Proposal view
Proposal Type: Symposium 
Domain: Teaching and Instructional Design 
SIG: Learning and Instruction with Computers 
Type Submitted Symposium 
Title Digital concept maps for the integrative visualization and communication of knowledge and informatio 
Abstract

The visualization of knowledge and information has become a central method to cope with the increasing complexity and ill-structuredness of subject matter. Visualizations concerning structures of knowledge and information are suggested to help to access, to elicit, (co-)construct, structure and restructure, elaborate, evaluate, locate and access, communicate, and use ideas, thoughts and knowledge about relevant content and resources (Jonassen, Beissner, & Yacci, 1993; Jonassen, Reeves, Hong, Harvey, & Peters, 1997). Particularly in online educational and workplace scenarios visualizations may play an important role to represent basic information structures inherent in a subject-matter domain as well as knowledge about the semantic interrelationships between task-relevant information elements inherent in the information resources. Advanced digital concept maps have been shown to have the potential to represent and visualize not only conceptual knowledge, but also content knowledge about a domain, as well as knowledge resources in a coherent and integrative format (Cañas et al., 2005; Tergan, 2005). Because of their representational power digital concept maps may be used as cognitive tools for the integrated representation and communication of knowledge and information in a variety of educational and workplace settings (Tergan, Keller & Burkhard, 2006). Concept map-based visualizations of the semantic structure of information may help users getting easy access to task-relevant information because searching for relevant information is based on an understanding of the inherent semantics of the represented domain. The aim of this symposium is to present recent empirical research on the potentials and effects of digital concept maps for supporting the integrative communication of knowledge and information in online education and workplace scenarios. Current approaches as well as perspectives for research and application will be in focus.

 
Equipment PC and projector
Video
Keywords Collaborative learning
E-learning
Instructional technology 
Chair list
Name Surname Institution Country E-Mail EARLI Number
Sigmar-Olaf Tergan Knowledge Media Research Center Germany s.tergan@iwm-kmrc.de  
Organiser list
Name Surname Institution Country E-Mail EARLI Number
Sigmar-Olaf Tergan Knowledge Media Research Center Germany s.tergan@iwm-kmrc.de  
Tanja Engelmann Knowledge Media Research Center Germany t.engelmann@iwm-kmrc.de  
Discussant list
Name Surname Institution Country E-Mail EARLI Number
Matthias Nueckles Institute for Psychology University of Goettingen Germany Matthias.Nueckles@psych.uni-goettingen.de  
Paper Details
Title Digital concept maps for the visualization and communication of knowledge and information in online educational counseling scenarios
Abstract

In order to support self-regulated access to task-relevant information it seems to be important for instructors and counselors to communicate not only basic information structures inherent in a subject-matter domain but also knowledge about the semantic interrelationships between task-relevant information elements inherent in the information resources. Visualizations of the semantic structure of information are suggested to help users getting easy access to task-relevant information because it is based on an understanding of the inherent semantics of a domain. Digital interactive concept maps may be used as a “bridging technology” to represent both task-relevant knowledge and information in an integrative format and to visualize the semantic structure inherent in the task-relevant section of the represented domain.


The paper reports about an experimental study aimed at assessing the efficacy of digital concept maps for an integrated representation and communication of knowledge and information in an online counseling scenario. A digital interactive concept map and a digital interactive concept list are compared. Both types of tools provide interactive access to hyper-linked text-based documents. However, the tools differ with respect to the explicitness in visualizing semantic relations between task-relevant contents located in the single documents. We ask whether the explicit representation of semantic relationships inherent in the contents of a set of pre-selected information resources by means of a digital concept map may help fostering access to problem relevant information and answering problem-relevant questions - as compared to a hierarchically structured digital concept list with no visualization of semantic relations.


The amount of correct answers, the time needed for answering different types of questions, the degree of cognitive load, and the acceptability of the technique used for communicating task-relevant information are assessed. Results of the study are reported, theoretical implications and prospects for using digital concept maps for communicating knowledge and information are discussed.

Summary

A well-established practice of educators and counselors in online education and counseling scenarios is to communicate a pre-selected set of links (URLs) to open source Web-documents (Panke, Wedekind, Reinhardt, & Geiser, 2004). The goal is to provide users basic problem-relevant information aimed to help getting a broad orientation about the contents of the domain, getting access to relevant information resources, and being able to answer some preliminary global problem-relevant questions based on these resources by themselves. The problem is that relations between single documents and content elements which are important both for making sense of the structure of a domain, for easy navigation, and for a quick access to task-relevant information may not easily be discovered in unstructured compilations of information resources. To foster navigation and access in hypermedia documents and large websites like Internet portals graphical organizers as navigational aids are often provided (Rouet, Potelle, & Goumi, 2005). However, in individual counseling, these organizers are often not adequate. The reason is that this type of information visualization visualizes the domain structure inherent in a package of information only, but does not visualize the problem-relevant semantic structure between single documents of the domain. In order to support self-regulated access to task-relevant information in educational and workplace scenarios it seems to be important for instructors and counselors to communicate not only basic information structures inherent in a subject-matter domain but also knowledge about the semantic interrelationships between task-relevant information elements inherent in the information resources.


Visualizations of the semantic structure of information are suggested to help users getting easy access to task-relevant information because it is based on an understanding of the inherent semantics of a domain. Digital interactive concept maps may be used as a “bridging technology” (Tergan, Keller, & Burkhard, 2007) to represent both task-relevant knowledge and information in an integrative format and to visualize the semantic structure inherent in the represented domain. Digital concept maps may help users in cognizing problem-relevant relationships between documents and represented subject-matter contents more adequately, accessing problem-relevant information resources in a reduced period of time, and finding answers to problem-relevant questions by themselves more easily.


The paper reports about an experimental study aimed at assessing the efficacy of digital concept maps for an integrated representation and communication of knowledge and information in an online counseling scenario. A digital interactive concept map and a digital interactive concept list are compared. Both types of tools provide interactive access to hyper-linked text-based documents. However, the tools differ with respect to the explicitness in visualizing semantic relations between task-relevant contents located in the single documents. We ask whether the explicit representation of semantic relationships inherent in the contents of a set of pre-selected information resources by means of a digital concept map may help fostering access to problem relevant information and answering problem-relevant questions - as compared to a hierarchically structured concept list with no visualization of semantic relations. Two groups of subjects receiving different types of visualizations are compared. The information resources used are pre-selected Websites of the Internet portal e-teaching.org (Panke et al., 2004; (http://www.e-teaching.org). The chosen resources are relevant for getting an overview about the topic “technologies of communication and cooperation in online-teaching scenarios”, and for answering topic-relevant questions. These are definition questions, content-specific factual questions, simple and complex relational questions, comprehension and transfer questions on the topic “technologies of communication and cooperation in online-teaching scenarios”. Answering questions make it necessary to locate question-relevant information by either analyzing textual annotations or the information resources which are accessible by the tool. To access information users have to click at a concept node. A window then opens either presenting an annotation or further information related to that node. Simple relational questions may also be answered by using the concept map or the concept list alone. Complex relational questions, comprehension and transfer questions may be answered on the basis of the concept map alone as well but not on the basis of the concept list. It is assumed that subjects working in the concept map and concept list condition will not differ in their performance in answering definition and factual questions, but subjects in the concept map condition will outperform subjects in the concept list condition. It is expected that subjects in the experimental condition will access task-relevant information for answering relational questions more rapidly, answer relational questions more quickly, report less mental effort, and are more content with this type of communicating task-relevant information in online counseling scenarios.


40 university students will be assigned randomly to one of two treatments. Subjects are first tested for pre-knowledge visual literacy. During the experimental session subjects in the experimental group receive a digital concept map, subjects of the control group a digital concept list. The task is to answer definitional, factual, relational, comprehension, and transfer questions on the topic “technologies of communication and cooperation in online-teaching scenarios” by using the tool made available to them. Most of the questions are presented in multiple-choice format.


The amount of correct answers, the time needed for answering different types of questions, the degree of cognitive load, and the acceptability of the technique used for communicating task-relevant information are assessed. Results of the study are reported. Theoretical implications and prospects for using digital concept maps as tools for the management of knowledge and information in virtual learning and online information communication scenarios are discussed.


 


Panke, S., Wedekind, J., Reinhardt, J., & Geiser, B. (2004). www.e-teaching.org – Qualifying academic teachers fort the e-university. In D, Remenyi (Ed.), Proceedings of the ECEL 2004, European Conference on e-learning (pp. 279-306) [CD-ROM].


Rouet, J.-F., Potelle, H., & Goumi, A. (2005). The role of content representations in hypermedia learning: effects of task and learner variables. In S.-O. Tergan, & T. Keller (2005) (Eds.), Knowledge and information visualization. Searching for synergies. (pp. 343-354). LNCS 3426. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.


Tergan, S.-O., Keller, T., & Burkhard, R. (2006). Integrating knowledge and information: digital concept maps as a bridging technology. Information Visualization, Vol. 5, 167-174.

Keywords Counselling
E-learning
Instructional technology
Appendices
Authors
Name Surname Institution Country e-mail EARLI Number Presenting
Sigmar-Olaf Tergan Knowledge Media Research Center Germany s.tergan@iwm-kmrc.de   *  
Tanja Engelmann Knowledge Media Research Center Germany t.engelmann@iwm-kmrc.de    
Title Concept-map based knowledge and information visualization for fostering computer-supported collaboration
Abstract

Computer-supported collaboration is still problematic with regard to the interaction between the spatially distributed group members. However, there is an increasing need to collaborate computer-supported, because in times of globalization collaboration by experts who are located at different places is becoming increasingly crucial. One of the reasons for the interaction problems in computer-supported collaboration is the reduced context information, like the reduced nonverbal communication or the reduced communication of emotional signals, compared to face to face collaborations.


In this paper an innovative approach to tackle these interaction problems is presented. This new approach is based on visualizations of group members’ individual knowledge and information underlying this knowledge that are made available to the group. Realized as digital concept maps this knowledge and information visualizations foster “knowledge and information awareness”. Knowledge and information awareness is defined as awareness of group members regarding their collaborators’ knowledge and the information underlying this knowledge. In an experimental study (N = 30 triads) the efficiency of knowledge and information awareness on computer-supported collaboration could be confirmed by comparing an experimental condition, in which groups were provided with an environment for fostering knowledge and information awareness, and a control condition, in which the groups had no access to this environment.

Summary

In today’s information society, computer-supported collaboration has become increasingly important, especially when experts working at different locations need to collaborate in virtual groups. However, there are still problems regarding computer-supported collaboration by spatially distributed group members, especially interaction problems within the group, like problems in communication and cooperation. One of the reasons for these problems in computer-supported collaboration is the reduced context information, compared to face to face collaborations, like the reduced nonverbal communication or the reduced communication of emotional signals.


In the research community of computer-supported collaboration, there are different strands of research addressing such problems. On the one hand, there are approaches that foster computer-supported collaboration by explicit methods like scripting (e.g., Kollar, Fischer, & Slotta, 2005), i.e., the learners are instructed how they should behave to be efficient. On the other hand, there are approaches that seek to support computer-supported collaboration by using implicit methods focused on enhancing different kinds of group awareness (e.g., Gross, Stary, & Totter, 2005). These implicit approaches provide no instructions, but inform learners about relevant information. They assume that the group members themselves have the ability to collaborate efficiently if they are informed regarding relevant information, i.e., if they are aware regarding this information. Awareness according to Endsley (1995) is concerned with “knowing what’s going on” (p. 36) in a group situation. However, in the literature, there is no consensus about how the term awareness is defined. In most papers, the meaning of awareness refers to both social awareness, in the sense of who is available for collaboration, and action awareness, in the sense of who is doing what currently or who did what recently. However, in specific situations, social and activity awareness may not be enough to support effective collaboration, but rather knowledge is needed about the mental representations regarding the task domain of each of the group members, the concepts and information resources they use and share, as well as the knowledge gaps that are responsible for misunderstandings, ineffective shared knowledge construction, and deficient problem solving. In such situations, “knowledge and information awareness” is needed. Knowledge and information awareness is defined as awareness of a group member regarding her/his collaborators’ knowledge and information underlying this knowledge (Keller, Tergan, & Coffey, 2006).


In the paper, a study will be presented that investigated whether knowledge and information awareness is an efficient means to foster computer-supported collaborative problem solving.


In this study, an experimental condition, in which the group members were provided with an environment for fostering knowledge and information awareness, was compared to a control condition, in which the group members did not have it. The knowledge and information awareness in the experimental condition was evoked by providing visualizations that allow a group member to become aware of the knowledge and information of her/his collaborators.


Participants were 90 students of different fields of study of the University of Tuebingen (Germany). They worked in groups of three participants, each participant sitting in a separate room section. They could not see, but speak with each other. The participants of a group had to take over the roles of experts who had to care for a fictitious kind of spruce forest by solving several problems. The information units were evenly distributed among the three experts. Each participant had access to several unshared, with one expert shared or with both experts shared information units. After an individual phase in which they had to access their information units and to structure their knowledge and information by means of knowledge and information visualization by using CmapTools (a digital Concept Mapping Tool developed by the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, USA), they started to collaborate. In this collaborative phase they could speak with each other. Firstly, they had to compile their knowledge and information as well as to create a common knowledge and information visualization. Secondly, they had to solve the problem solving tasks by using their common knowledge and information visualization. In the control condition they had access to their own knowledge and information visualization only as well as to their shared working window for creating the common visualization. In the experimental condition, the participants had also access to the knowledge and information visualizations of their collaborators.


Results showed that the knowledge and information visualizations of the collaborators were used and evaluated as useful. In addition, the knowledge and information visualizations of the collaborators evoked knowledge and information awareness. Further analyses showed that knowledge and information awareness reduced cognitive load, supported coordination, resulted in clearer group maps, and fostered problem solving.


Further studies will focus on the mechanisms that caused the positive effect of knowledge and information awareness on computer-supported collaborative problem solving by spatially distributed group members.


 


Endsley, M. (1995). Toward a theory of situation awareness in dynamic systems. Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 37(1), 32-64.


Gross, T., Stary, C., & Totter, A. (2005). User-Centered Awareness in Computer-Supported Cooperative Work-Systems: Structured Embedding of Findings from Social Sciences. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 18, 323-360.


Keller, T., Tergan, S.-O., & Coffey, J. (2006). Concept maps used as a “knowledge and information awareness” tool for supporting collaborative problem solving in distributed groups. In A. J. Cañas, & J. D. Novak (Eds.), Concept Maps: Theories, Methodology, Technology (pp. 128-135). San José: Sección de Impresión del SIEDIN.


Kollar, I., Fischer, F., & Slotta, J. D. (2005). Internal and external collaboration scripts in webbased science learning at schools. In T. Koschmann, D. Suthers, & T. W. Chan (Eds.), Computer Supported Collaborative Learning 2005: The Next 10 Years (pp. 331-340). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


Keywords Collaborative learning
E-learning
Instructional technology
Appendices
Authors
Name Surname Institution Country e-mail EARLI Number Presenting
Tanja Engelmann Knowledge Media Research Center Germany t.engelmann@iwm-kmrc.de   *  
Sigmar-Olaf Tergan Knowledge Media Research Center Germany s.tergan@iwm-kmrc.de    
Title A study of the use of concept maps and knowledge models to organize and communicate a complex technical knowledge domain
Abstract

Digital concept maps have been proposed as a visual organizing factor for information and knowledge resources in educational settings. A new course is being developed that will use a knowledge model, an aggregate of digital concept maps and other digital resources, as a visual organizer for this course. The new course, entitled "XML-based Internet-enabled Applications" pertains to XML programming for Web-based applications. A software tool named CmapTools  will be used to develop and deliver the course.


It is difficult to understand the relationships among the many recommendations, standards and proprietary technologies that comprise the XML universe. Structuring the course around concept maps seems well suited to facilitate understanding of this complex domain. Additionally, the need to organize the many accompanying resources that this course will require: side-by-side comparisons of codings of XML documents, example documents from within the CmapTools environment, pages at the W3C website and other recommendation websites, etc., suggests that this knowledge modeling scheme will provide an ideal framework for the course.


Student accesses to the knowledge model will be logged and analyzed in order to determine patterns of interaction. Data on student performance in the course, on a learning style inventory, and on ways that they accessed the knowledge model will be analyzed and the results presented in this forum. Additionally, students will complete a survey that will address their perceptions of the utility of this representation relative to other course material organizers, particularly to the learning management system (LMS) currently employed at the University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL, USA.

Summary

Digital concept maps have been proposed as a visual organizing factor for information and knowledge resources in educational settings (Cañas, Coffey, Reichherzer et al, 1998; Tergan, 2005). One of the goals of this EARLI symposium is to explore empirical research on concept maps used for visualizing and communicating content knowledge and information sources in an educational setting. This presentation will describe a study in the use of Concept Maps and knowledge models as defined at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (FIHMC) to facilitate understanding in a complex technical knowledge domain. The idea of a knowledge model is to organize a group of hierarchically structured concept maps with navigable links between concepts in higher-level maps and more detailed maps that elaborate the concepts to which the more detailed maps are linked, and navigable links to accompanying electronic resources that elaborate the concepts in the maps.


     Concept mapping and knowledge modeling are being used in the design and delivery of a course entitled "XML-based, Network-enabled Applications." This new course addresses the multi-faceted knowledge domain of XML, eXtensible Markup Language. Although the basic recommendations (standards) regarding XML are ostensibly controlled by the World-Wide Web Consortium (W3C), this knowledge domain has rapidly grown into a complex, ever-changing set of technologies, many of which provide overlapping capabilities that are exceptionally difficult to understand.


     The current work describes the process of creating a course structured around concept maps in a software development environment named CmapTools (Cañas et al, 2004), and lessons learned about the efficacy of this representation from measures derived from the first offering of the course. While primarily concerned with student interactions with the knowledge model as the course is offered, this work will briefly describe the use of the tool as a factor in building the course. Benefits and drawbacks of two features of the tool, the concept recommender and the search capability, will be described relative to the development phase.


     The resulting knowledge model is being used as the interface for the course and the organizing structure for course materials. Classroom sessions start with a review of clusters of related concepts in the knowledge model to motivate the context of the session. All resources presented by the instructor are accessed through the model as well. Additionally, each major topic in the knowledge model will have an associated threaded discussion. Student interactions with the knowledge model are being logged by software on the server where the knowledge model resides, and will be analyzed in order to determine patterns of interaction with the model.


    The most basic reason why concept mapping and knowledge modeling of the type conceived at IHMC seem so well-suited to this application, is because these approaches afford a concise, explicit, visual representation of the interrelationships among the various components of a knowledge model. It is difficult to understand the relationships among the many standards, recommendations, and proprietary technologies that comprise the XML universe. Visual advance organizers (Krawchuk, 1996; Coffey, 2004) help students to understand such interrelationships, and preliminary work relative to this particular knowledge modeling scheme demonstrates that it is well received by students (Coffey, 2005). Additionally, it is anticipated that the many accompanying resources that this course will require: side-by-side comparisons of codings of XML documents, XML schema, transformational documents, example XML vocabularies, etc., the ability to display example documents from within the CmapTools environment, the ability to access links to W3C and other websites, suggest that this environment will provide an ideal framework for this course


     The current work will explore an empirical study in the development and use of this knowledge model both from the instructor's and the student's perspectives. The focus in the current presentation will be on the use of the deployed knowledge model. A variety of data including student performance in the course, results of a learning style inventory and statistics regarding accesses to the knowledge model will be analyzed and the results presented. This environment affords capabilities to associate threaded discussions with individual topics, and an analysis of how students use these capabilities will also be presented. Students will complete a survey that will address their perceptions of the utility of this representation relative to other course representations, particularly to the learning management system (LMS) currently employed at the University of West Florida. Results of this survey will cast additional light on the utility of this organization of resources.


 


Cañas, A.J., Coffey, J.W., Reichherzer, T., Hill, G., Suri, N., Carff, R., Mitrovich, T., & Eberle, D. (1998). El-Tech: A Performance Support System with Embedded Training for Electronics Technicians. Proceedings of the Eleventh Florida AI Research Symposium (FLAIRS '98), Sanibel Island, FL.


Cañas, A. J., Hill, G., Carff, R., Suri, N., Lott, J., Eskridge, T., et al. (2004). CmapTools: A Knowledge Modeling and Sharing Environment. In A. J. Cañas, J. D. Novak & F. M. González (Eds.), Concept Maps: Theory, Methodology, Technology. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Concept Mapping (Vol. I, pp. 125-133). Pamplona, Spain: Universidad Pública de Navarra.


Coffey J. W. (2004). LEO: A Concept Map-based Course Visualization Tool for Instructors and Students. In: Tergan S., & Keller T. (Eds). Knowledge and information visualization: Searching for Synergies. LNCS 3426. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer. 285-301.


Coffey, J.W. (2005). On the Use of Visual Models of Knowledge and Information in a Technical Course. Proceedings of EARLI2005, The 11th Biennial Meeting of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction. Nicosia, Cyprus, August 23-27, 2005.


Krawchuk, C. A. (1996). Pictorial graphic organizers, navigation, and hypermedia: Converging constructivist and cognitive views. Doctoral Dissertation. West Virginia University.


Tergan S-O. (2005). Digital Concept Maps for Managing Knowledge and Information. In: Tergan S., Keller T. (Eds). Knowledge and information visualization: Searching for Synergies. LNCS 3426. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer. 185-204.

Keywords E-learning
Instructional design/development
Instructional technology
Appendices
Authors
Name Surname Institution Country e-mail EARLI Number Presenting
John W. Coffey Univ. of Florida; IHMC Pensacola United States jcoffey@uwf.edu   *  
Title NatureGateĀ® a R&D and business program in progress: content knowledge, information, digital concept mapping
Abstract

In Finland, we are building a NatureGate® server. Summer 2007, it will be opened in the WWW. Its core will be thousands (later on, at least up to 350 000) high quality photographs of flowering plant and habitats. All Scandinavian, and most of Europe’s  flowering plants have been systematically photographed, many of them from seed to flowering stage and even to fruit stage. The photographs are linked to concepts, and texts describing content of photographs. Furthermore they will be linked to other reliable sources in the WWW. Concept maps will be used for visualizing content knowledge and information resources. In the paper I’ll elaborate ideas concerning the intended research on the use of concept maps for representing and communicating in an integrated manner knowledge and information resources.


 


The first NatureGate® server will promote life long learning in formal, non-formal and informal contexts, including educational and workplace settings. CmapTools will be offered as a free tool to visualise and communicate content knowledge, to manage knowledge, to share knowledge, to learn and collaboratively construct knowledge, using many kinds of information resources. CmapTools would allow a very fast possibility for uploading own digital photographs and video clips to the NatureGate® server. I am personally in the process of creating examples of how photographs of plants could be organised in many ways, e.g. into taxonomic structures, into evolutionary and ecosystem models, attached by texts, and linked to reliable digital resources and information in the WWW. When users themselves are using concept maps and CmapTools, it will provide data for research on learning, thinking, and problem solving, e.g. in biology education, in environmental education and in education for sustainable development.

Summary

In Finland, we are building a NatureGate® server. Summer 2007, it will be opened in the WWW. NatureGate® is designed “to facilitate learning and thinking about, in and for sustainable development from concrete photographs of local flowers, to ecosystems of which they are part to larger global ecosystems and finally to combined biosphere including economic and social activities. … Sustainable development is a very complex, and difficult problem. It will demand plenty of social learning, including collaborative knowledge building” (Åhlberg, Lehmuscallio, & Lehmuscallio, 2006, 458). It is a digital and e-learning gate into experimental, meaningful, deep, innovative, empowering learning in natural sciences. Its core will be thousands (later on, at least up to 350 000) high quality photographs of flowering plant and habitats. All Scandinavian, and most of Europe’s  flowering plants have been systematically photographed, many of them from seed to flowering stage and even to fruit stage. Later on photographs of other organisms, even stones, minerals and egyptological artefacts will be added to the NatureGate® server.  The photographs will be linked to concepts, and texts describing content of photographs. Furthermore they will be linked to other reliable sources in the WWW. Concept maps will be used for visualizing content knowledge and information resources. In the paper, I’ll elaborate ideas concerning the intended research on the use of concept maps for representing and communicating in an integrated manner knowledge and information resources.


 


Digital concept maps can be used in continual integration of knowledge and digital resources. This learning and knowledge building can be both individual and collaborative. It can be done either while connected to internet or in off-line. If the user is connected to internet, then she/he is part of the digital global learning space, which internet and WWW makes possible. There are enormous number of plant photographs and attached texts already in the web. The point is that it is often incorrect, misleading and simply untrue. If knowledge is defined as truthful beliefs as possible, then university research provides often best options and criteria for this kind of content knowledge. The NatureGate® server(s) will be continually checked by university experts of different fields of knowledge. There will be user created parts, which may contain also more untrue beliefs, but they will be checked and commented continually.


 


The first NatureGate® server will promote life long learning in formal, non-formal and informal contexts, including educational and workplace settings. CmapTools will be offered as a free tool to visualise and communicate content knowledge, to manage knowledge, to share knowledge, to learn and collaboratively construct knowledge, using many kinds of information resources (Cañas et al., 2004). CmapTools would allow a very fast possibility for uploading own digital photographs and video clips to the NatureGate® server. I am personally in the process of creating examples of how photographs of plants could be organised in many ways, e.g. into taxonomic structures, into evolutionary and ecosystem models, attached by texts, and linked to reliable digital resources and information in the WWW. When users themselves are using concept maps and CmapTools, it will provide data for research on learning, thinking, and problem solving, e.g. in biology education, in environmental education and in education for sustainable development.


 


Åhlberg, M., Lehmuscallio, E., & Lemuscallio, J. (2006). NatureGate®, concept mapping and CMapTools: Creating global networks of servers for improved learning about, in and for nature, ecosystems, biodiversity, and sustainable development. In A.J. Cañas & J.D. Novak (Eds.), Proc. of the Int. Conference on Concept Mapping. San José, Costa Rica.


 


Cañas AJ, Hill G, Carff R, Suri N, Lott J, Eskridge T, Gómez G, Arroyo M, and Carvajal R. CmapTools: A Knowledge Modeling and Sharing Environment, In: Cañas AJ, Novak JD, and González FM (Eds). Concept Maps: Theory, Methodology, Technology. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Concept Mapping. Universidad Pública de Navarra: Pamplona, Spain. 2004. 125-133.

Keywords E-learning
Instructional design/development
Instructional technology
Appendices
Authors
Name Surname Institution Country e-mail EARLI Number Presenting
Mauri Ahlberg Faculty of Beh. Sciences, University of Helsinki Finland mauri.ahlberg@helsinki.fi   *  
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