Digitizing Concept Maps and Progress Charting

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Peregrin5, Oct 29, 2016.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Oct 29, 2016

    So I'm actually trying a whole bunch of new things this year. I guess being some place new has given me a little bit of a push to try out new things that I've wanted to try for a while but didn't know how to make work.

    I'm doing daily quizzes now (thanks to those who helped me in the previous thread). I think this is great because they can actually see how well they're doing and get to practice their understanding daily, which is awesome. I also think it's awesome because it gives me a way to introduce progress charting into my classroom where they graph their progress on various skills and learning goals.

    However, I'm having a little trouble figuring out how to make it work really well. With skills like being able to measure accurately it's easy. However with things like concepts, where we're learning about a concept over the course of a whole unit, it's a bit trickier, because I've been giving them quizzes on the things we've been doing so far, but it's not an accurate representation of how well they understand the whole concept. As an example, a learning goal might be: "Students will be able to describe the impact of human actions on the systems of weather and climate." And I might have given students some instruction and quizzing on the difference between weather and climate and they did very well on that (being a very simple concept), but they don't know all of the various complex data sets, evidence, and systems involved in climate change. I want them to see how they've grown over time. Should I give them a pre-test on the entire unit? It's likely they would fail that, but it would show growth over time. And then I could every now and then give them larger quizzes than our daily ones that test on everything in the unit and show them how their understanding is growing. I'm also playing around with the idea of having kids progress chart on a Google Sheet instead of on paper.

    Secondly, another teacher has brought to my attention the problem with my testing students on stuff we learn all year when I collect all of their notes out of their binder after the end of the unit so they don't really have a chance to review their notes. This got me thinking about digitizing some of their notes. Particularly their concept maps. I have students add words to their concept maps and draw in arrows and the relationships between these words. I was thinking about having them re-create these at the end of the unit in a digital format and keeping these in a blog so they can review it if they feel like it. However there don't seem to be many truly free mindmapping apps (they usually let you only make like 3-4 before they charge you). And very few of them allow you to add text to the arrows. Those that do are fairly complicated (LucidChart), and I'm questioning whether this is a good idea to begin with. Maybe I should have them just photograph their concept maps and post them on their blog? So I guess my question here is, are there any good apps for concept mapping (not just mind mapping, but allowing kids to write on the arrows) that are simple to use and free, and if not, should I just have them photograph physical concept maps?
     
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  3. Learning Hypothesis

    Learning Hypothesis Rookie

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    Nov 2, 2016

    I think that a pre-test is a great idea. Everyone appreciates seeing growth over time. It is especially encouraging to students that struggle. As far as the concept map, I haven't found anything that would work and be cost effective. I think the idea of a picture and posting to their blog is a good idea.
     
  4. fjaravata

    fjaravata Rookie

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    Nov 2, 2016

    Hi!

    You may want to look into Popplet and/or Padlet. Both are very good at capturing ideas and mapping them out. I use both, Popplet for the younger 3-5 students and Padlet up to high school and faculty in-service days. They do not however, let you write on the arrows--that usually includes the paid apps like Lucid, MindMeister, Inspiration/Kidspiration etc.

    UPDATE: Looks like Padlet does NOT allow arrows to ideas. sorry about that!

    Google Drawings can do this as well but isn't focused on mind mapping. If your school uses this, then it is easy to get to vs. signing up for the others. Any other drawing apps can work too

    Hope this help you! But please let me know if you have other questions about this...
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2016
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nov 2, 2016

    Can't believe I didn't think of Google Drawings!
     
  6. Tulipteacher

    Tulipteacher Companion

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    Nov 2, 2016

    First of all,I want to say that I find your posts really interesting! I think most of the threads I've replied to since I've joined have been yours!

    Re: pretests. I have to admit I've never really seen the point of them, unless I'm going to use that information to help me plan what to teach (like at the beginning of the year to see what they remember from last year) or how to group students and differentiate instruction (which I'd love to do but have never managed to do given everything else on my plate.) Or maybe for a discrete set of facts like times tables or prefixes.

    Otherwise it doesn't seem like a good way to spend class time and it seems demoralizing for the students. (Here kids, take this test I know you'll fail!) I teach ELA and not science, but I think it's pretty safe to say that my students don't expect that they already know the science material, so therefore assume that they'll progress on it, and don't need to prove it to themselves.

    I do daily open notes warm-ups, which are similar to your quizzes, and I do larger quizzes weekly. It works well for me and my style of teaching.

    Remember that whatever you're doing is for the students' learning and for you to be able to track it. I have to remind myself not to get stuck on feeling like I have to do something a certain way because I've established some system that only matters to me. (I'm not saying that you are, just commenting about myself.)

    Finally, what is the purpose of your collecting and keeping their notes? Is there a reason they can't have them back? If it's to keep in a portfolio, maybe it would be easier to scan or take a pic and upload what you want to keep.
     
  7. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nov 3, 2016

    Hi Tulip! I agree. I've never been much of a fan for pre-tests, but it has been great recently for a skill that students started off the year doing really poorly on, to be able to continue to graph their quiz scores over the past two months and shoot from getting 10%s to get 100%s! Kids were really happy about their growth and I'm really pushing that growth mindset. But that would have only been possible for them to start off with that 10%. Eventually I want them to learn not to see doing really poorly on assessments as demoralizing and see it more of as an opportunity to grow.

    I do warm-ups too, but since I do the daily quizzes, I'm wondering if they're even necessary anymore. It does give them something to do first thing in the period. Most kids don't really put much effort into their warm-ups because they know we'll go over the answer in a few minutes.
     
  8. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Nov 3, 2016

    Why do you collect their notes? Won't they need them for mid terms and finals?
     
  9. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nov 3, 2016

    Sorry forgot to respond to that part. At the end of the unit, I collect all of their handouts and notes to clear space in their binders for the new unit. And also to save for their midterms and finals, because I find if I just give it to them to keep a hold of, they often just toss all of their notes in the trash. Our units end up being about 30-40 pages long, so they would fill up their binders pretty quick and make things unmanageable.

    Also yes tulip, I think the easiest method right now would be to have them take a picture of their unit concept map (a page which crystallizes all they've learned in the unit) and just upload that to their student portfolio.
     

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