Learning is a Never Ending Journey

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Concept Mapping



What is a Concept Map?
Concept mapping is a method that can be used to represent ideas and concepts through visual means. The concept maps I will be focusing on are the ones that are created through a computer program like Inspiration. Concept maps involve the identification of relationships between concepts. These relationships, when broken down into single ideas and points, are no longer complex, but rather easier to understand and comprehend. The way a concept map works is that it involves various ideas where lines connect the ideas that are related to each other. Concept maps can be used for a number of reasons. These include, brainstorming ideas, designing complex structures, communicating complex ideas, aiding the integration of new and old knowledge, assessing understanding or determining misunderstanding, enhancing the problem solving phases through generation of alternative solutions, encouraging positive self-concept, and supporting reading comprehension. A main feature that distinguishes them from other organizers is that concept maps involve many networks.
What are some advantages and disadvantages of Concept Maps?
Concept maps are very beneficial tools that would be helpful in the classroom setting for various reasons. Some advantages include, they are very helpful for teaching students with various learning styles and preferences. As a teacher it would be beneficial for some subjects like social studies for example, to use a concept map to review for a test. While a teacher could make an outline on a paper, he/she could also make a concept map on that paper as well. That way both the visual and auditory learning style needs are met. They could basically be used in any subject to better organize or add an extra visual way to explain a concept, theme or relationship. Through the use of the concept map program Inspiration students gain use of a new form of technology. As well, the entire learning process is made more fun and interesting because students can move beyond the typical pen and paper work. Concept maps can also be used in overheads for presentations so that people can see how the information fits together as a whole. For a teacher’s own personal use, they could also be used for lesson planning to help stay focused about a concept and determine how to bring other ideas into the class that relate to what is being learned.
Like everything, there are some disadvantages to concept maps. One disadvantage with using a concept map computer program is that the teachers would need to learn the program and understand how it works and then be able to teach it to the students. As well, as with any new technology, there will always be people who do not want to use it. This could cause inconsistencies in the school because some students will be taught and learn through visual and auditory means whereas the other students will not be given that luxury. As well, the schools would have to purchase a concept-mapping program, which in some schools may not be a budgeted item. In terms of just using a concept map, whether made on the computer or freehand, a major necessity is that it is comprehensive and accurate. They also must be clear and concise and not too many ideas that are cluttered and difficult to understand. If concept maps are not clear, concise, comprehensive and accurate, the students and teachers will be negatively affected, as they will not be achieving the proper understanding of the material.
What is an example of using Concept Mapping for a school subject?
A concept-mapping program would be a beneficial tool to use in a grade eleven English language arts class. If the class were studying the novel The Glory Field a concept map would be very beneficial for understanding the many characters and their family relations. If students have a hard time keeping track of all of the characters, they could create a concept map to better picture and visualize who each character is, how they fit into the story and how they are related and connected to the other characters in the book.
Connected ICT outcome could be:
C7 4.3 ~ Use appropriate presentation software to demonstrate personal understanding.


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