How I Use It
I use this app in a variety of ways. The first thing I always do is give them about 10 minutes to "mess about" with the app, i.e., figure out how it works. They very quickly are able to create nodes with text, draw links (arrows) between nodes, and change the colors. They figure out all the features faster than I can teach them! The most basic content-based use of the app is to have students read a text with new vocabulary words and then have them map these words/concepts and definitions on WeMap. They can use links (arrows) and different colors to make connections between words and categorize concepts. In addition, WeMap can be used to map a sequence of events. For example, if students are learning about an event with causes and effects, they can show how one thing leads to another using colors and arrows. Finally, I have used WeMap more formally in a teacher-directed setting when a text is particularly difficult to understand, and I help them sort out how concepts are related using WeMap.
I like WeMap because it is collaborative. I use it mostly in small groups, and each student in the group has access to the map via his/her own device. Because they are all working on the same document, they also have to talk to one another about how they want to organize the information. I also like it because it is open-ended. Students can decide how to organize information in a way that makes the most sense to them at one time. I, as a teacher, have access to their work by joining their session, and I can make sure they are on the right track.