Using the tried-and-true model in the modern world.

In the middle of the last century, a committee led by American educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom designed a set of hierarchical models. These models divide learning objectives for students into levels of complexity and energy. With these levels, one could identify relatively quickly and easily what stage a student was in their journey to master new skills. The taxonomy consists of six stages: remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create.

For Bloom and his team, the concepts were enough, but not for the people wanting to work with them. Soon, visual versions of the taxonomy emerged. After all, a picture says more than a thousand words. The most common visualization is a pyramid “with the goal on top”, but there are others too: a flower, a tree, a dial. Some grouped three concepts into a “higher order” and the remaining three into a “lower order”. There are also visualizations without any hierarchy at all. Opinions vary as to which system is the most efficient. Ultimately, they all have their advantages and disadvantages.

6 Bloom Concepts x 6 BigBlueButton Tools - a Highly Versatile Learning Method

Whichever Bloom taxonomy visualization you prefer, with the BigBlueButton’s virtual classrooms, you have the powerful tools for applying Bloom’s taxonomy in your online class. As covered below, BigBlueButton provides you with six tools: polling, chat, emoji, shared notes, multi-user whiteboard, and breakout rooms. Indeed, there is also a seventh tool: Smart Slides.

The functions of BigBlueButton viewed through the lens of Bloom's taxonomy

Let’s assume that you want to teach your students about apples. Of course, they know their favorites such as the sweet Gala, the crisp Red Delicious and the fresh-sour Granny Smith. In Canada, we cultivate no less than 40 different apple varieties, and you can do more with apples than simply eat them.

Smart Slides

To prepare your online class, you have a presentation that introduces the children to the different apple varieties, in which provinces they are cultivated, how they should be stored and prepared. Some varieties go best in a compote, others are preferred for juicing and still others for drying. In your slides, you can ask questions such as:

Which one is not an Apple?
  1. Granny Smith
  2. Uncle Albert
  3. Macintosh
  4. Golden Delicious

BigBlueButton will automatically give you a A/B/C/D button for a four choice slide.  Ok, let’s see how to apply this to Blooms Taxonomy. 

Poll & Remember

Without leaving your presentation, with Smart Pools you ask your students which apples they think are ideal for cider. Do they get the answer right? Then a smiling emoji may follow as a reward. The playful and approachable nature of a poll makes the task fun for the child and the material easier to memorize.

You can also create a pool that asks the user to type in a response (you need only provide the question), such as “What is the sweetest apple?” and view the responses.

Chat or Multi-User Whiteboard & Understand

Want to find out if the children have understood the material correctly? Consider showing them a picture of four apples and ask them to type in the apples in order of sweetness in the chat. Alternatively, consider the multi-user whiteboard and ask them to write a 1, 2, 3 or 4 next to each apple to indicate which one is the sweetest. Here too, emojis may make the exercise more appealing.

Breakout room, Apply & Analyze

At some stage, you will probably want your students to work together in smaller groups. BigBlueButton offers you the ability to put your students into breakout rooms. Analogous to dividing your class into teams in a physical school room – think moving tables and chairs around and assigning everyone into a group. In BigBlueButton, you do the same (no moving of chairs!), and you can assign students to specific groups or let them choose which one to join.

In breakout rooms, the students can work as a team to find the solution to various tasks. If you want to teach them to analyze, it is fun to give them two apple recipes and have them calculate which one has the most calories. While they are in a breakout room, they can still collaborate with you in the main room (the tab to the main room remains open).

While the students are at work, you can follow their progress by joining their session. If you want, you can even open every session in a new tab and switch back and forth to see how each group is doing. If you notice that they are entirely on the wrong track, you can give them a hand. A pat on the back is also allowed, of course!

Shared Notes & Creation

Once the students are done in the break room, you can all sit together again for the next part of the lesson. You may want one student from each team to be the presenter. Perhaps they have come up with a brand-new apple recipe of their own and created a fun collage showing all the ingredients. You can give the student presentation control so they can paste in their new recipe into the whiteboard with the push of a button, the student/child can share their notes with the rest of the class. After all, creating is also an essential element in Bloom’s taxonomy. Because the fun factor of online teaching can be exceptionally high when they collaborate, students often give it more effort than in a regular classroom.

Our Practical Bloom Table

We have designed a practical table that combines the six concepts in Bloom’s taxonomy with six tools in BigBlueButton. In it, you can see which features apply best to each stage. We offer this as advice; it’s not a dogma set in stone. After all, we have confidence that you will become skilled in using our BigBlueButton system relatively quickly and that you will undoubtedly discover features that we have not thought of yet.

Happy teaching!

Remember Understand Apply Analyze Evaluate Create

BigBlueButton focuses on helping you teach in a way that is as versatile as physical lessons in a classroom. Combine BigBlueButton and Bloom’s taxonomy for a fast and easy learning process. The most important feature of this learning experience is that, as a teacher, you enjoy teaching, and students enjoy learning something. Especially, they learn to think more critically, and develop their problem-solving skills.