domingo, 26 de febrero de 2012

Mapping Concepts

Looking very much forward to learn how this activity has been "rationalized", written about and turned into a methodological tool for teaching and learning. I come from Colombia, where at school we all mapped concepts intuitively. I grew up with it, used it from first grade along with the teachers that have been doing it from times immemorial. Nobody consulted books to figure how to do it, none published articles about their uses, types, taxonomy, purposes and all that is being done now. This was just the "natural" way to teach and learn and use a language additional to the spoken one to solidify concepts, ideas and made them graphically available for learners. A couple of years ago, organizing what probably used to be my father´s notes from his time at medical school (he was an orthopedic surgeon), I saw not only text but innumerable drawings and concept maps just the way we use to make from primary school. He used the same techniques to a very sophisticated extent in the 50s and 60s. This is to say that for us these readings may seem like instructions on how to walk, cough or run. I am surprised about the fact that in our school system this is so natural and someone claims to have coined the term, and own the "methodology" decades and decades after it was popularized probably not only in my country but in many other places as well.
My main expectations focus on technical solutions. Many good sites where the graphics can be drawn have restricted access and functionality. Also, of course, I am open to learn different other techniques that might enhance this product.
It is my experience that mindmapping is useful mainly for the one that invests the time and effort doing it. It reflects perceptions, includes connotations and even implied meanings in the colors we use, the lines we draw and the direction we move towards. One needs to be extremely versed in a field to be able to mindmap for someone else´s understanding and benefit. I draw mindmaps for my students during the lectures. I teach the way I learned.
The main difference between the two concepts seems to be in complexity. Concept maps are more complete, and pluri centric, expanding ideas and turning (graphically) a word into more meaning, in context. I am not sure this difference really matters. As long as you can develop an additional language to communicate with others effectively, its name is irrelevant. Sometimes, mindmaps can contain only symbols and images, What would they be calle like, then?
I will try to take a picture of a mindmap and upload it asap. A recent one.