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Collection: Organizing Tools

purple arrow (1137 bytes)Computer-based concept mapping: Active studying for active learners

REFERENCE: Anderson-Inman, L., & Zeitz, L. (1993). Computer-based concept mapping: Active studying for active learners. The Computing Teacher, 20 (1), 6-11.

Description of article

CONTEXT: The authors describe the benefits of concept mapping, using computers software such as Inspiration, and CBFCM (computer-based formative concept mapping) over traditional pencil and paper methods of organizing information, in that:

PRACTICE: The authors provide a wonderful example of CBFCM, a "strategy for creating and revising electronic concept maps during the process of information acquisition and synthesis" by illustrating one student's application of CBFCM in her biology class. Rachel, a high school student, is studying the structure of cells. Her assignment is to create a concept map which illustrates her knowledge of the relationship between 11 important vocabulary words. Rachel's premap shows an inaccurate understanding of the vocabulary words. As she reads the assigned chapter on "Cell Structure," however, Rachel is able to manipulate her map, rearranging the words, inserting new concepts, applied crosslinks, and so forth. The next day, her teacher gives a lecture on "microscopes," after which students are asked to integrate this new information into their maps. Finally, as the unit is about to conclude, Rachel's teacher has students reread the chapter and adjust their maps to include more details in preparation for an upcoming test. Rachel adds additional information to her map, by inserting subsequent nodes and note windows, while at the same time rearranging the information already contained in her map.


Rachel's example illustrates how the use of a software-based organizing tool such as Inspiration can facilitate information acquisition and syntheses on one topic through a variety of inter-related tasks over time.



Lynne Anderson-Inman, College of Education, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97402.

Leigh Zeitz, Price Laboratory School, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50613

Inspiration Software, 7412 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy, Suite 102, Portland, OR 97225-2167
(503) 297-3004


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