Monday, January 4, 2010

Intro and Concept Mapping

Welcome to the Graduate Teaching Community Blog!

I thought this would be a good place for us to record what we learn, extend our discussion beyond the classroom and share resources and tools that we come across. For instance, we started our meetings last quarter with an exercise on Concept Mapping. I've come across a nice software tool for creating concept maps called VUE: Visual Understanding Environment.

Here's a video introducing it:

(Video continues here.) It goes quite beyond a normal concept map: here's a clever way to use it for making presentations.

Cassandra introduced me to another concept mapping tool called Cmap:

So I hope this becomes a useful part of GTC. Feel free to comment, add posts, and share!

1 comment:

  1. For those that have not used a concept map or seen how it is used in a presentation, the screenshot might look like a disaster. The screenshot does not capture the power of cmap, which lies in its selective display of information.

    Effective presentations using concept maps start with one word on the viewing area, and uses the selectively visible branches to present the subject in the order prioritized by the audience.

    For most people, a presentation is easier to follow when the branches are labeled by proper heading relative to the topic. For example instead of showing:

    IHMC Cmap Tools -- was developed at -- Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC)

    An interactive presentation using concept map would normally show:

    IHMC Cmap Tools -- Developer

    The information about the Developer is not displayed until the presenter clicks to expand it. If the developer is not of interest to the audience, then it is not expanded

    Concept map is a powerful tool, especially to the person creating the map. To use it as an activity during class, it is probably most helpful if it is first done as an individual assignment, so that each participant could first explore and organize their own perspective on the subject. During small group discussion, the aim should be exchanging perspectives rather than trying to converge to a single map. It is good if the discussion leads to convergence, but keeping diverse perspectives is also important if not more important.

    As the saying goes, if you and your partner have the same thoughts, one of you is redundant. Since diversity comes from the individual, it is kept starting at that level.