Graphic Organizers, Concept Maps, Semantic Maps, Data Visualization, Infographics - they help us organize complex pieces of information and show its inter-relatedness

external image Tortilla_Concept_Map.png
external image Tortilla_Concept_Map.png

Concept map of how a Mexican and Spanish Tortilla differ and are used

The theory says....

Meaningful Learning: A Collaborative Literature Review of Concept Mapping
The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them


We have brainstormed on the board, on paper, with sticky notes. We have used to graphic organizers in paper format, such as these provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Education Place or the Microsoft Office Template Gallery . Perhaps you have customized your own graphic organizers using the Graphic Organizer Maker at Teachnology.

Web-based Concept Mapping

But what about using a web-based concept mapping environment?!

All of the tools below are free but many require an account if you wish to save your work online - many offer the ability to download or save your work to your computer without having an account. Of course, then the only record of your work is your saved image. - allows for simultaneous concept mapping (each user must have a account); YouTube tutorial
exploratree - individual creation, suggest starting wiht a ready-made guide
gliffy is more scientific and technical in design for diagrams
lucidchart has multiple pricing models, with limited collaboration available at the base level is closer to gliffy than
mindmeister allows for collaboration, but has a limited number of concept maps with free account
popplet is a newer entry to this area, and allows for multiuser collaboration
ReadWriteThink Webbing Tool for a single user, "guided" but a bit clunky

Do you use Google Docs? Start a new Doc, then on the file menu, click Insert, Drawing. You can create concept maps and drawingswithin a document too! Make use of has a post with handy screen shots of Google Docs drawing environment.

And, of course, Inspiration has several products available for purchase, including both
This infographic from Hot Butter Studio
-alone software and web-based.

Web-based Infographics and Data Visualization

Visualizing data helps us to make sense of numbers. Infographics have become a very popular way to display many pieces of information and data. TechChef4u outlines some ideas on using infographics in the classroom, and Lisa Johnson is gathering some edu infographics on pinterest. Jennifer Jones describes how to use infographics as informational texts.

Below are some tools to help create data visualizations and infographics.

Charts and Graphs
Chartgo enables the user to put in data points and create a variety of charts and graphs.
Many Eyes creates charts and graphs from your data and allows you to play with the data sets of others.

Largest Country

Infographics - build your own infographic by dragging and dropping pre-made design elements. - interactive charts, graphs, and interactive infographic posters - can also create an infographic from a twitter hashtag

history of texting.jpeg

Classroom Ideas

  • brainstorm a topic
  • create a family tree
  • map a book's characters or plot
  • connect a series of events and people
  • prewriting or postwriting prompt
  • categorizing and characteristics
  • project organization
  • compare concepts
  • organize ideas for writing
  • create flow charts