Thursday, January 26, 2017

Depth of Knowledge

Cup, Tee, Teacup, Glass Cup, Spoon I recently ran across the term "Depth of Knowledge" in regard to learning.  Not having heard it used before, I had to investigate.  Yes, I'm a bit like a cat when I run into new things.  I have to find out more or it will bother me until I do.

Depth of knowledge is defined as a way of determining or classifying the level of thinking required by a task to complete.  In other words, the more complex thinking required the more depth of knowledge the task has.

The levels of knowledge are as follows:
1. Recall and reproduction - the lowest level because it requires nothing more than recalling memorized facts.  It does not require any real thinking.

2. Skills and concepts - requires a bit more thinking because the student needs to make a few decisions on how to complete the task but its still rather minimal.

3. Strategic thinking - or really planning how to complete the task by working out the best way to do it, applying knowledge, and some justification.  Such a task could have multiple correct answers which the person has to justify the one they found.

4. Extended thinking which is the highest level because it requires students to synthesize material from multiple sources or transfer knowledge from one area to another. 

The next question becomes how do we apply this to our classes.  I know that unless I see actual examples I have trouble coming up with ideas.  Once I've seen suggestions, I'm fine and can develop my own.

First off, check out this DOK wheel which has a list of verbs for each level so you know which ones to use when you create a wheel.   Words such as define, state, or tell are all level one while develop a logical argument, formulate, hypothesis take it up to level three.  If you start using design, analyze or create, you've designed level four activities.

From this site, you can download a great question stems sheet to help write those level three and four questions.  Its sort of a fill in the blank but it helps me get started and on the right path.  This is a paper which gives ideas for using the depth of knowledge in your math classroom.  It has great definitions for each level with a few ideas so you build a great foundation.

Finally this 13 page resource actually gives ideas at each level for activities, teacher and student based activities along with a list of suggestions which could be applied to various subjects. 

Tomorrow, I'll look more indepth at this topic for its application to math.  Let me know what you think.