Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thinking Skills

Thinking comes in many forms.

Sometimes it just requires remembering where you put your keys or the capital of Iowa.  Other times thinking is more complex as we decide how to apply the new skills we just learned or analyzing the differences between two approaches to solving a problem. Sometimes thinking requires us to evaluate different opportunities so that we can create something that is uniquely original.

An educator's responsibility is to build these skills in our learners. We need to develop thinking skills that range all the way from remembering a simple fact to creating a complex project. As educators, we need to be aware of these different levels of thinking and mindfully create learning opportunities for our students that will develop thinking at all levels.

The basic level of thinking is called Lower-Order Thinking (LOTS).  This is the level where you memorize fact and poems and equations. You are rewarded by remembering them when needed. Remembering things is useless unless you understand what these things mean. Knowing what things mean is important, but it takes another level of responsibility to actually apply your knowledge to the real world.

The more complex level of thinking is called Higher-Order Thinking (HOTS).  This is the level where you really have to be engaged.  You use what you know to analyze original situations. You evaluate them for good and bad.  You even take on the responsibility to use your background and knowledge to create new and original projects and ideas.

Knowing about these levels of thinking will enable you to create learning experiences this semester that will challenge your students. Basic facts (like the names of planets) are useful, but being able to list those facts is not enough to be valuable in real life.  You will need to provide your students with challenges where they can apply these basic facts in a new and creative way.

Bloom's Taxonomy
Yes, we know that you have probably learned about Bloom's Taxonomy in other classes but please don't "turn off."  Your mastery of the teaching and learning at these levels is what will enhance the meaning of your students' learning.

These levels of thinking are captured in Bloom's Taxonomy. Developed in 1954 to identify different types of questions, this taxonomy has evolved into a model which classifies the various levels of thinking that we have been discussing.

As we progress through Ed Tech and Design, you will be asked to write statements that define what you want your learners to be able to do to prove that they have learned throughout your thematic unit.  These statements (Objectives) will use observable verbs to define the behavior you want your students to exhibit. The key to success is for you to use the appropriate observable verbs so that your learners will know what to do.  Here is a list of observable verbs that you will be able to use during this week and next week as you learn about instructional design.  This will all be discussed in more detail in this week's lecture.

Examples of Activities that Promote Higher-Order Thinking
This title isn't completely true.  Some of the activities encourage Higher-Order Thinking Skills, but some of them are actually Lower-Order Thinking Skills (LOTS).  Use a copy of Bloom's Taxonomy to identify which are HOTS and which are LOTS.

Higher-Level Thinking in the Classroom - Middle School
Teachers from Georgetown School District demonstrate how they promote higher-order thinking in the classroom. This even includes a principal's perspective on the process.

Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
Nurturing Higher-Order thinking is the basis for developing and rewarding creativity. Steven Johnson, one of our most innovative, popular thinkers takes on-in exhilarating style-one of our key questions: Where do good ideas come from? Johnson provides the story of how we generate the ideas that push our careers, our lives, our education, our society, and our culture forward.

So HOW do we integrate Higher-Order Thinking Skills into our Learning and Teaching?  Here are a few ideas by Sir Ken Robinson.

Collaboration in the 21st Century: Sir Ken Robinson
Sir Robinson explores how education can prepare students for the collaboration they will use in their future lives. This is an inspiring video that explains how collaboration supports innovation.

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Connecting with the World: Giving Our Students a Voice.

Last year we were very lucky to have Shannon Miller as a guest speaker for the Ed Tech and Design course.
Shannon is UNI graduate! She is a former teacher librarian and technology integration specialist at Van Meter Community School District. She is now an international speaker that encourages young people and educators to have a voice while learning, creating, collaborating, and connecting with others globally. She speaks and consults around the country on education, librarianship, technology, social media, and making a difference in education and the lives of others. She is a Future Ready Librarians and Project Connect Spokesperson at Follett Corporation.; Buncee's Teacher Librarian Advisor and Cantata Learning's Teacher Librarian Advocate. She is also the author of the award-winning The Library Voice blog.

You may follow her on Twitter at

Before watching the lecture:

Open and analyze the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards for teachers and students. ISTE standards provide a framework for learning, teaching and leading that is amplified by technology.
  • ISTE Standards for Students emphasize the skills and qualities we want for students, enabling them to engage and thrive in a connected, digital world. 
  • ISTE standards for Educators define the new skills and pedagogical insights educators need to teach, work and learn in the digital age. 
Bookmark these standards, we will be coming back to them throughout the course.
While watching the lecture (see Lecture folder in an eLearning) :
  • Try to make a list of the skills and tools mentioned by Shannon. 
  • Do you know many skills and tools to give you and your future students a voice? 
  • What your high, middle, and elementary school teachers did to give you a voice and to connect you to the world outside of your classroom? 
  • What can you do to make your future students learning more meaningful and engaging? 
  • Do you see an echo of ISTE standards in Shannon's teaching
collage from Shannon Miller guest speaking
Shannon Miller guest speaker

Thursday, January 4, 2018


Welcome to Educational Technology and Design course!
RWLDs (Reading, Watching, Listening, and Doings) in this site will be your weekly assignments to complete PRIOR to watching the recorded lecture. 

We will be releasing a new set of RWLD weekly each Thursday morning (refer to the course schedule, and eLearning for the details). 

We will explain everything, and answer all your questions on Wednesdays (for face-to-face sections). Online students, please ask your questions, in the designated area in your eLearning course. 

For now, please bookmark this page, visit our social media (links on a sidebar) and stay tuned for more :-)