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Concept maps: Learning made visible

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1 Concept maps: Learning made visible
Allison BrckaLorenz Center for Teaching 4039 Main Library


3 What is a concept map? Cognitive mapping: a kind of mental processing with which people can acquire and recall information Concept mapping is a practical use of cognitive mapping Other practical uses of cognitive mapping Mind mapping, mental mapping, argument mapping, semantic mapping, etc.

4 What is a concept map? Carefully examine these examples of maps
How are the maps similar? How are the maps different? Which do you think are examples of “concept maps”?

5 “Flow Chart.”
This is an example of a flow chart: flow charts are used to describe a process or plan the stages of a project, there is usually not hierarchical arrangement, and linking words usually answer questions These are examples of a family tree: family trees have a hierarchical structure, nodes consists of people, and linking lines imply a type of family relationship “Flow Chart.”

6 This is an example of a mind map
This is an example of a mind map. Mind maps often use pictures or symbols, do not necessarily have hierarchical arrangement, and are often used for brainstorming. This is an example of an argument map or a rationale map: such maps are used to informally represent the structure of an argument; hierarchical arrangement usually exists; nodes consist of a contention, premises, objections, etc. Margulies, N. (1991). Mapping inner space: Learning and teaching mind mapping. Tucson, AZ: Zephyr Press. “Argument Map.”

7 This is an example of a concept map!
This is an example of a semantic map: semantic maps are often used to extend or introduce new vocabulary, nodes are words or categories of words, linking lines are relationships of similarity This is an example of a concept map! (Novak, 1998) What makes this map different from the other maps?

8 Key elements of a concept map
A grounding in assimilation learning theory and constructivism (new knowledge related to old knowledge, progressive differentiation, etc.) Hierarchical Organization (general/abstract notions subsume specifics/details) Meaningful labeled links (linking words and concepts should form a meaningful proposition) Concepts are…“concepts”—“perceived regularity in objects or events” (Novak & Gowin, 1984)—not images, thoughts, sentences, people, events, etc.

9 Concept maps of “concept maps”
(Novak & Musonda, 1991) (Novak, 1998) (Canas, A. J., Coffey, J. W., Carnot, M. J., Feltovich, P., Hoffman, R. R., Feltovich, J., & Novak, J. D., 2003)

10 So what are these? (Novak, 1998)

11 What is the theoretical background of concept mapping?
David Ausubel (1960’s) Assimilation theory—a learning theory in which new material is learned when it can be related to existing knowledge This distinguishes between rote learning and meaningful learning Ausubel believed that the most important factor to influence learning was what the learner already knew

12 What is the theoretical background of concept mapping?
Joseph Novak (1970’s) He started using concept mapping as way to represent new science knowledge to students He used Ausubel’s assimilation theory and constructivism (learners actively construct knowledge) to write his book Learning How to Learn (Novak & Gowin, 1984) and to formalize the technique of concept mapping

13 What does other literature have to say about concept mapping?
Students enjoy or have positive attitudes about concept mapping Concept mapping can reduce test and content anxiety Students and teachers find that concept mapping helps students learn course material more deeply Concept mapping is a valid and reliable tool for evaluating students’ differences in learning Students’ maps are a valid and reliable way to identify student misconceptions

14 Introducing concept mapping
Start concept mapping training early Don’t assign a concept mapping exercise without some training Formalize concept, proposition, linking word Formalize your expectations in terms of hierarchy, linking words, examples Show students what you consider to be a well-crafted map and what maps could be improved Allow students the opportunity to practice mapping several times before formally evaluating their maps See Novak & Gowin’s tips for introducing concept maps to your students

15 How to create a concept map
Identify your topic or focus question List important concepts associated with the topic (10 to 20 is a good start) Rank the concepts from most general at the top to most specific at the bottom (add concepts as necessary) Arrange the topics on the mapping field hierarchically Add linking phrases to describe relationships Look for crosslinks Review, make changes, and finalize

16 Let’s create a concept map
Start with the focus concept SPRING List concepts related to “spring” (try for 10-15) Rank concepts according to level of abstraction and arrange hierarchically Add linking phrases between concepts Look for crosslinks Review, make changes, and finalize

17 Best Practice Advice Give students a clear focus question to guide their maps Don’t give the assignment “Create a map for the word SPRING.” A better assignment: “Describe the forces affecting a mass hanging on a spring.” Give students good parameters in which to work (be clear with your rules for hierarchy, types and numbers of concepts, linking words, etc.)—let them know what you expect from them! Never ask students to memorize and replicate a given map—this works against meaningful learning Never forget that concept mapping is less about the structure of the map and more about communicating ideas in a different format

18 Concept maps and technology
Many software programs exist for the purposes of concept mapping Cmap ( Free, very easy to use and share, very customizable Inspiration ( Very easy to use, K-12 focus, only free in certain campus labs Glinkr ( Free with registration, less easy to use, not as pretty FreeMind ( Free, not very customizable, fun icons Compendium ( Not intuitive, not very customizable, a little boring

19 Concept maps and technology
Great Cmap Features Easy to add attachments (documents, websites, figures, tables, etc.) A variety of ways to share maps Knowledge “soups” “List View” converts maps to and from outlines/lists Built-in presentation features Build and edit maps with others using “synchronous collaboration”

20 Concept maps and Cmap Let’s try creating a map in Cmap using your SPRING map Open Cmap Double click to create your first concept Drag from the arrow box to connect the next concept A single click on a concept shows the concept’s arrow icon Holding shift while dragging gives a connecting line without a linking word Change colors and shapes: Format -> Styles… Note the tabs Font, Object, Line, Cmap

21 Concept maps and Cmap Try sharing your map
Save your map with your hawkid Then save your map to the shared folder Click the world icon—this allows you to share your map on the public Cmap servers Save in the “IHMC Publc Cmaps” → “UI Concept Mapping Workshop” folder Edit → Refresh allows you to see newly added maps Double clicking a map will open it for viewing

22 Concept mapping as a teaching tool
Use as an advance organizer

23 Concept mapping as a teaching tool
Introduce a new topic (maps adapted from Novak, 1998, pp )

24 Concept mapping as a teaching tool
Create a Course Map Collectively create the map as the course progresses Allow students to supply the key concepts and connections Alternative idea: have students create mini-maps that can be combined into a comprehensive map Alternative idea: use the course’s discussion session to create a master map of the week’s topic

25 Concept mapping as a teaching tool
Varieties of “complete the map” Fill in the concepts Don’t give students a list of concepts to use OR do give students a list of concepts to use (list some related but incorrect words as well) Fill in the propositions Similarly do or do not give students a list of linking words to use

26 Concept mapping as a teaching tool
Concept Maps and Writing Assignments Write about horizontal linking lines: (Cilburn, 1987) Structure an essay assignment for students with a map Let students structure their essay assignment for you with a map

27 Concept mapping as a teaching tool
Create Misconception Maps Display and discuss concept maps with commonly used inaccurate connections among topics or applications of commonly used inappropriate concepts Have students analyze the maps in order to correct the concepts and connections

28 Concept mapping as a learning tool
A note taking tool Distribute simplified maps of your lecture for students to use as an outline for note-taking Teach students how to map and encourage them to take notes in this format A tool for studying Have students map various size units of text or their lecture notes in preparation for an exam

29 Concept mapping as a learning tool
Collaborative mapping Have students work in groups to diagram their understanding of a topic Working together can help generate whole-group discussion Mistakes that appear during collaborative mapping will show a lack of understanding by more than one student

30 Concept mapping as a learning tool
Preparing for laboratory exercises or practicum experiences Before the experience, have students map the necessary background information During the experience (if possible), have students link events to their background map After the experience, have students map any conclusions or summaries and synthesize these into their original map Such mapping can help students reflect on events and help make connections between theory and practice

31 Concept mapping as a learning tool
Students can really see their learning in pre- and post mapping exercises Have students create a map of their knowledge of the course material at the beginning of the course Collect this map from students and save it Have students create map of their knowledge of the course material at the end of the course Return students’ maps from the beginning of the course so they can visually see all of the learning that occurred

32 Concept mapping as a learning tool
Preparing for and summarizing readings Teach students how to map a reading Before reading, students skim the table of contents, foreword, introduction, summaries, charts, etc. During reading, students can make notes on Post-its of key events and examples The pre-map can serve as a guide to thinking about content After reading, students can transfer their notes/Post-its to the pre-map as a guide to mapping the entire reading

33 Concept mapping as a learning tool
Let’s collaboratively pre-map a book Use one of the given books, or use a book you’ve brought with you Skim the table of contents, chapter subheadings, index, forward, pictures, charts, graphs, introductions, summaries, back cover, etc. As you begin to map, think What appear to be the “big ideas” in the book? What does it appear that the authors want you to learn? How do the main topics appear to be related? How is the book structured? Does the order of topics matter? How are examples introduced?

34 Assessing and evaluating concept maps
Summative assessments Periodic assessments designed to determine what students do an do not know Standardized exams, quizzes, formal essay, midterms, finals, etc. Formative assessments Informal assessments designed to check on students’ progress Observations, in-class discussion, reflection papers, practice problems, etc.

35 Assessing and evaluating concept maps
Any of the given exercises so far could be used as a summative assessment, but the following examples work particularly well: Have students create a map given a list of key concepts: “Below are seven concepts associated with [insert topic]. Use them to construct a map.” You could supply a longer list (with some commonly used misconception concepts) and have them select a smaller amount of concepts to use. The following slide is an example of a students’ map on a mid-term exam in the course Theory and Methods of Education The instructor gave students a list of thirty concepts to use and the instructions to add additional concepts as needed to complete their map

36 Assessing and evaluating concept maps

37 Assessing and evaluating concept maps
Alternative examples of summative assessment questions: Have students create a map without a given set of concepts. This will allow you to see what the students thought was important Give students a map of what you would like to assess and have them write an essay “telling the story” of the given map Note that in any assessment you do not want to ask students to recall from a memorized map—this will not promote meaningful learning!

38 Assessing and evaluating concept maps
Again, any of the given exercises so far could be used as a formative assessment, but the following exercises work particularly well (have students turn these in or look at them during class): Have students map the previously assigned readings Have students map their small-group discussions of a given topic Have students map a summary of a given set of class periods Have students map topics that they would like more information on or do not understand (these maps can then be addressed directly in small- or large-group discussions

39 Assessing and evaluating concept maps
In analyzing students’ maps during a formative assessment, you can see what are students’ basic understandings of a topic

40 Assessing and evaluating concept maps
And you can see which students have a more advanced understanding of a topic

41 Assessing and evaluating concept maps
Concept maps are commonly graded or evaluated using rubrics Rubrics are scoring tools that use a predetermined set of standards to assess criteria that are complex and subjective They articulate in writing the criteria and standards that an instructor will be using to evaluate student work Rubrics can help link graded criteria to learning objectives, can help relate assignments to course content, and can help make grading criteria transparent For these reasons, it is often a good idea to share your rubric with your students

42 Assessing and evaluating concept maps
High Score Characteristics Medium Score Low score “A” paper Adequately states and defends argument Appropriate citations Counterarguments are identified and adequately answered “B” paper Has an argument with some weakly defended points Mostly appropriate citations Not all counterarguments are answered “C” paper Incorrect factual statements Mostly non-scholarly citations No counterarguments Trait High score Criteria Medium score Low score Spelling 10 points Paper has no spelling errors 8 points Paper has 1 spelling error 5 points Paper has two or more spelling errors

43 Assessing and evaluating concept maps
What do you think belongs in a rubric of a concept map? Look at some of these example rubrics What do you like and not like about them? What make them easier to use? What makes them more difficult to use? What other things are important to you to add? Use one of these rubrics (or an adaption) to evaluate the given ANIMALS map How does using one or another rubric change the evaluation of the map?

44 Concept maps as a planning tool
Lesson preparation Map your plan for a lecture or use a map to integrate several lectures Distribute a simplified version of the lesson map to students as an outline of the day’s lecture notes Use a map of students’ background knowledge so that you can plan to build on what they already know

45 Concept maps as a planning tool
Lecture Notes A concept map can be a useful tool to ensure you don’t forget any of the important points in a lecture Lesson maps can help you to decide in which areas to abbreviate if you are running short on time Lesson maps can be useful visual aids for yourself and for your students to follow along

46 Concept maps as a planning tool
Lesson evaluation Periodically collect students’ maps of your lecture to make sure you’re emphasizing the points you want to make Have a colleague attend and map your lecture for comparison and feedback Create a set of classroom rules with your students using concept maps Time management Useful for planning your week, your day, classroom pacing, classroom goals, etc. Possible branches include things to remember, things of urgency, things needed to prepare, etc.

47 Concept maps as a planning tool
Concept maps are now commonly used to plan and evaluate curricula Mapping can be applied to several levels of curricula—program, course, chapter, topic, etc.—to ensure that an overall organization exists Mapping curricular units can help with pacing and spacing If one branch seems to crowded, spilt it into separate branches. If your assignments are too clustered, restructure the homework

48 Concept maps as a planning tool
The following is the classic template for curricular planning:

49 Concept maps as a planning tool
Concept maps can even be used to plan workshops!


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