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Evaluating Lesson Plans: Digital Bloom's

Evaluating Lesson Plans: Digital Bloom's

Author: Trisha Fyfe

This lesson will provide learners with ways to critically evaluate lesson plans through the lens of Digital Bloom's.

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Source: Image of light bulb, Public Domain, http://pixabay.com/en/the-light-bulb-light-bulb-lighting-349400/; Image of Digital Bloom’s, Creative Commons, http://faculty.indstate.edu/spenney/bdt.htm

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Welcome to a tutorial on evaluating lesson plans using Digital Bloom's. In today's tutorial, we will be discussing the following question. How do I evaluate my use of Digital Bloom's in my teaching? How can I apply Digital Bloom's to my teaching and do a self-assessment on where I am in using this tool. Let's start with a quick review of Digital Bloom's.

Remember, Digital Bloom's is a model, and in this model we use verbs to show how learning can take place at each level, each of the six levels starting from the bottom, low-level thinking skills and moving up. Remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. Instead of the standard verbs that are used in the revised Bloom's Taxonomy, we work with activities that incorporate use of digital or Web 2.0 tools.

So maybe at that very bottom low-level thinking skill, we might have our students do a Google search, a basic search online. While at the top of the pyramid, at that highest level of thinking skills, we could have our students create a blog or a Wikispace and share that online for collaboration of students across the world. It's important to know that you might be working only in one of the levels of Digital Bloom's. Or you may have a unit or lesson that encompasses all six of those levels throughout the entire lesson.

Now that we understand what Digital Bloom's looks like, we need to apply this to our very own teaching. So let's look at some questions we can use as teachers to guide us through a self-evaluation of where are we with Digital Bloom's. First, did I use Digital Bloom's verbs? Am I asking my students to do the appropriate tasks using tools that are technological at each of these six steps, or maybe one or two of the steps?

Are my use of technology skills appropriate? So am I having students do, at that very low-level thinking skill, something that is actually using the appropriate tool, not one that's too advanced or complicated for the low-level thinking skill? Let's dive a little deeper into these ideas. Remember Goldilocks? The porridge was too hot, not hot enough, or just right, the bed too soft, too hard, or just right.

Put yourself in her shoes as you evaluate the use of technology for Digital Bloom's. And it might sound crazy, but it actually works. Not enough technology in a sample lesson plan using writing a persuasive essay as a content area might look something like this. Discussing what students know about persuasion and then reading a handout about writing a persuasive essay, having students list topics as a large group, and then having students choose one of these topics to actually write a three-paragraph essay.

Notice here that there is no technology, no tools used in this lesson whatsoever. So here we do not have enough technology for Digital Bloom's. On the other hand, on the other end of the spectrum, we have a lesson that has too much. The sample learning plan is the same content area, write a persuasive essay. But instead here we'll start off by having students search using Google, what is a persuasive essay? And then they'll create a typed document with three to five findings from the search.

After that, they will watch a YouTube video on persuasive essays, and then have them do an advanced Google search on topic ideas. The next step would be to have students type their essay using PowerPoint to present essays to the class with each part of the essay on a different side. After that, we would go even further and have students record PowerPoints and share online.

So here, every step of the way we're using technology, which may not be a bad thing in some instances. But most of the time, this would be way too much. Let's look at one that's right in the middle, that just right spot. So here we have a lesson plan in that just right spot-- the same content area, writing a persuasive essay-- that includes discussing what students know about persuasion. And reasons for persuading is the first step.

And then the students will review in small groups the steps to writing an essay, so bringing in that past learning and prior knowledge. Third, we will have students search online for topic ideas, maybe discussing these ideas as a whole class. Next we might have students use one of these ideas to write a three-paragraph essay and then create PowerPoints of their essays with each part on a different slide. The last step would be presenting the PowerPoint essays to a class. Here we have used some technology throughout this lesson but not gone overboard.

Let's do a review of what we learned in today's tutorial. We explored this question together. How do I evaluate my use of Digital Bloom's in my teaching? And as a reminder, I gave you the six levels of Digital Bloom's used for incorporating that technology into your classroom in each of those thinking skill levels, going from low level at the bottom to high level at the top in that create section.

We also asked ourselves with a sample lesson of writing a persuasive essay, did we apply too little technology, too much technology, or were we in that just right spot? And that's where you want to strive to be as a teacher. You want to be in that just right spot. Going back to this idea, I would also like to make it clear that you really can create your own guiding questions to evaluate a lesson that incorporates this Digital Bloom's model and the verbs for Digital Bloom's.

For example, maybe something like, are your students using the right digital tools to complete the tasks given? Are you using appropriate tools? Or maybe, are you trying to reach a certain level in Bloom's, and are the digital elements getting you there? So feel free to phrase the questions or reword them however you want as long as you are evaluating your use of Digital Bloom's in your teaching.

I enjoyed diving into the Digital Bloom's model with you again today, and I really hope that you are able to use these tools in your lessons in your very own classrooms. Let's apply these ideas. Who can you collaborate with to help you evaluate your use of Digital Bloom's? What might the challenges be in self-evaluation regarding Digital Bloom's?

For more information on how to apply what you've learned in this video, please view the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The Additional Resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource.

Notes on "Evaluating Lesson Plans: Digital Bloom's"


(00:00- 00:20) Introduction/objectives

(00:21- 01:24) Review of Digital Blooms/verbs

(01:25- 02:07) Process for evaluation- guiding questions

(02:08- 04:47) Evaluation of a sample lesson plan

(04:48- 06:42) Review/Reflection

Additional Resources

Bloom's Digital Taxonomy Guide

This is a complete guide from Montgomery County Public Schools on using Digital Bloom's to design and evaluate lessons. In this guidebook, Digital Bloom's and UbD are blended in the development of exemplars that can help guide your instruction and design practices.

Applying Bloom's Digital Taxonomy to Lesson Plans

This site provides instruction on applying Digital Bloom's to lesson planning. In addition, there is a Digital Bloom's activity analyzer that you may find useful as you evaluate your lessons and instruction.