Thursday, April 9, 2015

Supporting learning process with visual organizers

I was re-re-re-reading about concept-based design for learning and decided to create an image for my students - and anybody else - to use in their teaching and design.

One important part of teachers' work is to show the interrelations of topics in their subject matter, or in the elementary classroom to provide an inclusive view for students and make learning more meaningful. It often seems self clear for us as education professionals how different things  are related to each other, but at that point we forget that we have studied the phenomenon for years, and our students may be exposed to it for the first time in their lives.

Sometimes students struggle because they try to start learning from facts and details - and often their chosen learning strategy for this is memorizing. It is really hard to build your way up to the general idea or theory, when you don't know what is the main concept, and how to chunk all details together. Visual organizers like mindmaps and concept maps are very handy tools for this. Sometime students find them hard, because there is not one correct answer for building a mindmap, as it is a visual representation of one's own thoughts, and thus a very open-ended task. For this reason I would not grade students' mindmaps even if creating one was an assignment. Applying unnecessary power over learning process can be detrimental for good learning quality.

More about engaging students in their learning process can be read at NotesFromNina.

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