Critical Thinking

The Best Critical Thinking Tools Aligned With Bloom's Taxonomy

Learning encompasses a series of specific tasks—sometimes in order, but most often not. The elements of authentic learning are in Bloom's Taxonomy and online tech tools can help today’s digital students to navigate through the elements collaboratively. 

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy outlines critical thinking skills through the lens of Digital Natives. The levels of this taxonomy are:

  • Remembering
  • Understanding
  • Applying
  • Analyzing
  • Evaluating
  • Creating

With so many different project ideas out there as well as apps to foster critical thinking skills, it’s easy to get caught up in taking too much time to find the right tool. The challenge is to go from traditional uses of the taxonomy to best digital practices—that is, as a Global Digital Learner. 

We’ll list the components of digital taxonomy and then look at critical thinking tools for students of the digital age to develop their skills with. 

Critical Thinking Tools That Help Learners Remember

Remembering is: Recognizing, Listing, Describing, Identifying, Retrieving, Naming, Locating/Finding, Bullet-Pointing, Highlighting, Bookmarking, Social Networking, Social Bookmarking, Favouriting/Local Bookmarking, Searching, Googling

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Tools to Try: YouTube and other flipped learning sites that allow teachers to create and post their lectures online are great ways to reach learners when they’re most comfortable, and when they have time. With Remembering skills being practised before class, your meeting time with students is reserved for higher-order thinking skills. 

Any tool that can help you create great flipped lectures belongs in this list. There’s PowToonEdTED, and Clarisketch as other great examples. Here’s even more on flipped learning from Jon Bergmann.

Social bookmarking can be made simple using tools like Cling, Pinterest, or Reddit. Other popular tools that fall into this category are Evernote Web Clipper, Trello, and Stache. These are Web tools that have the advantage of going beyond bookmarking features, and into the realms of searching, networking, and retrieving, among others.

Critical Thinking Tools That Help Learners Understand

Understanding is: Interpreting, Exemplifying, Summarizing, Inferring, Paraphrasing, Classifying, Comparing, Explaining, Advanced Searches, Boolean Searches, Blog Journalling, Tweeting, Categorizing And Tagging, Commenting, Annotating, Subscribing

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Tools to Try: Mind mapping is one of the best activities for understanding, especially collaboratively among learners. Tools like Mindmaple and MindNode stand out among some of the best mind mapping tools available on the Web. If you want to explore more, check out this article on Lifehacker for their take on the best 5 tools for creating mind maps.

Students can also get answers to their questions by making use of simple tools like forums, or by conducting interviews using video tools like Skype, Zoom, or FreeConference. They can utilise these interfaces to chat with peers, do collaborative research, and connect with community professionals who can respond to their queries and provide them with insights.

Critical Thinking Tools That Help Learners Apply

Applying is: Implementing, Carrying Out, Using, Executing, Running, Loading, Playing, Operating, Hacking, Uploading, Sharing, Editing, Wiki Editing

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Tools to Try: Website/blogging tools like Weebly and Edublogs are the resources you need to do this. Others are ones that help you plan a course of action for application. Gantt charts can give you an idea of a timeline for progression and completion. If learners have never built one before, this article on Smartsheet has got them covered with a full breakdown.

You may also want to dabble in organized task management applications. For this kind of process, great tools like Basecamp and Asana can help you get the job done.

Critical Thinking Tools That Help Learners Analyse

Analysing is: Comparing, Organising, Deconstructing, Attributing, Outlining, Structuring, Integrating, Linking, Reverse-Engineering, Cracking, Mind-Mapping, Validating, Calculating

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Tools to Try: Many of the tools for Apply are the same kinds of applications that work well for this stage of the Taxonomy. However, there are others worth looking at intended for the taxonomic skills of Analysing. 

Students can try out tools like Lucidchart and Creately for free for data visualization and graph making. For tasks that involve structuring and outlining, you can't go wrong with OneNote, Toodledo, or Google Docs. There's even one called Little Outliner integrated with Twitter.

Notetaking resources such as these are excellent avenues for:

  • Organizing projects
  • Presentations
  • Writing
  • Design projects 

Critical Thinking Tools That Help Learners Evaluate

Evaluating is: Checking, Hypothesizing  Critiquing, Experimenting, Judging, Testing, Detecting, Monitoring, Blog/Vlog Commenting, Reviewing, Posting, Moderating, Collaborating, Networking, Reflecting, Alpha/Beta Testing

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Tools to Try: The key difference between Analyzing and Evaluating is collaboration. What’s useful is putting your product out there for critique and beta testing. For evaluating information, tools like Snopes and FactCheck.org are worth looking at. As you use these tools, remember to to "balance check" various news sources and information resources for patterns and connected ideas.

In any arena of Globa Digita Citizenship, good commenting practices are key. There's plenty of vitriol on the anonymous Web. With this in mind, encourage students to practice positive commenting and constructive feedback on social media posts, video feeds, and generally an online interaction. 

Critical Thinking Tools That Help Learners Create

Creating is: Designing, Constructing, Planning, Producing, Inventing, Devising, Making, Building, Programming, Filming, Animating, Blogging, Video Blogging, Mixing, Remixing, Wiki-ing, Publishing, Videocasting, Podcasting, Directing/Producing

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Tools to Try: Creating is the pinnacle of Boom's Taxonomy; the peak of the earning mountain. There's absolutely no limit to what earners can engineer to solve problems that matter.

Students can build digital portfolios using Google Sites, Evernote, and VoiceThread. If they're into podcasting, get them on Audacity or Podbean. They can produce visual stories using Shorthand, Storybird, or Chatterpix. For a real challenge, they can even create animations using Adobe Spark, Xtranormal, or Vyond

And what about brand building? Blogging and website creation tools include the ones mentioned in Apply, along with WixWordPress, and Ghost. Video tools to look at are ones such as Jahshaka, WeVideo, or Magisto

Bloom's Taxonomy Resources from Wabisabi Learning

We've got great critical thinking tools of our own that are also aligned with Bloom's Taxonomy. Aside from our poster of Bloom's Taxonomy Verbs, your absolute best bet for tools you can use right now is the Critical Thinking Companion which includes great activities and rubrics. It's a teacher's dream for teaching critical thinking through the lens of Bloom's Taxonomy.

And we haven't forgotten the younger learners, either. They'll have a blast with our popular resource Bloom's Zoonomy. It's the perfect way to teach primary learners the ins and outs of Bloom's Taxonomy. It features tips, activities, and graphics they'll love discussing and interacting with every day, no matter what you're teaching.

Bloom's Taxonomy VerbsBloom's Taxonomy Verbs Digital Download Wabisabi Learning

Bloom's Taxonomy Verbs
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When using Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy, having a list of verbs for defining each stage is incredibly useful. So now... read more