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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Thank you Tammy for sharing your son's concept maps. They are wonderful. I have wanted to incorporate concept mapping into my biology curriculum for a while now, but didn't know quite where to start. I had no idea that there was free software out there that could make everything so much easier! I just joined cmaps and even though I have not gotten a chance to do much more than look at what others have done, but I am really impressed so far. I can't wait to see what my students can do. I'd be interested in knowing how any of you began to introduce this way of learning to your students. I did an informal "hands up" survey in one of my classes and only 4 of 24 of my 9th graders had even heard of concept maps.
My students are from all over the U.S., Canada, and one family from Brazil. We do a Cmap workshop in our online classroom periodically throughout the year. I keep meaning to VoiceThread the slides but have not yet gotten around to recording the presentation. If you are interested, I can set up a one-on-one workshop with you in our onlline classroom or send you an invite to our next official presentation (probably in January for the new students coming in to my 2nd semester classes).

Now that you have the software you can access my family root folder through Cmap. This will let you see the file structure we have set up and let you more easily access all the maps we have vs accessing them via the html pages. WE have other families Cmapping too, but I would need to get their permission before I reveal which folders are theirs. You can even change or add to our maps which will make a version of the map for your own folder (it doesn't change our original unless we set you up as a collaborator - which I can do if you want to see how that works). You can access our Cmaps while running the software by navigating to the 'Shared Cmap in Places' icon that you will see in the left sidebar of that first main window (Views window). It will populate with all the public servers that are online. Our maps are on the' IHMC Public Cmaps (2)' server. Double-click that one to see all the Cmap folders on that server. Our folder's name is armoorefam. Double-click again and you can browse around at all that we have there.

You can make it easy to navigate to your student folders if you decide to have the kids make their own root folders verses one classroom folder to place all their Cmaps into. Just have them tell you where they are set up and what their folder name is. You navigate to it and drag and drop their folder to the 'Favorites' icon in the Views Window. You can give that a try with our family Cmap root folder to get a feel for how that works and to make it easy to access ours while you are getting the feel for how to set up your own. Then, whenever you start up Cmap just always click the Favorites icon to get to where you want to go. One note - if you upgrade with a new version you will want to have a written record of where folders are because the favorites don't seem to repopulate on their own in new versions). I learned that the hard way and lost track of several families that began using Cmaps from past workshops. I regret that because I was curious to see what percentage of them continue on and how much they use them over the years. I know for us they are big hit. We have added to ours every week for years because these really click with my kids for study tools (visual learners love them). Several of my students have commented that they make their own while they work through their text then they go to see mine and other students' maps and compare notes. (Cmap has a compare tool built in). They have also commented that on occassion they don't have time to Cmap when they are reading through their text 9skimming), but that by looking at other student Cmaps they get feel for what areas they didn't read carefully enough because the maps have details they missed or just did not remember. Then they know what to go back and drill down on.

My e-mail addy is armoorfam@centurytel.net. E-mail me so that I have your contact information so we can set up for you to meet with me in the online classroom for a tour of Cmaps. I have application sharing in there, so it is a great way to lower the learning curve.
Hi Tammy
Your way to apply cmaps systematically in both concept mapping and portfolios should be very welcome to me.
Unfortunately in my school context no one student use cmap - nor concept mapping in every support or format - spontaneously.
Furthermore portfolios don't enjoy any positive reputation in Italian education.

This is an alternative quick application that had a certain, brief success, (based on the shared vision of a youtube video):
(this further link shows how the cmap could appear before of the synchronous collaborative work

Here are two examples of how cmaps can be used to organize and share information and encourage collaboration. First is a map showing articles written in past year by a Northwestern University PIP Fellow at Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection, based in Chicago. The second is a map of groups at Northwestern University who could be working together to help tutor/mentor programs grow in Chicago.

At this strategy map, we show a vision of helping kids move through school to jobs, and the role we and many other leaders should take.

These maps are on web sites, blogs and in networking communications so that more people find them and use them. I feel that students in HS and college could be creating similar strategy maps, showing what they think the actions should be that change their world. If we can teach kids to string together ideas in a logical sequence, they can apply this in all of the problem solving the do, and some may even provide leadership that does change the world.
I'm not actually aware of how I can use it! I didn't find the free version! I used one example that I found only.

The link to the download is at http://cmap.ihmc.us/download/index.php for the user version of Cmap. Even after many years, I still use my Cmap software regularly. One of our uses is to do project management. We have teams of volunteers working on various aspects of course development. The Cmap helps us to quickly see if we are on schedule, what needs to be assigned, and more. It is used extensively as a study tool as well turning course content into a concise format with inter-relationships at the forefront. If you are not sure what Cmap is, just Google concept mapping or concept map to se some examples from many different software titles and even hand drawn ones to get a feel for what a concept map is all about.


I have never used Cmaps with my students, but while I was using it for my online class on Tecnhology in ESL teaching I realized how useful it was. It was a lot clearer to see the main ideas of the text I was summarizing. As a visual person, it was a lot easier to actually see the ideas organized in a kind of a "physical" environment. It was almost as if Icould "touch" my ideas, instead of only having them all disorganized in my mind. Besides, the possibility of using Cmaps with links to other sources makes them an almost endless source to teaching and learning.

A good idea to use Cmpas with youngers students would be to use lots of links to videos, pedagocical games, and flash presentations to illustrate or even explain better whatever is being taught.

I’m taking the same course as my colleague Bianca and, just like her, I’ve never used Cmaps with my students before; however, while we were doing a task in our online class, I discovered a new useful tool.

I must confess that when I was reading the theory by the first time I did not like it, but while we were creating the activities based on the Cmaps, I found out that, when it’s well developed and well planned, the activities can enhance students’ abilities and vocabulary in an incredible way. Now I am a big fan of Cmaps, and when it is possible, I will try to use it with my students.



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