Dynamic Maps’ Use in Smart-Cities Learning Contexts

Dynamic Maps’ Use in Smart-Cities Learning Contexts

Marco Pedroni (Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/jdldc.2012100103
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Abstract

This paper examines the potentialities and characteristics of dynamic maps in relationship with constructivist teaching, by considering maps’ support to four functions: the contents’ learning, the contextualization of Learning Objects, the contextualization of online learning interaction and the knowledge construction. Several algorithms for polymorphic and animated maps’ reconstruction, both bi-dimensional and tridimensional, will be examined and described in detail. Among these algorithms, a further differentiation is made between those concerning proximal, or hierarchical development, and those regarding gravitational developments. In the latter one the positioning of nodes derives from quantitative values, that express their relation’s attractive strength. Conclusions derived from this work are the unavoidable need to implement maps’ dynamic reconstruction algorithms, when the complexity of the disciplinary ontology makes the traditional static approaches unable to provide an effectively usable image of the map.
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2. Concept Maps As A Study Document

The first and most obvious mode is the concept map's use as a document “in itself”. The concept map has a particular hermeneutic value, related to its characteristic design and label relations. The representation of relations differs significantly from hypertexts to concept maps. Even hypertext navigation is based on relations and their navigation, but in hypertext, the visible part of the relation does not go beyond the “port of entry” (the link) that leads to the document, or to the connected part of a document. In the concept map the relations are entirely visible, as arcs connecting two concept-nodes. This feature makes fully visible the logical path from one concept to another. The concept map represents the relational texture of the discipline as a whole, and its user sees a design composed of nodes and arcs, which effectively shows the structure of the disciplinary context. This structure carries the particular hermeneutic value, because it allows the user to understand, at first sight, the topics and fundamental links of the context. Furthermore, constant use leads to a gradual deepening of the study concept, without losing sight of the general context and the specific position of each concept. This hermeneutic value is linked, obviously, to the degree of detail or depth of the map itself. The more the map is full of nodes and arcs, concepts and relations, the more the study of the map can become significant. By increasing the level of depth, the concept map evolves from context structuring to a kind of knowledge writing. In this way disciplinary content in explicitely structured as a set of relationships that connect specific fields and concepts of the discipline one to the other (Kramer, 1994; Pedroni, 2004). Torma and Nuutila (2004), allow, through a specific software, the use of a structured map to compose sentences in which concepts and relations are clearly separated and automatically integrated.

Among other applications, in a learning environment maps of this kind can provide testing tools which can be applied in “open” and “closed” modalities (La Vecchia & Pedroni, 2007).

These modalities may include:

  • Checking the correctness of concept maps provided by the teacher, and the reporting of any errors;

  • Creating maps in which the concepts are expressed and graphically designed, but the relations not labeled: the test consists in correctly writing on the map the relation labels, provided on a separate list;

  • Reconstruction of maps from a list of concepts and a list of relations.

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