Saturday, June 11, 2016

Week 6: Concept maps

Use in the classroom:
In digital circuits, it is often difficult to motivate students why all those hoops we are going through to optimize a circuit. The answer is simple yet complicated: The less number of circuits we use to express a function, the less it costs to manufacture the circuit. This is basically the ongoing idea of the entire semester for my digital circuits class. I developed this concept map by using pretty much resources I had created with some branching to show students concepts are related to each other. Student can perhaps discuss the branches and put their comments as groups.
The learning objective would be:
“To understand the underlying concept of circuit optimization and apply this information to various designs and functions.”
Students can individually browse in the branches and comment as a group. Alternatively, connections between branches can be removed and students can be asked to make the connections by themselves and compare with their peers.
Clogger is very cool and easy to use. I am assuming my engineering students will not have a particular problem adopting this technology. As always, if they are asked to embed pictures or videos, that is always challenging for them.
Collaboration is definitely important. Students can jot down their own work but when they put those ideas together, learning goes to another level. By encouraging creating interconnections between concepts could prove useful for fostering collaboration and team work.
Concept maps are inherently brief and concise. That puts us on the coherence where all the fluff of information is removed. Also, we are definitely segmenting the information by creating branches and letting students contemplate on concepts one at a time.
I am not a big fan of big, complicated concept maps. They seem overwhelming. However, creating these “mini” concept maps can be quite helpful. I did not necessarily like adding pictures or videos into the concept map. Not because it was difficult but I thought it made them too complex for students. I do like putting links though. That way, they have the option to dig further.

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