Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Journal #6: Classroom 2.0 - Collaborative Idea Maps (NETS-T I, II, III)

An idea map is a way to document the progression of one's ideas. This can be part of a brainstorming exercise or a well thought out plan. In the idea map, all ideas are place in a "box" of some sort. Any boxes that are related are connected, the boxes can be connected to more than one box or fall in a hierachy to one another. A collaborative idea map is one that more than one person works on together. What's great about this technology is that a collaborative idea map can be built upon by more than one person and as the idea grows it is documented along the way. This is a great way to share ideas in a group homework assignment and also allow for the Teacher to comment and make suggestions along the way. As you can see it can also be embedded in a classroom blog to be shared and perhaps even further collaborated.

I evaluated technology from www.bubbl.us. I found the program intuitive. As my example, I used a current group project I'm doing for my Education 350 class. In bubbl.us I typed out some of the ideas that were part of our brainstorming exercise for our project idea. I can now share this with those in my group and they can add their ideas to it, correct anything I miss interpreted and place any new ideas on the idea map. If requested, I could share this with our professor so that he can give us feedback. We can use this as a way to divide up the work and figure out our time allotment for each section of our presentation. The ability to collaborate without having to be in the same room is a positive and negative. Positive because if group members are not able to get together physically, the work can still get done. Negative because communication is always key to a successful collobration. When technology is used in place of real conversation, gaps can occur in misinterpretations, misunderstandings and communication spurring on more ideas. In some of the discussion on Classroom 2.0, some teachers did not see how they could apply this to their own classroom. Ben Davis, started the Collaborative Idea Maps discussion, offers suggestions and examples to show the applications usefulness. He also walks through step by step instructions to setting up an account so that you can test out the software.

In more discussions, there was mention of other Idea Map programs such as FreeMind and MindMeister, CMap and Moodle. However, FreeMind is not webbased and MindMeister is lacking in some features and better in others. CMap and Moodle look like very good programs but more time consuming to figure out than bubbl.us. What gets me excited about the bubble.us software is the level of interest that teachers observed their students had in using the program. Always a plus for me to find ways to engage my students. One drawback would be for those classrooms and students with limited access to computers and the internet. What I like about idea maps is the ability to record free thinking yet having some organization as well as the fact that I can't lose my idea, unless I forget my password....


  1. Hi Michele,

    I think collaborative idea maps sound so cool! I can definitely see myself incorporating these into my own classroom. I enjoyed your example...thanks for sharing it! Collaborative idea maps seem like a great way to organize ideas and concepts. I think students can really benefit from the use of these maps. I think they are visually appealing and make information organized for students of many ages to benefit from the maps.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Amanda :)

  2. Thanks for sharing, Michele, especially the links. I definitely think this will be a great tool for the classroom and I plan to use it for writing.

  3. I like the fact that these are not just visual representations of our thought processes, outlines, etc, but that they are collaborative! For years, I have used idea maps for my own writing and this seems like a great way to introduce students to how to plan essays before they write them. I wonder if some of the excitement simply comes from using new technology, but no matter, anything that can get kids excited about outlining and idea mapping is a good thing.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I think I used Moodle when I was taking courses at Mira Costa.

    The truth: I don't think I've ever made an "idea map" outside of a school assignment.

    It's interesting that technology is so engaging despite students' familiarity with it in everyday life. Why should the electronic idea map be more engaging than working with your classmates on a large poster board? I guess it doesn't matter why, just that it is. :)