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Knowledge mapping is a tool used in education to show the overall relationship between activities. Knowledge maps are frequently used in creative development such as brainstorming activities. The idea behind knowledge mapping is to identify the correlation between multiple concepts for students in a visual manner. In much the same way that a collective final exam can be composed of individual student worksheets throughout a grading period, a knowledge map can function in a similar way in the assessment process.
In much the same way that knowledge mapping can be utilized to actually generate ideas, it can be utilized as an assessment tool. The ability of a student to incorporate lesson plan concepts in a holistic manner to achieve a sense of understanding is a great assessment option for teachers. Composing a knowledge map of complex subjects demonstrates not only a true understanding of the topic, but the ability to apply it.
Using Knowledge Maps
The development of knowledge maps were originally based on science related topics. When complex but connected topics are introduced, it can be naturally difficult for a student to achieve a relationship understanding of the subject matter. A knowledge map actually provides a visual definition for students surrounding the relationship of a given subject.
Knowledge maps can also be utilized as a method for student discussions surrounding a centralized idea and even as a note taking method. There are multiple teacher resources available that provide worksheets on the knowledge map concept as well as supporting tools for improving student study skills with knowledge map applications.
Creative Applications of Knowledge Maps
While knowledge maps were originally designed for showing the connection between logic based topics such as science or mathematics, they do also provide a great value to creative topics. Students can conduct individual or team based brain storming using a knowledge map. The ability to have the central idea as the focal point with branches of other contributing ideas can help students to remain focused on the initial concept while still having the creative freedom to develop additional thoughts, characters or components to a project.
Knowledge Mapping for Assessments
Teachers could consider using a knowledge map assessment in both oral and written contexts. A student can be asked to create a knowledge map with the appropriate supporting activities as part or even all of an exam or a student can be asked to describe the relationships involved with a previously composed knowledge map. Knowledge maps can also be a great teaming assignment for group activities, with the completed map being a component of the final assignment in order to explain the overall value.
Knowledge map applications in education are extensive as a teaching tool, as an assessment option and even for student engagement activities. The ability of a student to tie simple teacher lesson plans into a complete concept is a true measure of achievement in learning. Extending the use of knowledge mapping to multiple student activities will also lend itself to better utilization of knowledge mapping as a diverse tool for learning and assessment needs.