldn't expect young students to make any links to these levels of thinking but that doesn't mean they can't use them. I don't need to understand how power is generated and reaches the classroom but I do know how to turn on a light. For students, I had prepared some simple picture messages in the hope they can help guide their blogging and commenting skills. These can be used by schools or students if teachers find them of use.