Knowledge Mapping in the Classroom : A Tool for Examining the Development of Students ’ Conceptual Understandings CSE Technical Report 507

  • Osmundson E
  • Chung G
  • Herl H
 et al. 
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The objective of this study was to investigate how computer-based knowledge mapping
could be used simultaneously as an instructional tool and an assessment tool in a
classroom setting. Data are presented that demonstrate how knowledge mapping served
as a tool to support, facilitate, promote, and evaluate students’ development of
understandings in science. In this study, knowledge mapping was (a) integrated into
instruction, (b) employed as a repeated measure to capture the ongoing development of
ideas, (c) used individually as well as collaboratively, (d) scored according to algorithms
that emphasized the recursive and incremental nature of both learning and the
development of scientific ideas, and (e) accessed online through the computer. A nonequivalent
control group design was utilized. Fifty-two fourth- and fifth-grade students
from two intact classrooms participated in this study. Both groups generated pretest and
posttest knowledge maps of their understandings of the digestive, respiratory, and
circulatory systems. Students in the experimental group created three additional
(collaborative) maps during the course of instruction. Students in the control condition
worked in small groups on three occasions to research the human body by using the
Internet and related instructional materials. Results suggest that for students in the
experimental group, repeated use of the mapping software supported and facilitated the
development of scientific and principled understandings. Further, collaborative work
with the mapper also afforded students the opportunity to establish connections between
the systems in the human body to more fully develop their understandings of the
domain—both integral components of learning and the development of scientific

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  • ISBN: 507
  • PMID: 46656184


  • Ellen Osmundson

  • Gregory K W K Chung

  • Howard E Herl

  • Davina C D Klein

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