colorful idea map
1-1-1, Collaboration, Faculty Technology Institute, Innovative Instruction, Pedagogy, TLT

Concepts, Connections, and Constructivism: Mind Mapping for Pre-service Teachers

Keonya Booker, Assistant Professor in Teacher Education, recently presented Concepts, Connections, and Constructivism:  Mind Mapping for Pre-service Teachers at the 2015 Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy at Virginia Tech.  As a result of what she learned at the 2014 Faculty Technology Institute she presented on how she used collaborative idea maps to help students make connections.  Below are snippets from her conference proposal

Abstract: Constructivist theory asserts that students attach meaning to their learning by way of predicting, organizing, and evaluating information. Instruction in constructivist-based classes should support students as they actively connect new ideas with prior knowledge. Mind mapping allows students to make associations between both abstract and concrete types of information in creative and imaginative ways. This practice session will explore the use of a popular software program to help pre-service teachers understand major theoretical perspectives in a human development course. Particular attention will be paid to student perceptions of both the tool’s functionality and benefit to learning.

Description of Practice:  Mind mapping has myriad uses in education and there are several tools instructors can use to support student learning. At the College of Charleston all elementary and secondary pre-service teachers must successfully complete a Human Development course prior to their fieldwork experience. Since lifespan development traditionally takes a survey approach, breadth of information is emphasized, not necessarily depth. Because we want students to have a strong understanding of a particular topical issue prior to their practicum, the cumulative assignment was developed. For the cumulative assignment, each student group is responsible for exploring a developmental theorist (e.g., Piaget) or current educational issue (e.g., Common Core) and then presenting to the rest of the class. Students are required to use Popplet to coordinate their work and show connections between contrasting ideas. Uses for Popplet include editing, organizing, and drafting mind maps which will be demonstrated in the session. Participants will also see examples of student work and hear how students evaluated the use of the tool in terms of functionality and worth to the overall project.


If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Booker’s presentation or how you can successfully us idea maps in your teaching feel free to contact Dr. Booker or your Instructional Technologist.

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1-1-1, Collaboration, Faculty Showcase, Faculty Technology Institute, Innovative Instruction, TLT

Collaboration through Technology

Our  guest blogger this week is Tracey Hunter-Doniger in Teacher Education.

This year, the Faculty Technology Institutes focused on Engaging the #Tech Generation. TLT delivered sound
pedagogical practices, demonstrated technological tools, showcased experiences from CofC faculty, and provided a forum for open discussion. In these sessions I learned how to embrace technology through Twitter, Instagram, and other social media. I also learned how to get my students to work together collaboratively through a program called Popplet.


Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 3.55.57 PMPopplet is a tool that allows users to visualize ideas though an organized mind map. A mind map is a diagram used to visually outline information for a project, an idea or research. It is often created around a single word or idea. From that central idea lines radiate in all direction to which additional ideas, works, phrases and images can be attached.

A single individual can design a mind map easily with a pen and paper; however, through Popplet technology the mind mapping becomes even more organized. What is more useful, classmates can “invite” their peers to join a Popplet and collaborate  simultaneously. This is useful when planning group projects. The students can work from a single location or from anywhere there is internet access.

Popplet in my Class

My students are required to create a cultural unit infusion the arts into their academic lessons. These groups of 4-5 usually find it difficult to schedule a time to plan their unit. Popplet has allowed my students to collaboratively work on their projects from across campus, while creating an aesthetically pleasing outline of their lessons. When they meet with me to discuss their lessons, it is well thought out, easy to follow and I can clearly see that each student participated in the process.

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