Home > Lifelong Learning, Online Pedagogy, Web 2.0 Tools > Teaching Concept Mapping (week 7)

Teaching Concept Mapping (week 7)

This is an example of teaching about a graphical tool to organize and represent knowledge.

What is Concept maps?


Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge. Concept mapping may be an effective teaching tool to create:

  • Course material to creatively engage your students.
  • To help students to help finding linkages between course concepts or theories
  • To assess students’ learning or understanding of course material

A concept map include:

  • Concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts.
  • Links: linking words or linking phrases, specify the relationship between the two concepts. We define concept as a perceived regularity in events or objects, or records of events or objects, designated by a label.
  • Propositions: contain two or more concepts connected using linking words or phrases to form a meaningful statement.

This is an example of a concept map that describes the structure of concept maps and illustrates the above characteristics.

  1. 3 November, 2011 at 23:46

    Hi! I was drawn to your post because I use maps a lot in my work. As an early childhood educator, maps are a big piece of what I do on many levels. You mentioned some software at the end of the presentation. I have recently been using MindMeister (http://www.mindmeister.com/), which I love, but I may end up needing more than what the free version offers. I tried Free Mind, too. Would you be willing to share more about the different software you have tried? I would love something internet-based that gives me a map that is easy to share through a link and/or (ideally) embedding in a blog. Thank you so much for the post!

    PS: I am thinking that Prezi can possibly be a great tool for mapping, too.

    • Jaime Oyarzo
      7 November, 2011 at 21:16

      Most of my experience is related with Cmaptools http://cmap.ihmc.us/ and some other good tool like Compendium http://www.compendiuminstitute.org
      An interesting thing with Cmaptools is that you can export the map as a web page, keeping the interactivity with the added resources like documents or pictures. But I’ve experienced some integration issues with windows.
      I’m just testing FreeMind http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page and the online alternative you mentioned: MindMeister http://www.mindmeister.com. Therefore, I will be able to share later a more informed opinion.
      I agree, Prezi is a good promisse, but I’m a beginner with it…

  2. tsegay
    4 November, 2011 at 01:53

    Concept map is a very good mind mapping tool. I am using ubuntu, but don’t know how to install it. Hope i will manage to do it.

  3. Jaime Oyarzo
    7 November, 2011 at 21:25

    My experience with Cmaptools is good. Look at the installation instructions at http://cmap.ihmc.us/download/dl_CmapServer.php?myPlat=Linux
    I’ve found more theoretical background at “Concept Maps: Types, uses, software” http://www.slideshare.net/nspang/concept-maps-types-uses-software, at slide 19, that describes different types of software. May be, other alternatives could be worth to try, like
    an online alternative: MindMeister http://www.mindmeister.com or a java based one: FreeMind http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

  4. 8 November, 2011 at 01:52

    Thank you for all of the feedback! I have a lot of great tools to try out now, thanks to your blog. I appreciate it!

  5. 12 November, 2011 at 21:04

    This was really interesting. I think this could be concept mapping adapted nicely to my writing courses to facilitate brainstorming and getting to those bigger ideas. I think I’ll investigate this a bit further and see how different this is from say PowerPoint (it looks like you can do a lot more) and if it is user friendly enough to do on the sly, in class, together with a group. Thanks for including this! – Erica

    • Jaime Oyarzo
      14 November, 2011 at 20:53

      Hi Erica:
      Thanks for your comments.
      I usually organize a Concept Map session in 4 moments:
      1 .- I start with an introduction to concept maps.
      – How we organize information?
      – Concepts maps: a way to summarize information and Knowledge.
      – Educational applications of Concept Maps
      – How to build a concept map?
      2 .- I illustrate this topic with some short videos (3-6 – min), like “Tony Buzan video: how to mindmap” or “Creating concepts and propositions with CmapTools”
      3.- I Make a practical guided session with a selected tool, like CmapTools.
      4.- To finish, I describe the assignment: to develop a Concept Map based on a topic of the class (limited to no more than 10-15 concepts), to present under 5 minutes at the next class session (as an individual or group activity depending on the number of students).

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