Heidi Seifert

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Using Concept Maps

A concept map is something that is relatively new to me. I remember making brainstorming webs in school but I have never really been educated on how effective or beneficial concept maps can be. I was also not aware of how easy they are to create. I had fun going through the tutorial and learning and I hope to one day try to do one on my own. I believe that concept mapping is a great tool to use in teaching.
Concept maps help students learn new information by linking it to old or previous knowledge. This is proven to enhance comprehension and memorization. Concept mapping helps students see logical connections between topics –new and old and through this are better able to actually have a visual representation of what they are learning its interconnectedness and how it relates or correspond. I believe that this facilitates fuller and more in-depth comprehension.
Concept maps also allow students to take what they know and apply it in a meaningful way. This also helps to create and foster further comprehension.
I think concept mapping adds variety to learning and allows the teacher to gauge understanding and comprehension. It increases understanding, especially for young children by allowing them to visually see concepts and connections.
I think that concept mapping would be an effective tool to use in reviewing all main topics for a unit test. The interrelations of the topics would provide greater understanding of the entire unit and information.
Concept mapping may be more difficult for students who are not visual learners and may be difficult if using the inspiration software for students who are not proficient with computers. It may make more sense to have them do it by hand. I may also use concept mapping in my classroom in prewriting, to plan the main ideas or concepts of the story. These maps could be easily shared with a small group and the group would get a visual representation of what their peer was trying to convey.
This will meet several key outcomes of communication technology: "students will access, you and communicate information from a varitey of technologies" ( C1) and “students will use technology to investigate and solve problems” (C6)


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