While reading comments to a blog post about whether or not faculty should ban laptops in the classroom, I came across a comment that linked to a blog post about a student using concept mapping software to take notes.
This particular student was using Visual Understanding Environment (VUE), an Open Source project based at Tufts University. The student wrote that he was taking much more useful notes by applying them to concept maps and he was at the same time paying better attention to the lectures instead of just transcribing the presentations.
This got me thinking. I’ve been considering using concept maps for projects and preparing presentations, articles, excreta. However, would this approach work for conferences notes? If I did decide to use concept mapping software for conference notes, would I make separate concept maps per session? per tract? just one for the whole conference? I’m not really sure, but I think this has some potential. Taking notes in a linear way works for certain sessions but never seems to work for a whole conference – especially a focused conference. Yes, I record information about the sessions, but it kind of misses out on capturing the whole theme of the conference and what the general vibe and intellectual feeling was. For me, it is almost like looking at the trees but not seeing the forest.
I am not sure that concept mapping would really capture the forest, but it may very well be better at it then traditional, linear, note taking. Has anyone tried this at a conference? If so, I’d be interested in your experiences. I think I’ll try it at an upcoming conference and wee whether or not it works well for me.