Creating Your Own Concept Map
How to create a Concept Map YOUR WAY
Unlike Buzan who has a long list of rules for creating ”Mindmaps,” I believe that there should be as few rules as possible. I do believe
1.There should be a central topic.
2. The main ideas should be grouped around the central topic.
3. Connections should be drawn from one level to the next.
4. Relationships should be structural and logical.
Drawing Shapes around Main Ideas
As you can see, I like drawing shapes around my main ideas but they aren’t necessary. If you use shapes, they can all be the same (all ovals for example) or they can be different. I often use different shapes for each level. You could also do what I did here and have a separate shape for each section of the chart. You might use an unusual shape for what you consider especially important.
You can do the entire concept map in a single color – usually black – or you can use color in any way you like. When I create concept maps for my own use, I stick to black and white. I used color on the here to show the separate sections of the chart. You might change colors for the different levels.
I used color for the outlines of the shapes. You could fill the shapes with color or use color for the words.Do what you want. It is your chart.
Using Images – Pictures
Buzan and many others like to use images or pictures because they think this makes the chart easier to remember. You could draw pictures or cout little pictures from magazines or you could even use little sticker. I rarely use pictures because it requires time, I’m not good at drawing images, and it doesn’t help me remember. Do whatever works for you.
Making Your Concept Map Memorable
You really want to focus on ways to make your chart easy to understand and easy to remember. I find that using different forms for different concept maps will make them easier to remember. This one is a wide concept map, designed to fit well on the computer. I have done others that are tall and thin, or very round. Some, with three main ideas look like a triangle. If I’m working on one concept map that is only black and white, I might do the next one in red and blue, and another in a wide variety of colors. All these thing make it easier to visualize the specific concept map I want to remember.
You might remember this Concept Map from the page on Image to Links. Below this is the Symbolic Image showing the same information. Do you prefer the image of the student or the simple concept map?
When I am working on something important like this website, I make dozens of concept maps, trying to decide the best way to organize the information.
I try to find an image that fits well, one that will show the same organization in a memorable, meaningful picture.
For the website designed for College Students, the symbolic image is a tree. Trees can show roots which are a lot like the foundation the student is standing on. With a tree, the branches work well to connect the various topics, showing secondary levels with smaller branches.
The image of the tree also symbolizes strength, growth, and being fruitful.
When I am working on something less important or something that is just for myself, I will almost never spend the time to create a symbolic image.
Make it YOURS
When you create a Concept Map, make it YOURS. This is your concept map, not mine. Make it any way you find interesting and useful. Many students find that when they use Concept Maps to organize the information, they have fun doing it. We tend to enjoy activities that remind us drawing pictures with a set of brightly colored markers.
When you create a concept map that helps you
1. organize your information, main ideas, and details
2. picture the structure of the material, and how the parts fit together
3 learn and remember the information
You will usually remember the material longer and make better grades.