Our first assignment for EDUC 406 – Individual Learning: Theories and Applications involved creating a concept map for the core concepts introduced in the book Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge, by Gerald Edelman.
I had never done any concept mapping before so I turned to the internet to explore what downloadable programs were out there to assist us with our assignment. Cmap Tools turned out to be a very user friendly tool where we were able to list the major concepts and then link them with connecting words.
This was a very difficult book to grasp and I found that this exercise helped me to deepen my understanding of his theories on brain-based epistemology. Concept mapping is a good tool for helping students make sense of challenging material.
Here are a few things I learned about how to use concept maps effectively:
- begin with a domain of knowledge
- define a focus question that requires explanation
- identify the key concepts
- rank the concepts from most general to specific
- construct a preliminary concept map
- build a hierarchical organization
- a concept map is never finished
- revise the first draft
- use good linking words to specify relationships between concepts
- construct cross-links