Mapping a course for #oextend

This post is a response for the Ontario Extend module Teacher for Learning in the Organize Knowledge section. The extend activity was to create a concept map of my course but since I’ve been using concept maps in course design, I’m pointing to the ones I’ve already created as examples.

All the maps for my current online course Critical Digital Literacy (CDL) can be found on the course site – overview of CDL, code breaking, meaning making, use and understand, analyzing, and persona. These maps outline the five resources for critical digital literacy found in the core reading from the course.

Each of these maps was created using my all time favourite concept mapping software VUE – Visual Understanding Environment. It’s a free, open source software produced by Tufts University. This software was easy to learn but also had exceptional depth in it’s ability to create visual presentations from the maps. I haven’t used this lately since the most recent updates were done in 2015 and I’m using a newer computer that may have compatibility issues.

I’ve done work in CMap, concept mapping software created at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) but would need to go back and relearn since it’s been a few years since I’ve used this digital resource. It’s full potential comes through the collaboration options available.

Because my students will become teachers in Ontario schools, I introduce them to Mindomo concept mapping. This is licensed for use in Ontario K-12 classrooms so, for my students, it is a FREE digital concept mapping resource teachers should know about. Students in my online course are required to create a concept map for their inquiry project which allows me to see what they are planning to do, what resources they may have found and I can identify potential gaps in their project plan. Mindomo can also be used collaboratively in whole class or small group maps depending on the purpose. Before the students do their individual maps, they explore Mindomo in a collaborative mapping task with no marks or grades attached, so they can become familiar with the software’s functionality and affordances.

Mapping is a great way to make learning visible and see how students are making connections but you need to give them time to play and explore before you attach marks to a map since their familiarity with the tool will impact their production. If you want to see other maps I’ve created as I’ve learned, you’ll find a collection of them on my electronic portfolio site for the UBC Masters of Education (MET) program.

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