Introduction to Concept Mapping

A concept map is a visual diagram of a topic that can help you organize and process information. When building a concept map, you are often working with the flow of thought, and a diagram allows you to move off onto tangents, group and sort ideas. Graphic organizers are powerful tools because they force you to think outside the traditional outline. A concept map can be a stand-alone document or used as a springboard for writing an essay, research paper or a website.

There are many tools available to help you create a concept map (of course, you can just use a pen and paper). Digital concept maps are much easier to edit and organize because they will allow you to move objects and link them in new ways.

Concept Mapping Tools

Cmap Tools - downloadable software, you create the map on your computer and export as a web page or image file
Lucidchart - online editing, has an interface designed for sharing, individuals in a group can each have access to the same document
Gliffy - another online editor, has other features besides concepts maps and makes it fairly easy to add images from the web

Other Links - this page has compiled other concept mapping software, if you are adventerous enough to try some of them out.

Your Assignment

1. Pick a topic, any topic that you are familiar with. The idea is that you will not have to research the topic and have enough information that you can create your map easily. Topics could include: sports, tv shows, restaurants, cars, animals - really whatever you're interested in personally will do.

2. Access (or download) one of the tools and create your map. The goal is to become familiar with the application - creating links, adding objects, inserting images and exporting for display to others. Here are two examples of unfinished concept maps to help you get started.


Grading: You will be assigned points based on the following criteria

1. Center Concept (main topic) is clearly visible on the page, either colored or much larger than other concepts (1 pt)
2. Main topic has at least 4 subtopics, or branches (4 pts)
3. Each subtopic has at least two concepts related to it (8 pts)
4. You have included at least one image on your map (1 pt)
5. The overall map is easy to follow, links make sense (1 pt)

Total Possible = 15 pts

3. Submit your map as an image file, or a link to a website or publication. See your instructor for specific details on submission.