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Knowing Everything and Students with Names

This post is in response to a Newsweek article titled “What if You Could Learn Everything” “Imagine every student has a tireless personal tutor, an artificially intelligent and inexhaustible companion that magically knows everything, knows the student, and helps her learn what she needs to know.”   Jose Ferreira, the CEO of Knewton, has made this artificially intelligent companion a reality for k-12 students.  He has partnered with three curriculum companies including Pearson, MacMillan, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as part of his vision for making Knewton the adaptive learning tool that will make textbooks obsolete.   This “adaptive learning will help each user find the exact right piece of content needed, in the exact right format, at the exact right time, based on previous patterns of use…  Knewton, at base, is a recommendation engine but for learning. Rather than the set of all Web pages or all movies, the learning data set is, more or less, the universe of all facts. For example, a single piece of data in the engine might be the math fact that a Pythagorean triangle has sides in the ratio 3-4-5, and you can multiply those numbers by any whole number to get a new set of side lengths for this type of triangle.” Knewton works as you might suspect, it begins with a test to see what a student already knows.  Content is pulled in the form of reading and videos to teach the student the things that they do not know.  This is similar to what many other “personalized” adaptive learning systems are doing.  What makes Knewton stand apart is the way that the technology “reads” the student.  As the student is learning, the technology is recording timing, confidence, tabulating each keystroke, and whether the student is guessing or taking their time to answer questions.  So, the more that a student interacts with Knewton, the smarter it becomes and the better that the study recommendations get. When I see technology like Knewton, it astounds me.  I am always excited about technology that has the potential to improve learning and that feels seamless for humans to interact with.  While the geek in me rejoices that someone is tackling a project this substantial to increase learning, the educator in me is disappointed.  Knewton is all about knowing things. It is about facts.  But, is it really worth all of the effort for technology to train humans to be computers?  I mean, that is essentially what this is doing, no?  We are creating a new factory model, this time the technology is programming us.  Ironically, this is exactly what Knewton’s CEO is working to overcome. Don’t get me wrong, there are things that are worth knowing.  Important, foundational things that shape the rest of what we are able to do.  But, who gets to determine what is foundational and essential for a student to know?  As far as I’m concerned, most curriculum companies are already overreaching in what every single child MUST know.  So, with the vast amount of knowledge available in the world, how do we determine what is really critical for us as a society to know?  The rest of it, while interesting and important, is not necessarily worth forcing.  Even the title of the article, “What if You Could Learn Everything?” makes me cringe.  I don’t want to know everything.  I don’t want to be so crammed full of facts that I can rock a game of Trivial Pursuit, but I can’t actually DO anything useful. My bigger problem is that once again, we are introducing a tool into education that intends to personalize the learning experience for the student, and in doing so, strips away their humanity.  You see that don’t you?  This is turning children into computers and fact recallers. But students have names.  They have stories.  Teachers have a different kind of urgency to make things better because we begin and end with students who have names.  This goes beyond the altruistic, “wouldn’t it be great if education worked better” motivation of politicians and curriculum companies who have the ultimate goal of improving our  rank in math and science.  As a teacher, you deal in humanity.  You are concerned with the life that is being shaped.  You want kids to know that they are more than the collection of facts that they have memorized.  The are unique and have something important to offer the world.  That they matter.  Humanity. So, while I find the concept behind Knewton fascinating, it isn’t what I want for education.  It may fill a need for a piece of the puzzle (namely the foundational knowledge piece), but it isn’t going to make education better if it becomes education.  Being educated is more than just knowing facts (and I’ll remind you again that we already have computers for that).  Being educated means that a child can make connections, synthesize, analyze, evaluate, apply, create something new.  It is learning that is applied. Technology will play a critical role in the evolution of the classroom.  The role will be different from what Knewton offers.  Instead of assuming that all kids need is facts, the technology will recognize and embrace the humanity.  It will offer more than one way to learn, because while some kids will really enjoy sitting and reading, watching videos and taking an online multiple choice test, others will want to try out a concept through experimentation.  They will want to build something new with their knowledge, or launch further investigation into a concept, or take a field trip and see the learning for themselves.  Learning cannot be reduced to a computer.  This changes the recommendation engine and relies heavily on skilled educators.  This takes into account who a student really is and makes learning recommendations based on that.  The recommendations aren’t relegated to a computer, they can be field trips, videos, apps, projects, activities, experiments, books, and anything else that can be used to learn.  This is utilizing technology for personalization beyond pacing and content exposure to pass the next multiple choice test.  This is empowering teachers to truly shape the learning experience for each student.  This is recognizing that students should have a say in how and what they will learn.  This is why I created the Learning Genome Project. The Learning Genome Project recognizes that learning is more than just a collection of facts.  It embraces humanity and rejects the idea that humans should be computers.  It will be transformative because it works to make each student the best that they, individually, can be.  It works to strengthen the WHOLE child, not just the fact reservoirs in the brain.  It goes beyond remembering content and challenges students to do something with their knowledge.  I can’t tell you how many students I have met that know their multiplication facts inside and out, but have no idea why finding area requires multiplication.  Knowledge is useful when it can be applied.  The Learning Genome Project urges students to go beyond knowing into the other, rich areas of learning.  Blooms Taxonomy is a useful for thinking through what it means to learn.  Knowledge and understanding are a portion of the learning, but so is the ability to analyze, evaluate, apply and create.  Learning is multifaceted and alive.  It can’t be so neatly all contained in this sort of adaptive learning technology.  Education should utilize technology (I tend to believe this will be the Learning Genome Project) in order to reach the individual.  It must reach outside of itself and meet that student with a name.  It must be able to recognize a student’s need without demanding that the need be met with a predetermined question/answer set. This post took me some days to think through and write.  It spurred some new thinking for me.  It made me go back through the Learning Genome Project wireframes to dig out any hidden corners that may harbor something that would strip the humanity.  It caused me to think of a new Bloom’s Taxonomy image.  I welcome your thoughts and comments! Hat tip to @alexbitz for sending me this article! **If you know an investor who might be interested in the Learning Genome Project, I’d love an introduction!

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Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Blogs, Blooms Taxonomy, Create, Evaluate, Knowledge (remember), Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Web2.0 | Posted on 30-08-2010

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Tomorrow I am doing a training on the Treasures Supplement that I created over the summer.  Most of the supplemental suggestions fall into the bottom two tiers of Bloom’s Taxonomy (Remember and Understand).  I want to show teachers that just because these activities help students practice basic skills and remember and understand, there are SO many more options that will reach the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy!  I created the Bloomin’ Peacock to show teachers the Blooms Taxonomy break down and the Bloomin’ digital Peacock that shows how the digital tools in the supplement break down.

Below are the tools listed in my Bloomin’ Digital Peacock

Bloomin' Digital Peacock

Remember:

BBC Skillwise- http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/

Spelling City- http://spellingcity.com

Starfall- http://starfall.com

Discovery Streaming- http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com

Lexipedia- http://lexipedia.com

YouTube- http://youtube.com

Gamegoo- http://www.earobics.com/gamegoo/gooey.html

PBS Kids- http://pbskids.org

Understand:

Into the Book- http://reading.ecb.org

Skype- http://skype.com

Treasures- http://activities.macmillanmh.com/reading/treasures/

Book Adventure- http://bookadventure.org

Twitter- http://twitter.com

Apply:

Kerpoof- http://kerpoof.com

PhotoBooth- Software

Scholastic- http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/learn.jsp

Fotobabble- http://fotobabble.com

Google Earth- http://google.com/earth

Analyze:

Read Write Think- http://readwritethink.org

Cool Iris- http://cooliris.com

Wordle- http://wordle.net

Creaza- http://creaza.com

Mindomo- http://mindomo.com

Evaluate:

Shelfari- http://shelfari.com

Wikipedia- http://wikipedia.com

Think.com- http://think.com

Nota- http://notaland.com

Create:

Pic-Lits- http://piclits.com

Kerpoof- http://kerpoof.com

ZimmerTwins- http://zimmertwins.com

Wiki Spaces- http://wikispaces.com

DomoNation- http://domonation.com

Glogster- http://edu.glogster.com

Creaza- http://creaza.com

Voicethread- http://voicethread.com

Kidblog- http://kidblog.org

Wetpaint- http://www.wetpaint.com

edublogs- http://edublogs.org

Stage’d- http://stagedproject.com/

Garageband- Software

iMovie- Software

I have received a lot of requests and DM’s for the Bloomin’ Peacock on posters (I’m still working on these), mugs, etc.  For those of you who asked, here it is:

Comments (83)

[…] have just learned of the work by Kelly Tenkely (http://ilearntechnology.com/ ) and her Bloomin’ Digital Peacock. This is a fabulous resource for teachers, both novice and expert. Any discussion around web 2.0 […]

[…] Bloom’s taxonomy is instrumental in helping us to develop guidelines for the creation of appropriate objectives and their supporting instructional strategies. Not all objectives are the same. Different objectives focus on different performances and outcomes. Different types of objectives require different types of strategies. Instructional design is made easier by assigning learning objectives to different categories. Each category leads to a different class of human performance and also requires a different set of instructional conditions for effective learning. By correctly identifying the learning level of an objective, strategies can then be developed to ensure that the content is presented clearly and appropriately for E-learning, and that the instruction will be effective. […]

I am in LOVE of your site and JEALOUS we don’t have you on staff for training and ideas!!

We are trying to put together an online document for Multiple Intelligences and we have been brainstorming several different ideas. I found your bloomin’ peacock and loved it. Do you have a printable version or an interactive version of the web 2.0 tools one with live links? If so, are you willing to share?

:D Thanks Stacy!
I do have a printable version of my peacocks, you can purchase a printable version from my store http://ilearntechnology.com/?page_id=2875 , all 8 posters are bundled for $0.99. If you want to use them school wide it is $20.99. The interactive version is online only in the form of this post.

[…] http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=2973 This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← ALTERNATIVES TO YOUTUBE […]

[…] Bloomin’ Peacock […]

[…] Bloomin’ Peacock, Bloomin’ Pinwheel, Un-bloom-ra, Bloomin’ Tree (these are Web 2.0 tools that have been divided into Bloom’s Taxonomy… but the idea is great!!!!) All Shakespeare info compiled from Wikipedia, Blurtit, Brandon Powell, & Yahoo Answers.  Consider extending the Shakespeare activity by asking the question, “How has Shakespeare influenced modern day society?”. Students can extend the web with more topics and descriptions: […]

[…] Bloomin’ Peacock, Bloomin’ Pinwheel, Un-bloom-ra, Bloomin’ Tree (these are Web 2.0 tools that have been divided into Bloom’s Taxonomy… but the idea is great!!!!). These could be used in conjunction with many of the iPad lessons listed. […]

[…] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock Kelly Tenkeley published the Bloomin' Digital Pacock on the iLearn Technology blog Source: ilearntechnology.com […]

[…] http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=2973 This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← WORDLE!!!! […]

[…] Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock […]

[…] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock Source: ilearntechnology.com […]

[…] Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock […]

[…] iLearn Technology » Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock […]

[…] iLearn Technology » Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock […]

Kelly,
I have found this resource the day before I am supposed to give a PD day on HOTS and SMART. I absolutely love your resources and will be sharing with my colleagues-I need to spend more time here!
Thank you for sharing-you rock.

So glad you found it in time to be helpful!

[…] Next up, a visually pleasing peacock. I like the peacock concept a lot, though in some cases some of the tools are hard to read on the graphic, the original author has links to all of the tools she mentioned on her site. […]

[…] Next up, a visually pleasing peacock. I like the peacock concept a lot, though in some cases some of the tools are hard to read on the graphic, the original author has links to all of the tools she mentioned on her site. […]

[…] Blooming Peacock […]

[…] and also on Kelly Tenkely’s iLearn Technology blog at  http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=2973 The traditional version also has six levels – Knowledge Comprehension Application Analysis […]

[…] Next up, a visually pleasing peacock. I like the peacock concept a lot, though in some cases some of the tools are hard to read on the graphic, the original author has links to all of the tools she mentioned on her site. […]

[…] website http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=2973 also has many great examples of web applications to fit each tier of Bloom’s Taxonomy in our […]

Do you still have the posters of the peacock? I would love to buy a set but can’t seem to find where.

Thank you!!

[…] instruction. There is much here about the actual processes of learning including a recent link “iLearn Technology” (http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=2973) and a blog with a wonderful visual representation of […]

Hi Amanda,
Yes, instead of hosting the files and selling directly myself, you can find them on Teachers Pay Teachers.

I love your blooming peacock. As you know, research shows that a learner is more likely to remember and use what they have learned if they have a visual representation and have experienced or played with the material. I think your peacock has some great tools for students to expand their thinking.

[…] Kelly Tenkely has produced a Livebinder of resources about the Digital Bloom’s Taxonomy. In addition to links to sites which explain and elaborate on Bloom’s Revised Digital Taxonomy for Higher Order Thinking in the classroom, there are also pages of further links for each level – with suggested activities and online tools or resources which can be used in schools. This includes her graphic visual “Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock.” […]

[…] of inquiry and problem solving. Andrew Churches from Educational Origami and Kelly Tenkely from iLearn Technology have adapted Bloom’s Taxonomy to digital technology. Their ideas will help you determine how you […]

Where can our district purchase Blooms Posters???

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