The idea of concept mapping has been around for a while. The term that has recently become popular is mind mapping. An example of a hand-written mind map is…
As you can see, the idea is that you keep writing as things pop into your head without thinking about whether it makes sense right then. It is another way of brainstorming that puts it into a visual representation.
To me the difference between mind mapping and concept mapping is perspective. I think mind mapping could be used to clear your mind by writing anything that comes to mind to get it down on paper so you can go back and organize it later. This can often be helpful if you feel your mind is cluttered with too many things to think about. Once you get it down on paper and can see it visually, then you could separate it out and organize it so it makes more sense. It can help you think through any issues to arrive at a solution. Concept mapping on the other hand would revolve around only one concept. You would be creating a visual representation of items related to one specific issue you are trying to illustrate.
Software has been developed to assist in concept mapping and mind mapping…
Inspiration is a software, mostly used in K-12 that allows you to visually respresent your ideas through concept mapping electronically. As I am a visual learner, it helps me to be able to visually represent things I am working on. I think it is also very useful in teaching, especially when teaching PK-12, to show them a visual representation of how what you are teaching goes together. It helps them form those links in their mind. It can also be used to connect the new knowledge to knowledge they already have.
MindMeister allows you to do collaborative online mind mapping. The great thing about this software is that it allows for collaborative brainstorming. As the old saying goes, “2 heads are better than 1.” So, this way if you are working on a project with colleagues or having your students work in groups on a project they would have the ability to collaboratively brainstorm and have it electronically available (this could almost be considered a type of wiki…that’s a subject for another post).
What are your thoughts on concept mapping and mind mapping? How do you use these tools in education?