Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thinking about Thinking

Some stray thoughts are going around in my head tonight. Snippets of conversations, blog posts, Twitters, emails and other events have got me to thinking about thinking. You could say I was having a De Bono 'Blue Hat' moment.

I came across this video 'We Think' by Charles Leadbeater, for the first time today and played it to students as an example of how to communicate effectively using simple text and graphics, and also as an example of new modes of thinking and learning in collaborative and creative ways. The term 'We think, therefore we are' is found within the work, a more updated version of Descartes 'I think therefore I am'.

I also revisited Blooms Taxonomy through receiving an email from Open Education who have written a summary of Andrew Church's work to do with 'Blooms Taxonomy and the Digital World'. This work is a great resource and provides additional material to support digital modes of learning and assessment aligned with the revised version of Blooms Taxonomy. Excellent rubrics for using digital tools are shared including such tasks as 'Blog journaling' and 'Threaded discussion'. I am keen to adapt these for my current classes to give them a greater sense of what is expected from the use of digital tools in the learning process.

The issue of plagiarism and how to deal with it within an educational environment came up today via a colleague on our school E-Learning For Life Ning. Beverley's post, 'If you've never plagiarized, cast the first stone....' asks for proactive input and ideas as to how we can reshape our educational objectives (back to Blooms again) to foster better academic practice rather than be reactionary and have to impose sanctions for misdemeanors.

So what do I think about all this? I think originality and creativity rule. I think learning to collaborate and interact with other people, not just in the same room but internationally, also rules. I think we can turn educational practices around by not just talking about Bloom's Taxonomy but actually applying it. I think Bloom's Taxonomy can be enhanced by the use of digital tools and, as Andrew has done, a whole new set of verbs such as blogging and podcasting lead us into exciting and more engaged activities for students and teachers. I think Dan Pink is right, creative people will rule the world. I think we do not focus on creativity enough in schools....too much focus on getting the answer right. I think current assessment methods often do not foster student-centred learning. I think I have thought enough today........

What do you think??

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Frank's Blog said...

Julie, I love the Thinking Hats and have trained my teachers with that wonderful process to open up students' thinking a bit more. I couldn't agree with you more about creativity, collaboration, and using Bloom's ... all of that adds up to also working with teachers and students (and others) to give more chances to develop right-brain skills. Even though we are well into the 21st Century and we have enough indicators to know better, we seem to be stuck in left-brain predominant ways of teaching and leaning. So, I think the challenge as educators is to start taking some educated risks that promote moving from left to middle, and maybe a little more to the right of our brains. Perhaps edutech professionals are a bit ahead of others in this area, but the critical mass is just not there yet.

I agree with Dan Pink when he says that there is a shift from the Informational Age to the Conceptual Age (Creative Economics). We need more holistic, conceptual, intuitive, imaginative, non-verbal thinking to help balance things out a bit.

Lots of obstacles, however. Many administrators, teachers, school boards, and parents still believe that left-brain schooling is best.

Joan Vinall-Cox said...

What a great video! Thanks so much for sharing it.

Mark Monaghan said...

I feel creativity is a growing problem (well lack of it). By the time students get part way through secondary school we seem to have reprogrammed them to take few risks and hence their creativity is restricted. I found this great video the other week that really brought this issue to the forefront of my thinking once again:


It is quite entertaining but has some excellent points.

Anonymous said...

Any chance someone could post the video on TeacherTube? Youtube is blocked at my school board.