28 April 2008


Decided to let my cats do my grading for me this semester.

So far I have given out a "dsf", an "xco" and three "qqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqq"s.

All in all, an improvement over last semester.

22 April 2008


The root of all evil. Well, at least of educational evil, of the grave disservice variety.

efficiency != quality

21 April 2008

Mootly's Taxonomy

Maybe the problem with Blooms is just that it is a list of words. Which then means that the words have to be standardized to have specific and exacting definitions that don't necessarily match the vernacular usage of those words, let alone across fields of study and levels of cognitive function.

I think the killer was the word "apply" which is considered a low-level operations. But think about the following:

  • Apply the varnish in long, even strokes.
  • You've got to apply yourself to this task.
  • I would like to apply for this position.
  • Apply the basic principles of sociology to discuss the following scenario ...
  • Apply defusing techniques to talk down an armed and distraught husband.
  • Apply the current readings on Marcuse to critique Schiller's analysis of the importance of aesthetic and play.

I hope you get the point. Each version requires a different level of function, and different skill sets.

Words in the English language do not always just serve one purpose. To force given words to each mean one thing in defining education only creates an artificial model of meaning that limits and delimits what can be talked about and what qualifies as education.

Neither one is beneficial, and neither one promotes educational advancement.

By the way, in my model, these would be P1/K1, simple encouragement, P1, F2/C2, P2/C2, C2/3. And I'll leave you to read my last post to find out what that all means.

15 April 2008

Taxonomy, Part 4

Okay, so it time for some definitions.

The Tiers

Tier 1: Assimilation
Assimilation covers the acquisition and comprehension of information, knowledge, and skills. Students will be able to evidence competence through the simple presentation of knowledge or learned skills.
Tier 2: Adaptation
Adaptation moves beyond simple acquisition and comprehension. Students will be able to apply their knowledge and skills to real world tasks that require them to be able to adapt their knowledge base or skill set to meet the demands of a given context. Students will be able to contribute constructively to the field.
Tier 3: Creation
Students will be able to make significant contributions to the field through the synthesis of new information, knowledge, skill sets, or understandings and interpretations of prior art. Students will be able to make significant contributions to the field through innovation and advancement.

The Domains

The domains are heavily interdependent, and thus are for point of reference. No skills or knowledge sets (beyond the act of rote memorization) will ever require advancement in just one domain.

Factual knowledge is the learning of simple facts. It is also the application of those facts to simple presentation or application of skills.
Conceptual knowledge is the ability to think through problems and analyze issues and topics.
Procedural knowledge refers to knowing how to do something. This might be the steps in a physical task or in a complicated math problem.
Social knowledge is the ability to function in society. At its simplest form, it is accepting the cultural norms of one's society. At more complicated levels, it involved thinking reflexively about such topics as ethics, morality, and social mechanisms.
Kinesthetic refers to physical components of learning. For instance, how to play a musical instrument, hold a paint brush, or operate a machine, or play a sport.

There, that is a better start. Complete with a corrected typo.

09 April 2008



American products ...


Well, that's a tough one ...

Hypocrisy ... no, that's readily available anywhere. Not something we have the market on.


Thermos! There we go, still made in the U.S. of A.

Video games! At least all the ones not being made in Japan and Korea.

Obesity! Oh wait, that's a by-product.


Sec sec sec ...

Star Trek movies!

Blow things up movies!

Debt! Buy our debt! Discounted this week only!

It's hard to dig yourself out when your primary commodity is consumption.

08 April 2008

Standing Down

The last of the old guard has fallen
And though other troops martial to stand in their stead
It is not the same somehow.
It never was, really.

Three in one year. I am worn to a nub.

Mr. Fripp: 1988-2008
Not a bad run for a little street urchin.

04 April 2008

Taxonomy, Part 3

Okay, a chart to map out what we have so far.

  Tier 1:
Tier 2:
Tier 3:
Factual Acquistion Evaluation Application
Conceptual Comprehension Analysis Synthesis
Procedural Presentation Analysis
Kinesthetic Performance   Creation

Yes, it's got big gaps in it, haven't gotten all that far yet. Perhaps what I need are keywords with a sense of where they fall in terms of ranges instead of discrete locations.

But the three tiers now move for taking in information, to working with it, to creating novel forms of knowledge, information, and practice.

02 April 2008

Taxonomy, Part 2

As I think about it, I can see a need to revise my taxonomy a little.

Tier 1: Knowledge discovery

  1. Acquisition (information)
  2. Comprehension (knowledge)
  3. Presentation

Tier 2: Knowledge-working

  1. Evaluation
  2. Analysis
  3. Contribution

Tier 3: Knowledge creation

  1. Application
  2. Synthesis
  3. Creation

That gives us three sets of three, each its own path.

But that isn't really what concerns me. The problem with this list is that it has the same flaw as Bloom's. It only addresses cognitive learning, and in a model that assumes a simple path from factual knowledge to meta-cognitive knowledge.

So what types of knowledge are there? If we listen to the experts (okay, I'll listen to the experts this time instead of arguing with them), we have:

  • Cognitive
    • factual
    • conceptual
    • procedural
    • meta-cognitive
  • Affective
  • Psychomotor

Bloom's is just concerned with the first item, and assumes, as I complained about before, that the ability to think through at the meta-cognitive level is in some way a higher order of cognition than being able to act on these thoughts. My argument was that, in the end, it always has to come back to application. Otherwise, what's the point? So I bring it back to application first as presentation, then as contribution to the body of knowledge, then as creation of new knowledge.

But now that I think about it, it seems that we have six knowledges to deal with:

  • factual
  • conceptual
  • procedural
  • reflexive/abstract
  • behavioral
  • kinesthetic

In any taxonomy of learning, all these need to be taken into account.

Fast, where does the following learned skill fall into Bloom's taxonomy?

Students will hold a pen, pencil or other sketching tool in a balanced posture that allows for the hand to move the utensil smoothly across the drawing surface.

Get the point?

Maybe it is missing from the list because it is not a significant accomplishment. (And maybe you need an artist to come over and kick you in the kneecaps. That'll learn ya.)

There is more to learning than knowledge, and a matrix that does not fit easily into a grid since these things don't always interrelate cleanly.

But now that I have fuel for the fire, I am going to try anyway.

Next time though. That is my rant for today.