Concept Mapping: Inspiration, FreeMind, Freeplane, SciPlore

This is a link to the original article that I explored regarding concept mapping:



This is a paper I wrote about concept mapping. You are welcome to read it if you'd like. In it I explore the idea of concept mapping as it relates to biology. The study was done on college students taking an A&P class and htey were given a pre-made concept map to use as a study guide.

Much of the info about concept mapping comes from the constructionist angle. My idea was if this tool is so good from the constructionist viewpoint, the students should probably be the ones to use it. If you use it in your lesson plans, I would focus on using it from this angle if possible.

This is a version of the concept map I created for our class. it has been saved as a word document so you can view it. I made it with Inspiration 9. Bu thter are other concept mappng programs out there.


Inspiration

This is where I got a free version of Inspiration. The trial version worked fine for me, but it's only for 30 days.
http://www.inspiration.com/
I found the software very easy to use. But I would take a look through the templates to see if one works for your ideas.

Smart Draw

here is another version of concept mapping software. There is a free version, interestingly, you can use it for floor plans and landscape maps too. There could be an environemntal lesson tie in there! or Geometry...
http://www.smartdraw.com/specials/ppc/concept-map.htm?id=201192&gclid=COrm4KKT0a8CFcXc4AodOyqiGA

Also FreeMind is an openware software version for concept mapping:

From their page, these are some of the uses for FreeMind that are applicable to education;
  • Keeping a collection of small or middle sized notes with links on some area which expands as needed. Such a collection of notes is sometimes called knowledge base.
  • Essay writing and brainstorming, using colors to show which essays are open, completed, not yet started etc, using size of nodes to indicate size of essays. I don't have one map for one essay, I have one map for all essays. I move parts of some essays to other when it seems appropriate.
This is where you can download FreeMind:
http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Download

As a conclusion, I would say that there are as many ways to use concept mapping as there are ideas or ways of thinking. As with most instruction, it is important to have the end result be student learning. That is something to keep in mind as you design your elsson plans. I feel that this tool could help students construct thie own verisons of the world around them. I think it is important to provide some scaffolding and check in points (different levels for different students and groups), but to let them use the programs actively themselves.