There may also be expectations as to how the map is drawn such as a fill in the black approach (Miller et al., 2009). Whereas the open ended process does not place any limitations on the shape of the map or the terms that may be used, however, a small selection of trigger terms may be provided to assist the student (Miller et al., 2009). This approach allows the student to create the map in a manner that is conducive to their understanding of the knowledge of a concept (Miller et al., 2009).
Traditionally, concept maps have been paper and pencil tools, however, increasingly computer software has become available as an alternative to concept mapping. This approach allows for more creativity on the part of the student to design their map in a manner that is conducive to their learning style and compartmentalization of information (Miller et al., 2009).
Concept mapping has been shown to improve the academic writing of students in a variety of ways including allowing for greater recall or ideas, higher levels of organization and consistency of thoughts, increased length of writing assignments, and improved holistic composition (Ruddell & Boyle, 1989).
Sturm (2002) found positive effects of concept mapping as a prewriting strategy for students with LD. Any remedial technique will be best introduced in conjunction with teaching strategies that support and assist students in all areas of the writing process.
Miller, K.J., Koury, K.A., Fitzgerald, G.E., Hollingsead, C., Mitchem, K.J., Hui-Hsien T. & Park, M.K. (2009). Concept mapping as a research tool to evaluate conceptual change related to instructional methods. Teacher Education & Special Education, 32(4), 365-378.
Ruddell, R.B., & Boyle, O.F. (1989). A study of cognitive mapping as a means to improve comprehension of expository text. Reading Research and Instruction, 29(1), 12 — 22.
Sturm, J.M. (2002). Effects of hand-drawn and computer-generated concept mapping on the expository writing of middle school students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 17(2), 124-140.
Zipprich, M.A. (1995). Teaching web making.