Concepts, Connections, and Constructivism: Mind Mapping for Pre-service Teachers

Keonya Booker, Assistant Professor in Teacher Education, recently presented Concepts, Connections, and Constructivism:  Mind Mapping for Pre-service Teachers at the 2015 Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy at Virginia Tech.  As a result of what she learned at the 2014 Faculty Technology Institute she presented on how she used collaborative idea maps to help students make connections.  Below are snippets from her conference proposal


Abstract: Constructivist theory asserts that students attach meaning to their learning by way of predicting, organizing, and evaluating information. Instruction in constructivist-based classes should support students as they actively connect new ideas with prior knowledge. Mind mapping allows students to make associations between both abstract and concrete types of information in creative and imaginative ways. This practice session will explore the use of a popular software program to help pre-service teachers understand major theoretical perspectives in a human development course. Particular attention will be paid to student perceptions of both the tool’s functionality and benefit to learning.

Description of Practice:  Mind mapping has myriad uses in education and there are several tools instructors can use to support student learning. At the College of Charleston all elementary and secondary pre-service teachers must successfully complete a Human Development course prior to their fieldwork experience. Since lifespan development traditionally takes a survey approach, breadth of information is emphasized, not necessarily depth. Because we want students to have a strong understanding of a particular topical issue prior to their practicum, the cumulative assignment was developed. For the cumulative assignment, each student group is responsible for exploring a developmental theorist (e.g., Piaget) or current educational issue (e.g., Common Core) and then presenting to the rest of the class. Students are required to use Popplet to coordinate their work and show connections between contrasting ideas. Uses for Popplet include editing, organizing, and drafting mind maps which will be demonstrated in the session. Participants will also see examples of student work and hear how students evaluated the use of the tool in terms of functionality and worth to the overall project.


 

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Booker’s presentation or how you can successfully us idea maps in your teaching feel free to contact Dr. Booker or your Instructional Technologist.

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