Saturday, October 01, 2005

Module 4

Concept mapping is a unique way to represent knowledge in a graphic form. Concepts are linked to one another showing a relationship between ideas and the flow of information. The relationship between the idea is sometimes labeled so the reader moves outward from an idea reading the main idea, the relationship line, and then the connected concept.

The idea of concept mapping is excellent and the advantages are vast. Being able to organize ideas in such a well planned out format makes studying and learning a simpler task. Students and teachers alike can organize the information in their mind using the idea of the concept map. Concept mapping software, such as Inspiration is simple to use and the introduction of Kidspiration for younger children makes concept-mapping possible at all levels of education. Concept mapping can be used as a learning tool where by a teacher creates a map, missing some of the information or maybe just starts with the central idea and then the students complete the concept map from the learned information. This is a valuable tool to see if students have learned what was to be taught in the classroom instruction. Students can also use pictures and graphics in their concept maps making the tool fun to use and great to learn with. By organizing their thoughts, students create the relationships between ideas in a visual form and many can remember what they learned more easily. A final advantage of using concept maps is that students can brainstorm ideas and organize them in a straightforward way.

Students who are not technologically literate would have trouble using the idea of a concept map on the computer although they could create concept maps using traditional pen and paper methods. From my experiences using Inspiration and learning with the software I cannot see many problems with the idea of concept mapping. A possible disadvantage would be the fact that the software is US$67.95. Not many people would be willing to spend that on software. A free 30 day trial is available (I have used that for my assignments) and schools could possibly order the program to put on school computers. With this in mind I do feel that the disadvantages related to concept mapping and the software that accompanies the idea are few and far between.

Concept mapping would be a very valuable tool in a high school science classroom. Students could use software like Inspiration to relate ideas in a physics 20 class. They could relate the laws of motion for example. ICT outcomes that would be covered by doing such an activity would be:
C.6.4.2. investigate and solve problems of organization and manipulation of information
C.6.4.4. generate new understandings of problematic situations by using some form of technology to facilitate the process
C.7.4.2. analyze and synthesize information to determine patterns and links among ideas
C.7.4.3. use appropriate presentation software to demonstrate personal understandings
P.3.4.3. apply general principles of graphic layout and design to a document in process
P.4.4.3. use integrated software effectively and efficiently to reproduce work that incorporates data, graphics and text

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