Concept Maps – A Visual Tool For Meaningful Learning


How Can Concept Maps Be Used In Classrooms?

Do you find it hard to gain students’ attention in the classroom while delivering your lecture? If that is so, then you can try using a concept map maker which is a stimulating technique popularly used in learning and teaching. It helps in converting long, and boring lectures into fun activities whereby student’s participation is encouraged and sparks their interest in the subject.

Here are the following ways, you can use concept maps in classrooms:

  1. Introduce New Topics: a concept map usually begins with a focus question, so try introducing a topic with a question and encourage students to give input by assessing their existing knowledge about the topic, then identify their misconceptions and accordingly structure your lecture.
  2. Classroom Activity: encourage students to create concept maps using fill in the blank format. Students can be grouped into pairs and then provide each pair with a map that they have to fill. This will help students in recalling their knowledge and participating in class and also help you in identifying any needs for clarification. 
  3. Learning Strategy: ask students to make a concept map folder so that with every new topic covered or learned, encourage students to find connections linking new topics with the old ones, this will lead to a better understanding of the subject as a whole and help in retaining the information studied in previous chapters. 
  4. Evaluate Learning: concept maps can be used to evaluate learning when incorporated in the form of projects and assignments. This task will require students to be logical and critical in their selection, organization, and representation of the information. They will have to assess whether the information is relevant and significant in terms of the focus question that was written at the beginning.

How To Teach Concept Maps To Students?

Making concept maps is not a cumbersome task that requires a lot of attention to detail or rigid guidelines to follow. Mostly these maps are made in a hierarchical structure, related topics branch out from the main topic. This structure is the most flexible as it allows changes and the addition of new concepts to be made easily without rigorous erasing and remaking the diagram if a mistake occurs.

Here are 5 simple steps through which students can be taught concept mapping:

  1. Begin With A Focus Question: focus question must be catchy and preferably be a short phrase. The question must be designed in such a way that requires its answer to be a solution or conclusion. The question must direct the structure of the concept map and determine the information or sub-concepts to be recorded on the map.
  2. Record The Concepts: this step requires the collection and ranking of the information. Students must be asked to write related concepts and then rank them based on their relevance to the main topic.
  3. Find The Link Or Connections: identify relations between different concepts and represent those on the map. This includes determining the presence of cross-links connecting the information to the stated topics. This step helps in in-depth learning and understanding of the topic.
  4. Review And Complete: examine whether the map is logical and what conclusion can be derived from all the information that is put on it. Review the accuracy and make changes as required.
  5. Practice Again: at first, it would be better to give this activity in a group or pair. As they learn the strategy, then encourage them to create their maps and come up with their focus questions.
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