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Semantic Networks (Concept Maps) as Mindtools

Semantic Networks (Concept Maps) as Mindtools

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Semantic Networks (Concept Maps) as Mindtools

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  1. Semantic Networks (Concept Maps) as Mindtools Cherie McCollough VaNTH-PER Professional Development June 2nd, 2004

  2. Project Based Instruction Assessment • “What is needed in education at all levels is a revolution – not just a change in methodology, but a fundamental revolution in spirit.” (Jonassen p. 271) • Results of Reform: intellectually challenged students and teachers, teachers as facilitators, lifelong learners, energized learners and teachers, no more memorization of trivia.

  3. 3 reasons why learners are not able to think: • 1. Too often, they apply a “brute force” memorization strategy. • 2. Learners are poorly motivated – “most pandemic, most insidious cause for underachievement is lower expectations for parents, teachers, and society.” • 3. Students tend to rely on vague perceptions and global, quick-fix solutions to problems rather than thinking and analyzing.

  4. Mindful Learning • Reflecting on aspects of problem • Examination and personalizing information • Generating and selecting alternative strategies • Making connections, building new structures to existing knowledge • Expending effort on learning • Concentrating • Reflecting on how task was performed

  5. Self-Regulated learning • Maintain orientation to learning goals • Plan activities that fulfill those goals • Goals selected for personal ability, prior knowledge, and interest • Self motivation • Access prior knowledge to apply to new learning • Apply strategies for getting started • Attribute success or failure to personal effort.

  6. Why are concept mapping tools effective for learning? • All memory systems are inter- • dependent. The most critical system • for incorporating knowledge is • short-term or “working memory”. • Working memory can only process • five to nine psychological units at • any one moment. To structure • large bodies of knowledge requires • an orderly sequence of iterations • between working memory and long- • term memory as new knowledge • is being received. Any tool that can externalize mental ideas (schema) has to be powerful.

  7. Rote learning vs. Meaningful Learning • Rote Learning • Birth to 3 years: infants and children recognize of regularities in the world in the world around them and begin to identify language labels or symbols for these regularities. • After 3 years: reception learning process where new meanings are obtained by asking questions and getting clarification of relationships between old and new concepts.

  8. Meaningful learning requires three conditions: • Material learned must be conceptually clear and presented with language and examples relatable to learner’s prior knowledge. • Learner must possess prior knowledge. • Learner must choose to learn meaningfully.

  9. Concept Maps (semantic maps) can help make the transfer from rote to meaningful learning. • Concept maps involve knowledge construction which is a relatively high level of meaningful learning. • New knowledge is always being created. • The process of knowledge construction has been is still being extensively studied and researched. Concept maps becoming a more accepted and valued tool for knowledge integration, knowledge construction, and assessment of knowledge.

  10. So where’s the problem? • Students have had years of rote-mode learning practice in school settings. • So called “learning style” differences are generally differences in the patterns of learning that students have used varying from continuous rote-mode learning to meaningful mode learning. • It is not easy to help students in the former condition to move to patterns of learning of the latter type.

  11. What are semantic networks? • Also known as cognitive structures, conceptual knowledge, and structural knowledge. • Are graphs consisting of nodes representing concepts and labeled lines representing relationships among them. • Used for:

  12. Constructing computer-based semantic nets engages learners in: • The reorganization of knowledge • Explicit description of concepts and their relationships • Deep processing of knowledge that promotes better remembering and retrieval and transfer • Relating new concepts to existing concepts and ideas, which improves understanding. • Spatial learning through spatial representation of concepts in an area of study.

  13. What is structural knowledge? • Provides the conceptual bases for knowing WHY. • Is the organization of the relationships among concepts in long-term memory. • Therefore, semantic networking helps learners map their cognitive structure.

  14. Why study structural knowledge in using semantic networks? • Understanding structural foundations in any content domain improves comprehension. • Is essential to recall and comprehension. • Learners construct structural and declarative knowledge when they study. • Is essential to problem solving and procedural knowledge acquisition. • Experts’ SK differs from novices’; understanding the differences is facilitated by semantic networking.

  15. Structure of Concept Maps Novak, J. D. The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct Them.

  16. What ways can semantic nets be used in the classroom?

  17. Semantic Nets as Study Guides • Should be used as a review strategy, NOT to memorize content. • Students MUST construct their own nets – NOT the teacher.

  18. Semantic Net as Knowledge Reflection and Integration Tool • SN helps students reflect on what they know and what they DON’T know. • Students with concept mapping experience are better problem solvers. • Provides valuable evidence of self-reflection and metacognitive reasoning. • Not only does concept mapping facilitate problem solving, but also helps learners to transfer those skills. • **Learners become aware of and control the cognitive processes of the task.

  19. Semantic Networking as a Planning Tool • SN’s can provide a shorthand form for organizing and sequencing ideas. • Examples – outlining chapters, organizing essay construction, “generating ideas” in Legacy cycle, planning research projects…

  20. Semantic Networks to Assess Learning • The semantic nets learners generate after instruction reflect the growth of their knowledge structures. • Pre- and post-assessment of knowledge highly beneficial as assessment for both student and teacher.

  21. Coaching the Construction of SN’s in the classroom • 1. Make a plan and set perspective for analyzing a domain. • Concept map structures are dependent on the context in which they will be used. Identify the text, lab activity, or particular question that one is trying to understand. • Helpful to select a limited domain of knowledge for first concept maps. • “Think like” – physicists, scientists, mathematicians when analyzing the domain.

  22. 2. Identify Important Concepts • Identifying important concepts in a content domain is crucial not only to understanding content but also for collaborating on tasks. • These could be listed, and then from this list a rank order should be established from the most general, most inclusive concept for this particular situation to the most specific, least general concept.

  23. 3. Create, define, and elaborate nodes. • Create and label a note for each concept listed in Step 2. • Can add pictures, descriptive text, and synonyms • Computer tools

  24. 4. Construct links and link concepts • Difficult process – having to precisely describe relationship between two ideas. • See Fig. 4.8 – page 71 for examples of links. • What characterizes a good link? Preciseness, succinctness, and most importantly descriptiveness. Use links that tell something meaningful about the relationship. • Interconnectedness adds to meaningful understanding.

  25. 5. Continue to expand the net. • Linking process continues, adding new nodes or concepts to help explain existing ones. • This process mirrors the natural pattern of knowledge acquisition in construction and integration of knowledge. • A good concept map is really never finished.

  26. 6. Students reflect on the process. • Reflection should be formative, not summative – should be an ongoing process as students continuously review the process, make changes, evaluate goals, answer questions. • Following completion: What Have I Learned? • About semantic nets, cooperative learning, multiple perspectives, meaningful thinking? • Reflection cements the knowledge that learners construct.

  27. Teaching Skills • Teacher no longer purveyor of knowledge but instigator, promoter, coach, helper, model and guide of knowledge construction. • Viability of knowledge of assessed in terms of community standards. • Relinquish authority – admit you do not know everything. • Educate: Educe – evoke, extract, elicit, draw out what learners know; help articulate what they DO know and they will come to know it better. • Administrative and technological support

  28. Advantages of Semantic Networks • Easy to use – most can gain proficiency in 1 – 2 hours. • Provide spatial representations of content which helps memory. • Enhance comprehension and retention of ideas; structural knowledge improves retention of content being studied. • Demonstrate interconnectedness of ideas from different subjects and different courses. • Should improve problem-solving performance. • See Tables 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 (pp. 73 – 74).

  29. Limitations of Semantic Networks • Limited ability to represent causal relationships. • Are not truly maps of the mind, but rather representations of what we think is in the mind. • Knowledge represented on a SN is dynamic; structural knowledge changes over time. Not entirely accurate or would constantly be in revision process. • Networks in the mind are much more complex and multidimensional.

  30. Assessing Semantic Nets • Compare learner’s net with expert’s (teachers). ?? • Determine learner’s knowledge growth. • Accept learner’s different perspectives • Compare learner’s nets to course goals – SN’s can be related to examination performance. • Evaluating: See pp 74 – 75 for different criteria for assessment of SN’s.

  31. Assessment and Learning • “If you sow the seeds of critical thinking, then you should harvest critical thoughts and not reproductive learning.” p. 283 • Have students self assess their knowledge bases before they submit them – this helps foster self regulation. P. 285 • Assessing collaboration – students working together produce knowledge bases but also learn more in the process. P. 286

  32. Assessing Thinking • Assessing Critical Thinking – difficult to assess; can’t always see transfer; emerges over time with lots of practice. Still, are obligated to try. • Critical thinking, creative thinking, complex thinking rubrics pp. 287 – 289.