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NOTE: The following annotated bibliography was created when I wanted to study concept mapping and learning skills. I have changed my topic and will update my bibliography soon...

 

My primary research interest is to identify ways to help students develop conceptual

organization skills to improve their critical thinking as I design my first year biology  

course.  Concept maps intrigue me, so I began by searching for “concept maps” in  

CBE Life Sciences and ERIC.  I also looked at the Visible Knowledge Project where I  

found the Levy reference, and the Gallery of Teaching and Learning at the CASTL site  

where I found the Brown reference.     

  

Khodor, J., Halme, D.G., and Walker, G.C. (2004). A Hierarchical Biology Concept  

Framework: A Tool for Course Design. Cell Biol Educ 3, 111-121.  

  

The authors acknowledge that student misperceptions often lie in the broader  

biological concepts (likely because courses emphasize details over the big picture).  

To address this concern, they describe their motivation and the process by which  

they developed a Biology Concept Framework (BCF).  The product is a framework of  

top-level concepts, each supported by concepts organized in a nested hierarchy  

based on relative importance.  Many of the supporting concepts are cross-  

referenced. Benefits of the BCF for the authors include making top-level concepts  

more explicit in our teaching, and using the framework as a tool for students to  

“place details in the context of concepts.”  

  

I would like to explore the BCF in more depth as I build my introductory biology  

course.  I can see it as a tool to help my students and me make connections between  

details and concepts, and to emphasize context.    

  

Levy, S. A. (2009). Reading the Reader in The Difference that Inquiry Makes: A  

Collaborative Case Study of Technology and Learning, from the Visible Knowledge  

Project. edited by Bass, R. and Eynon, B., reprinted from the January 2009 issue of  

Academic Commons.  Retrieved July 4, 2009 from the Visible Knowledge Project  

website: https://digitalcommons.georgetown.ed...09/02/20/levy/   

  

Levy describes her research on evaluating the proficiency of text reading by  

students, especially those with poor academic literacy skills.  Her approach was  

founded in the Critical Inquiry method for reading that “encourages students to  

become active participants responsible for their own learning.” She had students use  

Microsoft Word’s comment feature to annotate reading assignment to guide student  

metacognition of reading as an active process, and to develop proficient reading  

skills.    

  

This article is useful to me by providing a method to help my students become more  

active readers.  It also has ideas about making connections that could be  

incorporated in my research.     

  

Brown, J.S., Collins, A., and Duguid, P. (1989). Situated Cognition and the Culture of  

Learning. Educational Researcher 18, 32-42.  

  

The authors bring to life the importance of context in learning in this accessible 1989  

review.  Learning activities performed by students in a typical classroom context are  

contrasted with those of an apprentice (“just plain folks”) and a practitioner.  The  

authors argue that students will experience more meaningful learning of they are  

given “authentic activities” that are more aligned with those of an apprentice and  

practitioner than that of a student in a typical classroom. Two examples in  

mathematics are described to illustrate learning as a “cognitive apprentice.”  I highly  

recommend this article; it provides a wonderful framework for describing a view of  

teaching and learning that I recognize as constructivism.  

  

Novak, J.D. (2003). The Promise of New Ideas and New Technology for Improving  

Teaching and Learning. Cell Biol Educ 2, 122-132.  

  

In this article, Novak provides evidence for using concept mapping  as a tool to  

develope and assess the progress of “meaningful learning.” A method of using  

concept mapping software (CMap 3.0, http://cmap.ihmc.us/conceptmap.html) to  

identify student misconceptions and to construct knowledge through synchronous  

and asynchronous collaborative work is described. This software allows students to  

link various electronic resources (documents, images, web pages) to concepts thus  

creating elaborate ePortfolios on a subject.  Novak also discusses the limitations of  

traditional summative assessment of “near rote-mode” learning, and provides a good  

review of assessing meaningful learning with references for further reading.     

  

This article is probably the most relevant to my research question. It provides ideas  

about how to structure class activities or projects to foster conceptual organization.   

It is also a good resource for further reading.   

  

Mintzes, J.J., Wandersee, J.H., and Novak, J.D. (2001). Assessing understanding in  

biology. Journal of Biological Education 35, 118.  

  

In this review, the authors discuss methods of “assessing understanding of biological  

concepts as a principle route to meaningful understanding.”  Specific criteria for  

understanding are discussed. (I can imagine incorporating these criteria into course  

learning objectives.) Several techniques to assess understanding for both students  

and instructors are described. The article concludes with a list of suggestions for  

instructors interested in improving classroom assessment for meaningful learning.  

This article is a good resource for considering new or alternative methods of  

formative classroom assessment.   

  

For my use, this article supplements the Novak article above by summarizing the use  

of concept maps and concept map-based ePortfolios as a method for formative  

assessment of meaningful learning for both students and myself.

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