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Overview



Uses of Collaborative Idea Maps in Education


Idea maps can manifest themselves in various forms (word webs, semantic maps, etc.). However, websites like the ones mentioned below are going to revolutionize how we use them. Students will no longer create these maps on paper as a tool of their own. Now they can create and collaborate via networking sites (e.g. http://bubbl.us). Students can create accounts on these sites, add to their buddy lists, and share work within these small communities. Activities could even be designed so that students are forced to create learning communities wherein they seek out friends in their buddylists to reinforce the learning experience/process. This technology is applicable across content areas & grade levels. Here are a few ideas I had:

Lesson Plans & Ideas

(I had http://bubbl.us in mind as I drafted these ideas. Perhaps there are many other sites where one can build an network of other semantic mappers, but I found this to be the most efficient.)

FIRST IDEA
Students could also be assigned various topics to research. If you designed each question to have a different focus, but same basic principles behind them, you could use this website for collaboration.
Example questions:
Set A
What are the differences between liquids and gasses?
What are the similarities between Solids and gasses?

Set B
Draw a BUBBL that examines the racism in OTHELLO.
Draw a BUBBL that examines the racism in Huck Finn

Both of the sets of questions above have very different qualities to them. Student could express a large amount of knowledge by answering any of these four questions, but that is only tapping into the KNOWLEDGE in Bloom’s Taxonomy. What if we could get them to move on to EVALUATION simply by having him/her complete one of these questions and then seek out a friend who answered the other question in the set and add then evaluate each other and add to the other person’s question.

SECOND IDEA
You could use it to have your students complete a closing activity for a lesson/unit. Lets say that we have to draw a similarity between The Pigman and Where the Red Fern Grows. Students could start off with 2 bubbles (one for each book) and collaborate while sitting at a computer in one room, or they could do it in front of their own computers at home.

THIRD IDEA
Vocabulary Scavenger Hunt could also be created with this site. Students could do a diagram for the 5 words they think are them most difficult for that week’s vocab lesson. Then they could make a word web where the main block is for the chosen vocab word. Pink blocks are for similar words that have come up in other vocab lessons. Green blocks would be for previously learned vocab words that serve as antonyms. Yellow blocks are for associations to the student’s own life. And, finally, blue blocks for tricks that might help them remember the words.

Then have the students go on a scavenger hunt for all of the words that were not on their “hardest words” list.
Active Discussion Page

Please click here for a discussion page on this technology.

Specific Program Links

http://www.bubbl.us
Bubbl is my favorite of this list because it is so simple to use. Students at most levels will be able to use this.

The rest of the sites in this list are pretty technical. I think most students will be able to figure it out, so you may want to ask a few students to give them a trial run.
http://www.mindomo.com/
http://www.mindjet.com/us/
http://www.gliffy.com/
http://freemindshare.com/
http://www.mind42.com/
http://www.mindmeister.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeMind
http://vue.tufts.edu/


In vocabulary instruction, students can connect words to their coordinating, collocating, superordinating, and synonyming parters using tags using www.wordie.org.


TAP

To create effective mind maps, try a THREE step process, 'T.A.P.' Here’s how it works:

T: Tap into your thought processes, capturing your ideas and transferring them into a visible, non-linear format in your mind map. At this stage, neatness doesn’t count. Just record your thoughts and ideas, quickly and randomly.

A: Arrange, group, add, delete, rearrange and clarify the content of your mind map until it is complete and well organized. At this stage, you need to look at your thoughts and ideas with a logical mindset. This is also the step where you can add images to enhance your map, plus links to documents, files, web pages and other resources, to help clarify the points in your map.

P: Present and share your ideas in a format that suits you and the recipients of them. During this final stage, you may want to present the map itself to your target audience. But more often, when you are making presentations to logical, left-brained thinkers, export your map into a linear format or print your maps onto poster-sized paper and use these to present your ideas to your audience.
- KristianStill KristianStill Jul 2, 2007



What Collaborative Idea Maps Do for Students




In her book Words in the Mind, Jean Aitchinson argues that words are organized by the relationships they have with other words. She finds that there are four ways in which words may be associated: co-ordination (words on the same level of detail, such as hot, warm, cool. This group includes antonymns.); collocation (words likely to be found together, like salt water or butterfly net); superordination (an overall term that includes the stimulus word, such as bird for sparrow); and synonymy (words that have a similar meaning, like hungry and starved) (Aitchinson, 1987, p. 72).

While traditional vocabulary instruction involves the memorization of words, research shows that a more effective method is semantic mapping. “[The Longman Concise English Dictionary] tells us that warm means ‘having or giving out heat to a moderate or adequate degree’. Yet, in order to fully understand warm, one needs to know how it slots into the range of temperature words such as cold, tepid, hot. This type of information seems to be an intrinsic part of one’s mental lexicon” (author’s italics) (Aitchinson, 1987, p. 13). See these sources for more information on the success of semantic mapping methods:

Anderson, Richard C. & Nagy, William E. (1992). “The Vocabulary Conundrum.” American Educator. 16(4), 14-8 44-7.

Beers, Kylene. (2003). When Kids Can’t Read, What Teachers Can Do. Portsmouth, NH: Heineman.

Eeds, Maryann & Cockrum, Ward A. (1984). “Teaching Word Meaning by Expanding Schemata vs. Dictionary Work vs. Reading in
Context.” Journal of Reading, 28, 492-7.

Gipe, Joan. (1978). “Investigating Techniques for Teaching Word Meanings.” Reading Research Quarterly, 14, 624-644.

Margosein, Carol M., Pascarella, Ernest T., & Pflaum, Susanna W. (1982). “The Effects of Instruction Using Semantic Mapping on
Vocabulary and Comprehension.” Journal of Early Adolescence, 2, 185-94.

Rosenbaum, Catherine. (2001). “A Word Map for Middle School: A Tool for Effective Vocabulary Instruction.”
Journal of Adolescent and
Adult Literacy
, 45, 44-9.


Lesson Plans & Ideas


Click here to add or link to lesson plans or ideas for the use of this technology in the classroom.

Active Discussion Page


Please click here for a discussion page on this technology.

Specific Program Links


  • Freemind - free mind mapping software. Runs on many platforms.
  • MindMeister - collaborative synchronic idea mapping
  • bubbl.us - collaborative synchronic idea mapping
  • Mindomo - create and share idea maps (add graphics and symbols)
  • Wordie.org - tag and link words together. "Like Flickr, but without the photos."
  • Debategraph - free, collaborative debate mapping.

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    Aitchinson, Jean. (1987). Words in the Mind. New York: Basil Blackwell.