• Concept Mapping in the History Classroom

      Lynn, Denise
      This project focuses on the uses of concept maps in the history classroom. They have been a useful tool in my classes (including 100-level to 400-level) to introduce students to the historical craft. However, in recent years the maps have not been as useful in engaging students on a deeper level of thinking; therefore, I have begun to experiment with changing the format of the maps. The older maps simply had students identify an author's argument/thesis, evidence, conclusions, and the student had to ask an analytical question based on their reading. Because the historical profession has become embattled in the current political context, it has become more important in the history classroom to teach students historical literacy. A new literature has emerged on how to teach those skills in the classroom (see: Downey and Long, Teaching for Historical Literacy). Additionally, the research on concept maps in the classroom have been mixed. In some literature, it is recommended that the students create their own maps, while in others it recommends having a set map. I have created a new concept map framework that asks students to identify the author's sources and test their legitimacy, additionally, the students must fix the author in the larger historical scholarship. I have also given the students the option to create their own map rather than use one that has been created for them. Another addition to the new map is a reflection question asking the students if the reading challenged their thinking. This new format is an effort to bring historical literacy into all levels of my classes, including freshman, and to encourage students to think critically about any information that they come across. I used this map during the fall 2017 semester and will present on the successes and failures of this first trial.
    • Concept Maps and History Teaching

      Lynn, Denise; Lynn, Denise
      In the Fall 2017 semester, I conducted an experiment, with IRB approval, in two of my classes (HIST 263: World History from 1700 and HIST 311: Women and Gender). In both classes the students were asked to complete an older version of a Concept Map that required them to read a secondary source historical article and identify the author’s argument, evidence, and conclusion and then to formulate an analytical question based on their reading. The students were then required to complete assignments using a different version of the Concept Map that included the same questions as the first map, with additional questions on what sources the author used, what did they learn from the reading, and what did the reading add to the general scholarship on the course topic. After completing the Concept Maps the students answered questions to determine whether they retained information about the article and could identify what kind of sources the author’s used. Pedagogical research suggests that Concept Mapping aids in the retention of historical material and can improve student understanding of historical analysis. (Nair & Nayansami, 2017) My hypothesis is that Concept Mapping could help student’s identify arguments in secondary source material and analyze the author’s evidence. The results suggest there was a small improvement in student retention between the old and new concept map. This presentation will discuss the results and the limitations of the data set.