DigComp 2.1 and Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy

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DigComp 2.1 was published this month by the JRC of the European Commission, an update to 2016’s DigComp 2.0. The latest version of this framework develops the proficiency levels in more detail. DigComp 2.0 and 2.1 layout some very useful paths to help us move beyond the “skills” silo that the digital has become in higher education. Digital skills has, in some ways, become a buzzword used in a tick-box fashion that is used to satisfy learning outcomes or funding applications to the detriment of digital literacy and competence. In other words, digital skills are often deployed in research and teaching in ways that are segregated from competency and literacy. DigComp 2.1 provides readers with a range of definitions and explanations of digital proficiencies and competences, as well as specific examples of these being used in employment and education. It offers a rationale for why certain digital tools are used in particular situations.

If we are to move beyond the skills silo to a stage where digital literacy is clearly and seamlessly embedded in education on all levels, teachers and institutions need a clear framework for how to do this. This diagram featured in the latest DigComp version outlines the proficiencies identified in the document:

Diagram of the DigComp Proficiency Framework
DigComp 2.1: Learning to Swim in the Digital Ocean. Source: EU Science Hub: “Learning to swim in the Digital Ocean: new DigComp report develops proficiency levels in detail”, May 12th 2017. Accessed May 29th 2017.

Aside from the nicely applied metaphor here, what really grabs me about this diagram is its clear applicability to higher education. Terms like remembering, applying, evaluating, understanding and creating call to mind Bloom’s Taxonomy:

Bloom's Taxonomy Pyramid from top to bottom: Create, Evaluate, Analyze, Apply, Understand, Remember
Bloom’s Taxonomy. Source: Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University, N.d. Accessed: May 29th 2017.

Benjamin Bloom’s 1956 Taxonomy of Educational Objectives provides educators with a framework and associated keywords that can be used effectively to clarify learning goals and outcomes for students. Patricia Armstrong of Vanderbilt University gives a useful summary of Bloom’s Taxonomy if you are not familiar with it.

Bloom’s Taxonomy has undergone a number of evolutions since its inception in order to keep up with developing trends in education. For anyone wanting to employ the recommendations laid out in DigComp 2.1 in their teaching, Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy is a useful resource, perhaps even more so than the “Digital Ocean” metaphor. Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy links the LOTS and HOTS that we are already applying to our curriculum and assessment design, and linking them with the growing vocabulary associated with active digital competence, fluency and citizenship.

Bloom's Digital Taxonomy Diagram
Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. Source: educational Origami. N.d. Accessed: May 29th 2017.


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