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ERIC Number: EJ998371
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Mar
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 57
ISSN: ISSN-2190-6483
Environmental Connections and Concept Mapping: Implementing a New Learning Technology at Lewis & Clark College
Proctor, James D.; Bernstein, Jennifer
Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, v3 n1 p30-41 Mar 2013
What is environment? The answer to this question is fundamental to how we teach environmental studies and sciences (ESS). We follow recent scholarly literature in approaching environment as connection, not as some category of reality, and consider pedagogical implications via concept mapping, a new learning technology. Concept maps potentially offer a visually explicit means of representing and analyzing the hybrid connections between actors that define environmental issues. We explore the utility of concept mapping as pioneered by Joseph Novak and others via the Cmap Tools application, in which concept maps (cmaps) consist of concepts connected by propositions; both can include linked resources, and the resultant cmap can be collaboratively edited and shared online. We evaluate concept mapping in the context of a sophomore-level environmental methods course taught annually at Lewis & Clark College. The course includes adaptations of concept mapping drawing on Novak's work and actor-network theory, designed for students to reflect on their environmental perspectives, synthesize course material, and explore a proposed topic for environmental research. These exercises were evaluated in fall 2010 using self-reports, assessment rubrics, and open-ended student responses. Results showed that higher achieving students generally found concept mapping more demanding and attained more sophisticated understandings of connections. This suggests that concept mapping helps facilitate the intellectual struggle that characterizes engaged learning, yet also that not all students embrace this struggle to fully grasp environment-as-connection. In a larger sense, the study illustrates challenges in cultivating new approaches to environment in the ESS community.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Oregon