Unpacking Racial Nuances and Critical Perspectives through Concept Maps: A GitHub-based Approach

Potential Abstract: Concept maps have been widely used as a visual tool for representing knowledge structures and promoting understanding in various educational contexts. However, little research has explored the potential of concept mapping in fostering critical thinking and nuanced understanding of race-related topics. This study aims to investigate the effectiveness of a GitHub-based approach to concept mapping in facilitating students’ engagement with critical race concepts and promoting nuanced discussions.

Using a mixed-methods design, this research project will involve undergraduate students from diverse racial backgrounds in a semester-long course focused on critical race theory. Students will collaboratively create and revise concept maps on GitHub, a web-based platform for version control and collaborative development. By utilizing GitHub’s features, such as pull requests and comments, students will engage in peer feedback, reflection, and dialogue to refine their understanding of race-related concepts and develop more nuanced perspectives. The research team will analyze the concept maps, students’ interactions on GitHub, and qualitative data collected through interviews and reflective journals to explore the following research questions:

1. How does the GitHub-based approach to concept mapping support students in critically engaging with race-related concepts?
2. How do students’ concept maps evolve over time in terms of the depth of understanding and the complexity of connections between race-related concepts?
3. What are the students’ perceptions of the GitHub-based approach to concept mapping and its impact on their learning experiences?

This research aims to contribute to the existing literature on concept mapping and race in education by highlighting the potential of a GitHub-based approach for fostering critical thinking and nuanced understanding of race-related topics. The findings from this study will provide insights into the ways in which technology can be integrated into educational practices to engage students in critical dialogue and promote a more sophisticated understanding of race and racism.

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