Asking a better question? Online Resources to Support Higher Order Questions for Higher Order Learning – Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy

We are all asked questions. Factual recall of information is something we all do. List, name, describe, identify……. But with a more interesting question can be demonstrated a deeper understanding of the facts, a greater engagement with the task, a demonstration that the learning can be applied in a different context, and the opportunity can be provided for creativity to flourish.

Asking the right question, or setting a more imaginative task, at the right time can help learners of all ages engage with their learning. But what does it look like in practice in a classroom? What resources are available to help a teacher apply higher order thinking skills in their classroom?

Introduction to Bloom’s Taxonomy – for teachers

Jennifer Calvin has made available a succinct summary document which sets out short descriptions for each level of Bloom’s revised taxonomy, along with verbs which best fit each, and model questions which exemplify each level, as well as strategies for teaching in each level. This is useful for teachers and parents.

David Anderson and Lee Pace (Thought Weavers) have created an introduction to Bloom’s Taxonomy in the classroom.

For Scottish Teachers the Scottish Qualifications Agency has produced a guide for teachers showing how higher order skills fit into the Skills for Learning, Skills for Life and Skills for Work framework in support of Curriculum for Excellence.

For a different way of getting to grips with Bloom’s Taxonomy in “real life” there are video clips from television or film and applied to each level of the taxonomy – take with a pinch of salt but may help understanding for some! From the television show Seinfeld:

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Larry Ferlazzo’s Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom has more such videos on his blog, in adition to a wealth of other resources on understanding and applying Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy in the classroom.

Using Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy to Improve Teaching provides the background to Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy, many examples of question types for each level, and many examples of activities which could provide learning situations for pupils at each level.

The video below demonstrates the use of the above resource:

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The video below describes the history and application of Bloom’s original taxonomy alongside the revised taxonomy updated to include web 2.0 tools (and the video explains the differences here to in what is meant by web 2.0 in this context):

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Introduction to Bloom’s Taxonomy – for parents

Stacia Garland has produced a guide aimed at parents to help them to understand critical thinking skills for kids to help their children to use critical thinking skills.

Introduction to Bloom’s Taxonomy – for pupils

 Blooming Questions is an illustrated storybook for viewing online all about questions to help introduce the idea of Blooms Taxonomy to children.

Gabriel Guzman has produced a video explaining Bloom’s Taxonomy for learners

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Digital Tools for Bloom’s revised Taxonomy in the Classroom

Andrew Churches has created Quicksheets to Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. These are presented in visual poster form for wall display, and include a definition of each stage, along with key verbs, and suggested actvities using digital tools which exemplify each level. Andrew has also (on his EdOrigami wiki) provided a comprehensive collection of resources to support teachers in looking to apply Bloom’s Taxonomy in the classroom using digital technologies, where the emphasis is on the learning these tools support, rather than on the technology itself. Click here for the Guide by Andrew Churches to Bloom’s Revised Degital Taxonomy – “It’s not about the tools, it’s using the tools to facilitate learning.” Andrew’s guide is a comprehensive document providing a background to Bloom’s, later revision and application with today’s tools available to learners. “This taxonomy is not about the tools and technologies, these are just the medium, instead it is about using these tools to achieve, recall, understanding, application, analysis, evaluation and creativity.”

Joshua Coupal has created a Prezi presentation of Bloom’s Revised Digital Taxonomy by Andrew Churches which provides a different way to present the information.

Tools for Teaching Bloom’s by Cory Plough and Shannon Miller is a presentation setting out online tools which can be used by pupils at the various levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. In addition to describing the tools there are also examples of these tools in use by pupils.

Ollie Bray’s presentation on Using Technology to Support Higher Order Skills sets Higher Order Thinking in the context of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence and to the use of online tools to support this in learning and teaching.

Kelly Tenkely has produced a Livebinder of resources about the Digital Bloom’s Taxonomy. In addition to links to sites which explain and elaborate on Bloom’s Revised Digital Taxonomy for Higher Order Thinking in the classroom, there are also pages of further links for each level – with suggested activities and online tools or resources which can be used in schools. This includes her graphic visual “Bloom’s Taxonomy: Bloomin’ Peacock.”

Visual Blooms of Web 2.0 Tools presents in a visual way how a variety of online tools can be used to support each level of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy. While the graphics show where particular tools may be used, it also points out that it is the way each tool is used which is important, not simply the use of the tool. Appropriately used the tools can support the levels indicated.

Colleen Young’s Livebinder on Bloom’s resources brings together a host of resources created by others on the topic of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy. Just click in turn on each tab along the top of the Livebinder for a series of resources to help in understanding and applying Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy in the classroom.

Maths Taxonomy – is an example of the taxonomy of thinking skills applied to maths teaching, with examples of questions/activities and suggested digital tools.

Jackie Gerstein’s “Bloom’s Taxonomy for 21st Century Learning – Resources for using Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy for 21st Century Learning” is a curated collection of tools to support the use of Bloom’s Revised Digital Taxonomy in the classroom, which is updated as new resources are identified so is worth a revist.

WebToolsMashup by Phillipa Cleaves brings together Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy with Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences and WebTools for Student Centred Learning Activities. Online tools are described within levels.

The video below provides examples of online tools aligned to Bloom’s Revised Digital Taxonomy:

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Using Twitter as a Higher Order Thinking Tool is a presentation by Maggie Verster on using Twitter micro-blogging tool in the classroom to support learners in developing higher order thinking in the learning process. 

Transforming Past Lessons For the 21st Century Digital Classroom – an article by Michael Gorman which describes the application of web tools in the learning process. He explains the links to the original Bloom’s hierarchy to the revised, and to how freely available web tools can be used appropriately to support learning strategies at any point.

Prompt Tools for Putting Bloom’s Into Practice in the Classroom

Respondo might help stimulate thinking in providing prompts for ways for pupils to demonstrate their creativity in learning they have undertaken, within the realm of literacy. Simply make choices on the Respondo tool and watch as a possible learning situations are displayed. And if the result itself doesn’t quite fit the needs of a particular situation then it can be used to help stimulate alternatives.

The Differentiator is a planning tool where a teacher can select classroom learning activities for pupils by choosing from various categories from Bloom’s. An explanatory video with the tool demonstrates how the teacher can make use of the tool to select an activity to end up with a learning intention which shows the thinking skill, the resources, content, product and size of groups in which pupils will be working.

Learning Events Generator is a random learning activity generator by John Davitt. This is one of a suite which can be used in a classroom setting to generate idea prompts which the teacher or pupils themsleves can use to generate an activity which will enthuse them to show creativity in demonstrating learning and understanding (see also, for example, the 200 Ways to Show What You Know – where you can type the learning topic before generating multiple activities). And if one task does not create a spark then simply click, and click again. And one generated activity may just need a slight tweak, to be adapted to any siutation. John Davitt’s site also has learning event generators for specific curricular areas – though specific to a curricular area, they may still prompt ideas for other areas.

Blogush 24 assessments that don’t suck! This is a blogpost which provides 24 different ideas which can be applied as post-activity assessment tools – which ensure learners demonstrate a deeper interaction with their learning and a greater understanding. Each activity is provided with a detailed notes and examples.

Writing Prompts from Luke Neff comprise tasks used with pupils to generate writing, but more importantly to generate thinking more deeply about the issues described in each task. They all appear as images with the associated task aimed at use with pupils in schools. If tasks are not quite what you are looking for to use with your class with a particular focus then these may act as inspiration to create your own for your own situation – and if you do you can submit yours here too.

Efficient Ways to check for understanding – a post by Todd Finley which provides a list of 53 ways to check for understanding which may also increase engagement with learning by pupils.

David Didau @LearningSpy has produced a visual poster showing how to encourage pupils to use deeper questions.

It’s Not About the Tools, It’s About the Learning

The above resources will support the use of higher order activities in the classroom – a recurring theme in all of the above is to be aware that the tool itself does not have a level – any tool can be used at the most basic level or at the highest level. So just because a pupil is using a particular tool (which may have been illustrated above at the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy) does not in itself mean they are using it at that level. So, it’s not about the tool, it’s about the learning!


  1. Yvonne McBlain says:

    What a comprehensive and useful post – I don’t know where to start but know lots of these links will be extremely useful, Thanks

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