Concept mapping in the classroom

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     Before this class, I had never even heard of Inspiration.  But, after completing my project, I'm beginning to understand how helpful it can be in the classroom.  I can remember from when I was in school how boring worksheets always were. A simple thing this program does is spice up worksheets and graphic organizers!  Because it is such an easy program to operate, I can see myself using this to create worksheets and organizers in my classroom, and to help keep me organized as a teacher.  I do better learning with pictures and colors, so a program like this can only work for the positive with me!  I can see myself organizing my college notes and assignments with Inspiration!  Because I can use pictures to represent key ideas and make a logical concept map without having to make time to draw it all out, I can spend more time focused on studying instead of drawing everything out, or typing all my notes where I would change colors and fonts to help me remember.  If I had to draw the organizer all out, it woud take so much more time that would be more useful spent doing other things.  I would focus too much on the diagram being perfect and not the content that the diagram was for.  I think my students might end up focusing on the same things!  Inspiration makes things so much easier!

     In my classroom, I would use the worksheet I created at the end of my geometry unit.  It is a great way for them to review both area and volume formulas all on one page.  I think it could be easily used as a worksheet do for individual review or group review.  I would probably have my students first work on the activity individually since it is a review, but then I would have them compare answers and formulas in small groups so they can discuss the right answer and why it is that way.  After the small groups meet, a class discussion would take place and go over the worksheet  and any extra questions my students have.  I think this worksheet could work for any type of student.  It has both words and pictures so it can appeal to several different types of learners.  The discussion afterwards can appeal to both auditory and active learners because the students are talking about the worksheet and doing the problems together.  Also, students get a chance to work independantly and cooperatively.                                 

     I think there are many other activities that could be developed using this program.  The website shows some great examples of activities I would like to bring into my classroom like flow charts and formula sheets that they can use as resourses. 

 This program has a great deal of benefits.  If the worksheet was to go along with a lesson, it would help students concentrate and stay focused.  It also outlines the whole lesson so students know what to expect and so does the teacher.  A draw back to this is that using one of these does not allow for much alteration of the lesson.  The lesson has already been written out completely and the organizer should be finished.  If students have questions, it might be harder to address them without focusing on the organizer.  But, sometimes an outlined organizer is helpful to keep the students, and the teacher, on track!  This is also an example of incorporating technology into the classroom.  I think if the concept map or worksheet is made by the teacher, the students are really only getting a LoTi level of 2ish, but the program is so easy, it is very possible for the students to actually use the programs themselves.  I think they could achieve a level of 3 or 4 depending on the specifics of the assignment.  They could create their own organizers or maps to either help teach a concept or help organize their notes. Although I'm still learning a lot about it, there seem to be numerous possibilities for using this in my future classroom!