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Concept maps

What is concept mapping?

According to one source: Concept mapping is a process by which learners represent their understanding of a specific knowledge domain in graphic form. Using a system of "nodes" and "links," learners draw a map that visually represents the way in which they think a set of concepts are related. This representation is bound to change over time, as knowledge increases and understanding is refined. In the terms of Stensvold and Wilson (1990), concept mapping is a process whereby "students cast and recast their own knowledge structure in a diagrammatic form." A concept map is an example of a graphic organizer.

The concept map program that we use in this class is called Inspiration. It is available as a free demonstration program for teachers to use and download over the Internet. So you can download this program for use on your own computer, at home or in a classroom! To download Inspiration see http://www.inspiration.com

Free mind is an open source concept mapping program that is free. A practicing teacher showed this tool to me, but I have not used it a great deal myself. It appeared a bit more complicated to use than Inspiration, thus perhaps for the more tech-savvy user, but it appeared to be a powerful tool.

Google docs (Draw)

Sample Concept maps

Here are some examples of concept maps.

These examples were each taken from the Inspiration Examples folder found in Inspiration 6. There are more there if you want to look for yourself in the new Inspiration 8 Examples folder. Additional teacher examples can also be found at their website. See these addresses:

In class task: Analyze an article from the New York times (see Assignment on this page) and post the concept map below in attachments.

Concept mapping on the iPad

total recall, idea sketch Source: http://appsineducation.blogspot.com/2011/06/10-mind-mapping-tools-4-ipad_22.html 

Optional Readings:

Here are two articles that discuss further how concept mapping can be a tool to help develop higher quality thinking with your students, including specific examples of how teachers use the tool.

Both of these articles are in Learning and Leading with Technology, a leading periodical for teachers and administrators who use technology in K-12 classrooms.

Computer-Based Concept Mapping: A Tool for Negotiating Meaning
By Lynne Anderson-Inman and Leslie Ditson
In Learning and Leading with Technology, volume 26 number 8
In this feature article, the authors describe strategies for using computers to enhance teaching and learning through the process of electronic concept mapping. Each strategy provides teachers with step-by-step guidelines for integrating computer-based concept mapping into the curriculum and documents how research on the strategy is yielding promising results.

Anderson-Inman, L., & Zeitz, L. (1993). Computer-based concept mapping: Active studying for active learners. The Computing Teacher, 21(1), 6–8, 10–11.
The mechanics of drawing a concept map often get in the way of ideas students want to represent. Modern visual outliners take the eraser dust out of concept mapping. This article focuses on how one biology teacher uses concept mapping with a student in her classroom.

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