I’ve been thinking about maps lately. In the beginning, maps’ primary purpose was to show routes between key locations. Then Ptolemy’s Geographia refined cartography by integrating knowledge of geography, mathematics, and astronomy to create maps that represented the physical world. His early maps even included longitude and latitude lines, which allowed people to describe the absolute location of a place. With the decline of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Christian Church, European maps shifted from physical representation to a religious understanding of the world; visually, they were works of art, spiritually, they were guides to Jerusalem, prominently centered to emphasize the city’s religious importance. People see these early maps and assume that the monks’ of the Middle Ages lacked scientific thought, that the monks lacked the ability to use geography to create a better map. That is a myth. These maps were, in a way, some of the first mind maps.
A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information around a single topic. When developing a unit, teachers use a variation called a content map. At the center is the topic and branching out are the necessary resources and concepts to support students’ understanding of that topic. Specifically, they include the content, texts/readings, multimedia components, curriculum standards, skills, assignments, assessments, and additional student resources. For virtual classroom teachers who are planning a unit, the concept map should also address discussion topics, asynchronous assignments, synchronous sessions, and web resources.
Below is one example made using the app MindMup