I was just curious if anyone here has been using Cmap with their students for note-taking and collaborative concept mapping. It is open source, free.

We have been using this pretty heavily since last fall (distance students) and it is a really terrific tool to help the kids develop study skills and socially collaborate. I can drop in on their concept maps at any time 24/7 and have a really fast way to see if they are understanding their topic (both the inter-relationships and the content). It has been a very worthwhile investment of time. Best yet, there is the option to host the kids' cmaps on free public servers (most Cmap servers are at universities) or download the free software to a private one.

We are even using it as a portfolio tool. An example is my son's portfolio page. Just mouse and click around to find links to his own and collaborative Cmaps. He is one of my students and a distance student with Arkansas Virtual School. So his portfoilio Cmap is designed to accommodate this dual student status. His ARVS teacher can also easily drop in for her record keeping purposes. By the way, though we opted to set Tim's portfolio up as a public one, it is possible to make these private and password protected.

My college age son used Cmaps for his college freshman year during first semester. He too set his up as a portfolio page linking to all his assignments and study notes. He spearheaded using these with his classmates as a study group tool. Beacuse he gets the spring-allergy fog, this semester he is doing all his lab courses (computer technology) so he has not had as much need of concept mapping as he did in first semester. He said he plans on using it next fall when his classes will once again be content heavy. Here is his page.

Tags: Cmap, concept mapping, ideamaps

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Sorry I missed your call. Wow, I'm impressed by how you have pushed its functionality as a collaborative tool.

I've been using CMAP for about 5 years now and have found it to be a very helpful 'thinking tool' from Yr-7 (age 11) to Yr 13. I also use it quite often with staff training.

Best Wishes,

Ray T
Hi Tammy! I have just looked at the Cmap site after looking at some of the things your son has done with it. I am going to play around with it and see what I can do with my Year 5/6 class. I tried to look at your son's portfolio page but I was unable to as I was not logged in. I would be interested at looking at it. Would this be possible?
I would like to know what else you are doing with Cmap - I need some inspiration.

Look forward to hearing from you!
Nadine :))
Just log in as guest. For those who don't recognize this platform, it looks like Moodle, an excellent open source learning management system.
I am very familiar with CMap tools and believe there is a real need out there for using more of this kind of stuff. I am trying to get our department to install the CMap server so that our students (higher education) can collaborate synchronously and asynchronously online. If anyone has had experience with this server version and pros and cons, how you use it, etc., I would love to get feedbac
I lead a non profit in Chicago and have been using Cmaps for a few months to help people understand our strategies and to find information on our web site. You can find an entry point here. http://cmapspublic.ihmc.us/servlet/SBReadResourceServlet?rid=118936...

My goal is that teams of people (students, business, community) who are interested in a topic, begin to collaborate on building a knowledge base, then on mapping a strategy, to address the issue that they are interested in. In this way, the maps and the learning become part of a problem solving process based on learning and innovating solutions based on what we learn about how others are already trying to solve the problem.

Maybe others are already doing this?
Tammy, the maps your boys have done are quite good. Very creative. Have they learned this on their own, or have they been coached by other cmap users?
We have been using concept maps since early grade levels, though that was before we found the Cmap software which has made it so much easier. I also use concept maps heavily in my teaching. I guess all that exposure has rubbed off. They have pretty much made them all themselves with the exception of the chemistry maps. Those Cmaps are being used with my online chemistry class. I plan on having the kids in that class begin Cmapping during 2nd semester after they have had a semester of exposure to them. At that point I hope my son will take the lead in a Cmap study group.
Haven't used CMap - but now I've seen it, I'll explore it. Looks simple - which is where Inspiration crashes (imho).
Thanks for the links. (Guest login works smoothly.)
A supplementary question - have there been any (actual) difficulties with guest logins?
If anyone has trouble with the guest log in at Moodle, here is a direct link to the Cmap. Note - it may split st the question mark. If so just copy/past in both halves to your browser address bar to get the whole thing: http://cmapspublic2.ihmc.us/servlet/SBReadResourceServlet?rid=11865...
Hi Tammy and other Cmap users,

Your son's CMs are impressive! I would like my students to contribute to knowledge maps about science teaching. I recently visited the CMapTools site and was (re)energized by some of their articles on the concept mapping process. I am thinking about having my pre-service science teachers create concept maps and embedding them in our class wiki pages. Here is my "test" page that will eventually grow into a cmap resource.


Has anyone else tried using CMaps in conjunction w/ other Web 2.0 tools?
Feel free to add questions or explanations to this draft.

- Jay
Hello, Jay -

While I haven't used concept maps in wikis, I am curious about how you plan to have your science ed students use them - both from a teacher-preparation program standpoint (i.e., how will it contribute to their development as educators) and from a student's perspective. I'm a graduate student with a background in informal science education who is pursuing a certificate in life science (5-12). The teacher-prep component is of interest to me because of my current research assistantship (teacher preparation programs in MN) and experiences as a university instructor in natural resources.

I'm a big fan of collaborative concept maps and am just starting to investigate the web 2.0 possibilities. I look forward to seeing how your approach evolves and what the students produce! Let me know if I can be of help in terms of giving feedback or generating ideas- I don't know, I thought perhaps my unique student / educator perspective may be useful in some way.

Good luck!

HI Deb,

Thanks for the reply. I am interested in collaborative concept maps from a theoretical perspective. I have always been intrigued by Novak's (et al) arguments about the benefits of concept mapping and the computer-supported knowledge-building approaches to learning (a la Beretier & Scardamalia).

I'd like to try having my students work in pairs refine regions of concept maps that represent the various state science standards. CTools would be our work environment, but the html version would be embedded in our wiki as a resource that the students use year to year as a reference for planning lessons and units. These concepts maps would become more useful as each year's cohort refines or adds to them.

My limited experience with concepts maps is that students don't see their value at the beginning and consequently teachers don't use them repeatedly so that students get a chance to rearrange and interconnect the various concepts. I would like to use them in a way that is consistent with their intent because I also want my preservice teachers to learn to use an other tool that they can use with their students.

I would be interested in why you're such a big fan of collaborative concept mapping, and how you have used this approach in the past.

- Jay



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