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Concept Mapping in Education: Guide for Teachers : Educational Technology

Concept mapping is a learning strategy in which the relationships between concepts and ideas are visualized using graphical representations. It is a form of the graphical organizer, which consists of different circles or fields (called nodes), each of which contains a concept and which are all connected to one another by linking phrases. The role of these linking phrases is to “identify the relationship between neighboring concepts” (McClellan and Broggy, 2009).

Concept cards were first introduced as a learning tool in the 1970s by Novak and his colleagues at Cornell University. Concept maps are based on Asubel’s theory of meaningful learning, which states that “Learning makes sense if the student understands the relationship of what he has learned to other knowledge” (KILIÇ and ÇAKMAK, 2013, p. 154). In other words, meaningful learning “arises when a person consciously and explicitly combines new knowledge with relevant concepts that they already have” (Stoica, Moraru and Miron, 2010, p. 568). Some important pillars for meaningful learning are previous knowledge, interaction and collaboration, which are all supported by concept mapping. A detailed discussion of the literature and the theoretical basics of concept maps would go beyond the scope of this short contribution. To learn more about concept maps, their underlying theory and their use in education, we recommend the reference list at the end of this article.

Following the literature cited below, here is a brief overview of some of the benefits and opportunities of using concepts with your students in class:

Benefits of using concept maps with students

  • Provide students with non-linear visual opportunities to understand, produce, and represent knowledge.
  • Help develop superior thinking skills, including analytical skills.
  • Facilitating the retrieval and processing of information.
  • Help the students to sell their knowledge and show their understanding.
  • Make explicit structural forms of knowledge and relationships between concepts to improve student understanding.
  • They take care of different learning styles.
  • They involve the students in meaningful learning activities.
  • They are effective organizational tools that students can use to organize their knowledge.
  • It has been shown that visual representations of knowledge both stimulate and increase brain activity (Marzono, 1998, cited in Birbili, 2006).
  • Increase social interaction, communication and teamwork.
  • They can be used in different content areas and with students of different classes.

Use of concept maps

  • Highlight the similarities and / or differences between the concepts.
  • Display the sub-components of a concept.
  • Show the methodological steps in developing a concept, event, etc.
  • Brainstorm ideas on a specific topic.
  • Assess the knowledge of the students formally during the learning process.
  • Use concept cards in summative assessments at the end of a lesson or course unit.

Here are some good concept mapping tools that we recommend for your class:

1- Bubbl.us
A good tool for creating visually attractive concept cards. No software download is required and maps created by you can be saved as an image. Various sharing and collaboration functions are also supported.

2- Popplet
Another great tool for students to create and share concept cards. It offers several functions, including: taking notes in different formats with text, images and drawings; Link notes together; Export your final work as PDF or JPEG. supports multiple languages ​​and many more.

3- MindMup
Allows you to create unlimited mind maps for free and save them in the cloud. Your mind maps are available anywhere and instantly from any device. “

4- Creative
Offers countless ready-made concept card templates, supports group work and is integrated in third-party tools such as Chrome Store and Google Apps. It also has this handy one resource to help you better understand and use concept cards.

5- Coggle
Another useful tool for creating collaborative concept maps. “Coggle is an online tool for creating and sharing mind maps. It works online in your browser: there is nothing to download or install. “


6- MindMeister
“MindMeister is an online mind mapping tool that allows you to visually capture, develop, and share ideas. With MindMeister, you can share your mind maps with as many friends or colleagues as you want, and collaborate with them in real time . “


7- Lucidchart
Lucidchart lets you design concept maps, flowcharts, and various types of diagrams. It also supports collaboration features and works on multiple devices. It also offers this handy one resource So that you can learn more about concept maps and their use in your class.


8th- Mindomo
Excellent for creating mind maps, concept maps, contours and much more. With the “Presenter” function, students can convert their cards into slide presentations. Maps can embed videos, audio clips, and links. Students can also browse web images directly from the map and add them with a single click.


9- Spider writing
“SpiderScribe is an online tool for mind mapping and brainstorming. You can organize your ideas by connecting notes, files, calendar events, etc. in freeform cards. You can work together and share these cards online. “

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