Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge. They include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts.
– (Novak & Cañas, 2006.)
How & Why:
I chose concept maps as an artifacts because there are so many ways to implement them in the classroom. Concept maps enrich students understanding of new concepts, engage students in answering questions, and help make meaningful connections between the main idea and other information. Overall, concept maps deepen understanding and comprehension.
First thing, I would introduce concept maps to the classroom and model how to identify the major concepts presented in a selection of text as we read. We would organize the ideas into categories Use lines or arrows on the map to represent how ideas are connected to one another. After students have finished the map, they’d share and reflect how they each made the connections between concepts.
Concepts maps are also diverse in how I could use them in the classroom. Educators could use concept maps to summarize what was read or as a pre-reading strategy. While reading, teachers could have students stop and add to the map. Concept maps could also be used as post-reading or follow-up. Concepts maps can be interactive, done as whole class, small group or individual work. Concept maps are really diverse and easily modified.
Figure 1. A concept map showing the key features of concept maps. Concept maps tend to be read progressing from the top downward.
Figure 2. Learning can vary from hightly rote to highly meaningful. Creativity results from very high levels of meaningful learning.
Figure 4. Key memory systems of the brain all interact when we are learning.
Just as there are many possible uses of concept maps within the classroom activities, there are a variety of “starting points” for the construction of the initial concept maps by students.
Figure 8. The whole spectrum of learning activities can be integrated using CmapTools, incorporating various learning activities recorded via the software creating a digital portfolio as a product of the learning.
Novak, J. D., & Cañas, A. J. (2006). The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them,. Technical Report IHMC CmapTools.