Mapping Climate Science Arguments with Teenagers

KMi’s Compendium tool supports rapid visual mapping of dialogues and debates through a mix of visual language, tagging and hypermedia structuring. With a track record of use in the workplace, we are now beginning to build evidence of its potential for critical thinking in schools.

With >40,000 downloads and an annual workshop, KMi supports an active Compendium user community (and a growing developer group). It has found application primarily, although not exclusively, in the workplace, the tool of choice for many information analysts and facilitators of collective sensemaking. But could we demonstrate that younger users would embrace its visual language and the extra rigour of thinking that argument mapping requires?

In an exciting workshop led by Ale Okada, a Research Fellow in the Hypermedia Discourse research programme, teenagers judged by their schools to be "gifted and talented" attended a science summer school, and were taught how to map and structure their reasoning about the impact of climate change on the UK. The results are summarised in a new article, and represent the first step in our programme to introduce the next generation to visual, network-centric thinking, a literacy that we think will become increasingly important.


Okada, A. and Buckingham Shum, S. (2008, In Press). Evidence-Based Dialogue Maps as a Research Tool to Investigate the Quality of School Pupils’ Scientific Argumentation, International Journal of Research and Method in Education, 31, (3), pp. xx-xx (Special Issue: Coffin, C. and O’Halloran, K.A, (Eds.) Researching Argumentation in Educational Contexts: New Methods, New Directions). PrePrint:

More details and commentary in the blog post below, while the forthcoming book Knowledge Cartography expands the theme of cartographic literacy for reasoning.

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