Concept Mapping as a Mediator of Constructivist Learning

Concept Mapping as a Mediator of Constructivist Learning

Gregory MacKinnon (Acadia University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-120-9.ch033
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This chapter on electronic concept mapping introduces a specific example of a learning technology that has potential for serving and promoting an emerging set of identified literacies in today’s youth. The chapter begins with a discussion of the nature of the modern student and the literacies that are most likely to serve them well as they integrate into an increasingly technological information-based society. A discussion of the historical development of the concept map and its defining characteristics will follow. The range of applications of concept maps in K-12 classrooms will then be discussed with additional comments regarding teacher development both in preservice and inservice settings. The chapter will close with a discussion of the particular literacies served by electronic concept mapping.
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Literacies For The 21St Century

Dede (2007) cites Jenkins et al (2006) who has identified literacies associated with student engaging new types of media:

  • “play, the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem solving;

  • performance, the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery;

  • simulation, the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes;

  • appropriation, the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content;

  • multitasking, the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details;

  • distributed cognition, the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities;

  • collective intelligence, the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal;

  • judgment, the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources;

  • transmedia navigation, the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities;

  • networking, the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information; and

  • negotiation, the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.” (p. 23)

Key Terms in this Chapter

Externalizing: A process by which the student shares their private meanings or prior knowledge by preparing a picture.

Millenials: A term coined to describe the emerging generation of learners who tend to access a range of technological tools seamlessly.

Digital Literacy: Ability to use the tools of the digital age in order to communicate and problem solve effectively.

Collaborative Learning: A process of students and/or teachers addressing a common task in which they are mutually accountable.

Concept Map: A hierarchal picture of a mental map of knowledge.

Constructing Meaning: Accommodating new knowledge within existing cognitive structures.

Conceptual change: The notion that constructing meaning involves not only assimilation but also accommodation in order to change one’s preexisting ideas.

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