Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge. They include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts.
he label for most concepts is a word, although sometimes we use symbols such as + or %, and sometimes more than one word is used
Propositions contain two or more concepts connected using linking words or phrases to form a meaningful statement.
s these are called semantic units, or units of meanin
oncept maps tend to be read progressing from the top downward.
nother characteristic of concept maps is that the concepts are represented in a hierarchical fashion with the most inclusive, most general concepts at the top of the map and the more specific, less general concepts arranged hierarchically below
t is best to construct concept maps with reference to some particular question we seek to answer, which we have called a focus question
nclusion of cross-links. These are relationships or links between concepts in different segments or domains of the concept map.
cross-links often represent creative leaps on the part of the knowledge produce
two features of concept maps that are important in the facilitation of creative thinking: the hierarchical structure that is represented in a good map and the ability to search for and characterize new cross-links.
Concept maps were developed in 1972 in the course of Novak’s research program at Cornell where he sought to follow and understand changes in children’s knowledge of science
earning takes place by the assimilation of new concepts and propositions into existing concept and propositional frameworks held by the learner.
hey found it difficult to identify specific changes in the children’s understanding of science concepts by examination of interview transcripts
better way to represent children’s conceptual understanding emerged the idea of representing children’s knowledge in the form of a concept map.
learner must possess relevant prior knowledge
owerful uses of concept maps is not only as a learning tool but also as an evaluation tool,
e defined concept as a perceived regularity (or pattern) in events or objects, or records of events or objects, designated by label. I
pistemology is that branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of knowledge and new knowledge creatio
begin with a domain of knowledge that is very familiar
eates a context that will help to determine the hierarchical structure of the concept map. It is also helpful to select a limited domain of knowledge for the first concept map
A good way to define the context for a concept map is to construct a Focus Question, that is, a question that clearly specifies the problem or issue the concept map should help to resolve.
first step to learning about something is to ask the right questions.
iven a selected domain and a defined question or problem in this domain, the next step is to identify the key concepts that apply to this domain. Usually 15 to 25 concepts will suffic
rom this list a rank ordered list should be established from the most general, most inclusive concept,
We refer to the list of concepts as a parking lot, since we will move these concepts into the concept map as we determine where they fit in.
next step is to construct a preliminary concept map.
Post-its allow a group to work on a whiteboard or butcher paper and to move concepts around easily.
writing all of the concepts on Post-its(TM), or preferably by using the IHMC CmapTools
struggle with the process of building a good hierarchical organization.
moving of concepts together with linking statements and the moving of groups of concepts and links to restructure the map.
sed in conjunction with a computer projector, two or more individuals can easily collaborate in building a concept map and see changes as they progress in their work.
between individuals in the same room or anywhere in the world, a
a concept map is never finished.
always necessary to revise this map
Good maps usually result from three to many revisions.
is one reason why using computer software is helpful.
Once the preliminary map is built , cross-links should be sought
nks between concepts in different segments or domains of knowledge
ross-links are key to show that the learner understands the relationships between the sub-domains in the map.
be selective in identifying cross-links,
recise as possible in identifying linking words that connect concept
Concept mapping is an easy way to encourage very high levels of cognitive performance, when the process is done well
oftware allows the user to link resources (photos, images, graphs, videos, charts, tables, texts, WWW pages or other concept maps) located anywhere on the Internet or in personal files to concepts or linking words
concept maps can serve as the indexing and navigational tools for complex domains of knowledge, as will be illustrated later with NASA materials on Ma
Many of the CmapServers are “public”, allowing anybody (no authorization needed) to publish their collections of concept maps and resources
concept maps built using CmapTools can be stored on servers (CmapServers, see: Cañas et al., 2003a) where anybody on the Internet can access them
se the Cmap to research information to learn more about the topic, leading to an improved map with linked resources, and iteratively proceed on another search;
list of concept waiting to be added to a concept map as the parking lot of concepts.
he staring point for the construction of the concept map can be a list of concepts that the teacher wants to make sure all students include in their map.
he most challenging and difficult aspect of constructing a concept map is constructing the propositions; that is, determining what linking phrases will clearly depict the relationship between concept
For difficult topics – whether difficult for the students as determined by the teacher’s previous experience, or difficult for the teacher because of his/her background – using an “expert skeleton” concept map is an alternative.
reviously prepared by an expert on the topi
onstruct more specific submaps.
if one clicks on a concept such as “electrical energy” in Figure 12 and selects one of the “search” menu options, CmapTools will retrieve WWW resources that not only deal with electricity, but also relate to other concepts in the map
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use of concept maps to capture the “tacit” knowledge of experts