Strategies for Classrooms-Concept Mapping

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A Concept map is a diagram showing the relationships among concepts. It is a graphical tool for organizing
and representing knowledge. Concepts, usually represented as boxes or circles or “nodes”, are connected
with labelled arrows in a downward-branching hierarchical structure. The relationship between concepts can
be articulated in linking phrases such as “gives rise to”, “results in”, “is required by”, or “contributes to”. The
visual aspect aids in retention of information.
Research shows that concept maps are a way to develop logical thinking and study skills, by revealing
connections and helping students see how individual ideas form a larger whole. Mapping is an active
learning strategy that moves you beyond rote memorization to critical thinking. It provides an explicit,
encapsulated representation of important ideas on one page which is great for review. Mapping promotes
a richer construction of knowledge because you must organize, select, relate and interpret data. It helps
both the instructor and the student see gaps in knowledge and areas of oversimplification, contradiction or
misinterpretation.
Strategies and techniques to enhance classroom learning through the use of concept maps
• Use concept mapping to develop an understanding of a body of knowledge. Teachers can develop a map
along with their students by focussing on a theme, identifying related key words or phrases, ranking
concepts from abstract to specific, clustering concepts that interrelate closely, arranging concepts into a
diagrammatic representation and linking concepts with lines and labelling each line with a proposition.
• Students can use concept maps to glean research information in a concise format, and then write their
essay or research paper from their map. It helps to avoid plagiarism.
• Encourage students to create concept maps to study for their exams. Detailed explanations, definitions,
rules, formulae or equations should be included.
• Rather than a formal essay question on a test or exam, students can be asked to map concepts for
evaluation.
• Design structures or processes such as written documents, constructions, web sites, web search, and
multimedia presentations.
• Use a top down approach, working from general to specific or use a free association approach by
brainstorming nodes and then develop links and relationships.
• Use different colours and shapes for nodes and links to identify different types of information.
• Use a cloud node to identify a question.
• Gather information to a question in the question mode.
• Concept maps can be done independently or collaboratively.

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