Wrap-Up and Conclusion

Congratulations! You did it. By now you should feel confident in integrating technology tools into your teaching practice. Do take the time to reward yourself for completing all 15 modules in this course. We will be wrapping up this course with the last task—a concept map. There is no outside readings for this module. All content is listed in this page. In order to assist you to create a quality concept map, the background and some core concepts about concept mapping are provided below.

Background on Concept Mapping

The development of concept mapping is generally attributed to the work of Joseph Novak at Cornell University as part of a 1972 research program seeking to follow and understand changes in children’s knowledge of science (Novak & Cañas, 2007). Concept mapping is rooted in the theories of cognitive restructuring, going back even further to the work of Ausubel in the 1960s, who stressed the importance of prior knowledge in learning new knowledge. Meaningful learning, according to Ausubel, occurs with only three conditions: conceptually clear resources, a learner’s prior knowledge, and the learner’s active choice to learn (Novak & Cañas, 2007). Concept mapping is generally considered to be a tool for these types of cognitive processes:

  • integrating old and new knowledge
  • assessing understanding or diagnosing misunderstanding
  • brainstorming
  • problem solving.

In other words, it is a useful tool for meaningful learning. And similar to the context in which it was developed, concept mapping can be used to follow how knowledge changes and evolves.

Core Concepts about Concept Mapping

Very briefly, “concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge” (Novak & Cañas, 2008, p.1). Figure 2 shows a concept map that answers the question, “What is a concept map?” Note that concept maps are generally read from top to bottom. This map on concepts includes a definition of a concept, which can be seen on the low middle left. Novak and Cañas define a concept as a “perceived regularity in events or objects, or a records of events or objects” (p.10). The concept map also provides characteristics of concepts, such as, concepts are hierarchically structured; are labeled with symbols or words; and can be combined to form propositions.

Fig. 2: Concept Map Showing Key Features of Concept Maps (Source: Novak and Cañas (2008, p.2).
We can talk about concepts only with words, but as the concept map shows, concepts are much more than just words. They are really a cluster of related ideas. Single words are often used as labels for complex ideas, and we can readily think that students own a concept when in reality they own only the word. For example, leadership is a concept and works relatively well as a simple label, but many concepts are clearer when stated as propositions containing multiple concepts. Think about the number of concepts in your course and how you might represent them graphically.
Concept maps are organized hierarchically; however, the hierarchy of complex concepts is not always clear. The structuring of concept maps requires identifying the components of concepts, relationships, and dependencies. By identifying cross-links, new patterns and relationships among the knowledge concepts often reveal themselves. Nursing students using mind mapping in a clinical practicum made comments such as, “I’m finally able to make sense of all the pieces of the puzzle, and to form relationships among the pieces of data” (Cahill & Fonteyn, 2000, p.220).

Tools for Concept Mapping

Many tools are available to create your concept map easily. The following are some tools I recommended. You can choose whatever you like as long as it allows you to export your concept map to JPG or GIF file so that you can upload it to a Weebly page. Some tools offer code for you to embed the map into a page. That would be fine as well.

Goals and Outcomes

Goals

During this module, students will:

  • review all key elements for blended learning
  • understand how to create an effective concept map

Outcomes

After completing this module, students will be able to:

  • create a comprehensive concept map for creative high-quality blended learning
  • identify all key elements for high-quality blended learning
  • effectively use shapes, colors, photos, text, images, and lines in the design of a concept map.

“To Do” List

Discussions

Concept Map: Educational Games and Simulations

Concept mapping is a great instructional strategy for knowledge creation and consolidation. By now, you should have acquired certain knowledge in the area of educational games and simulations. In this discussion forum, you will be creating a concept map about educational games and simulations. There is no restriction regarding what tool you use as long as you can save your concept map as JPG or GIF file and attach it to your posting.

In order to create your concept map correctly, please read the following requirements carefully:

  • follow the steps introduced in this Webpage: How to make a concept map?
  • use this focus question to develop your concept map: What is effective use of educational games and simulations? (If you don’t know what focus question is, please read How to make a concept map?)
  • save your concept map as JPG or GIF file and attach it to your posting

Post your concept map by attaching the JPG or GIF file to a new thread in the corresponding forum inside Moodle and providing a brief overview of your concept map in the message text. (Please also list the tool you used for creating your concept map.)

Project

Part 6: Evaluate and Revise

Please read the Project: Educational Game in the Classroom page for details about this assignment. 

Due Dates

To guide you through the whole process, six parts aligned with the ASSURE model are created. The due date for each part is listed below.

  • Project, Part 6: Evaluate and Revise (Due on the 1st Monday after Module 15)
    You can view the exact due dates on the Course Schedule page.

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References

Cahill, M., & Fonteyn, M. (2000). Using mind mapping to improve students’ metacognition. In J. Higgs & M. Jones (Eds.), Clinical reasoning in the health professions (pp.214 – 221). Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Cooper, S. T., Tyser, R. W., & Sandheinrich, M. B. (2007, September). The benefits of linking assignments to online quizzes in introductory biology courses. MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 3(3). Retrieved June 15, 2011, from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol3no3/cooper.pdf.

Novak, J. D., & Cañas, A. J. (2007). Theoretical origins of concept maps, how to construct them and their uses in education. Reflecting Education, 3(1), 29 – 42. Retrieved June 24, 2011, from http://www.reflectingeducation.net/index.php?journal=reflecting&page=article&op=viewFile&path[]=41&path[]=43.

Novak, J. D., & Cañas, A. J. ( 2008 ). The theory underlying concept maps and how to construct and use them (Tech. Rep. IHMC CmapTools 2006 – 01 Rev 01 – 2008). Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. Retrieved June 24, 2011, from http://cmap.ihmc.us/Publications/ResearchPapers/TheoryUnderlyingConceptMaps.pdf.