Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Art of Creating

One of my favorite guides for learning in the classroom is Bloom's Digital Taxonomy.  It's a clear and simple guide that shows how learners can demonstrate what they've learned.  This post from Edudemic quickly explains how digital tools can help bring this to life in your classroom right now.  There are many digital tools that can help students acquire knowledge, organize understanding, apply thinking in different contexts, analyze the work of others, evaluate content, and create something that demonstrates their learning.  The most comprehensive guide I found is available on a wiki titled "Educational Oragami." It offers a wealth of links and documents that will help you with a single lesson or guide your planning of a more elaborate learning project.

The beauty lies in creation.  Think of something that fascinated you recently.  Maybe it was a video, song, building, website, article or new business in your local community.  The final product was a collection of work that demonstrated that person's thinking and expressed a learning outcome that could be dissected using Blooms Taxonomy.  Some fascinating things are happy accidents and fortunate mistakes but there remains a lesson to be learned.  Creation is the the apex of learning because it requires a strong foundation.

Here's an example.  I watched a remixed video of Bob Ross (on PBS Digital Studios Youtube channel) and thought about what it would take to create something like this.  It requires all levels of Bloom's Digital Taxonomy.  For me, it starts with remembering information about Bob Ross and his show, The Joys of Painting.  Then, I must understand the most important parts (themes) of his painting process; for this I chose his idea of an open canvas being anything you can imagine and the beauty of his "happy accidents."  Applying this understanding into a timeline or sequencing map will encourage my analysis of multiple episodes while I evaluate what clips will ultimately be most helpful in my final product.  Creating is engaging activity that requires all kinds of applied thinking.  And look at what Mr. Ross is creating in the process!

Here is an alternate way to view the taxonomy.  It flips the model and begins with creating and although I don't think creating is the best way to start, I like it because I think it operates under the assumption that learners possess the skills necessary to create, which includes prior knowledge and previous experiences.  If you choose to begin a project or activity with creating, then you should have a pretty good idea of the kind of thing you want to create.  Check out this post on Mind/Shift to see how the flipped taxonomy can work.

However you choose to guide the creation process in your classroom, you should consider some method to channel thinking in a purposeful manner toward the desired outcome.  Need an idea for something to design?  PBS Kids has quickly become my current favorite idea generator site.  Check it out.  Happy building!