We are going to spend a couple weeks working on writing objectives based on CDE standards. In particular, we are going to develop your ability to write high-level, 21st century objectives that incorporate technology in a transforming way (i.e. adding value to a lesson rather than being the lesson). Each of your upcoming projects (digital story, mini-lesson, Wikipedia project, and your final project) will be based on a standard of your choice and an objective.
Before we delve into standards and objectives we are going to explore Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. The original taxonomy was developed in the 1950s and has become a staple of education. In order to address some of its shortcomings it was revised in 2002. The below article will give you some of the background and an overview of the revised taxonomy. It is not meant to develop a complete and deep understanding of Bloom’s but to give us some criteria to guide us in writing objectives as well as evaluate objectives.
I will use the 6th grade social studies standard 1.2.b. This is an example related to the upcoming digital storytelling project to be posted soon.
1.2.b – Determine and explain the historical context of key people, events, and ideas over time including the examination of different perspectives from people involved. Topics to include but not limited to Aztec, Maya, Inca, Inuit, early Native American cultures of North America, major explorers, colonizers of countries in the Western Hemisphere, and the Columbian Exchange. (From CDE)
Keep in mind that not all standards will lend themselves to a digital story. Be selective in the standards you select for tech integration as well the tech you use.
Objective – After conducting research on an early American civilization of their choice (condition), 6th grade students (audience) will select an event of historical significance and create (behavior) a digital story and a storyboard for planning that retells the event in such a way as to accurately portray what is known about the event and the people involved from two or more perspectives (degree).
This one objective does not fully meet the above standard as it does not address all the topics mentioned but most teachers would break the various topics out into units over the course of the year. It can, however, meet additional standards such as 1.1.b depending on how the lesson is structured.
1.1.b – Interpret documents and data from multiple primary and secondary sources while formulating historical questions. Sources to include but not limited to art, artifacts, eyewitness accounts, letters and diaries, artifacts, real or simulated historical sites, charts, graphs, diagrams and written texts. (From CDE)
In order to fully implement such a lesson there would need to be a detailed lesson plan covering how and when the students will conduct the research, select an event, create the storyboard, film or draw and scan images, assemble the final story and a rubric detailing the various expectations for the research process, the storyboard and final product. There would also need to be some discussion time with students to help guide them in their exploration of different perspectives. We’ll discuss these issues more later.
Contrast the above objective with the following:
Objective – After completing the assigned reading (textbook, websites), students will create a PowerPoint detailing at least ten major events in the history of their assigned early American civilization.
Few teachers would actually go to the trouble of writing an objective for a project like this which is part of the problem. Once written down, it sounds pretty pointless. The resulting projects would be largely comprised of bullet points of key names, dates and events (kind of like the cloud project). In essence, a summary of their reading which does not really address the standard at all. Nothing in the standard says anything about extracting and recalling details. However, this has been a fairly common approach to using technology (adaptive in Porter’s terms). Instead of doing a worksheet like they likely did in the past, the teacher opts for a tech project. This lesson would result in the tech becoming the focus and the content secondary as it’s used to fill up the powerpoint. Student engagement with the tech is often high but content engagement and critical thinking is low or non-existent. The other issue is lack of alignment with the standard. Many teachers interpret the above standard to mean read about and remember on a test. That may have been the norm in the pre-standards era but as standards are continually revised and refined they are moving away from factual content (though there are still specific skills to be learned) toward higher order thinking skills.
In your reflection, discuss any aspect of Bloom’s Taxonomy and how it might relate to standards and objectives and/or your thoughts about the above examples. Keep in mind there is an upcoming reading more directly related to writing objectives so it is okay if you feel a bit unsure about the how/why at this point.