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Novak, J. and Cañas, A (2006): The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct Them (Technical Report IHMC CMap Tools 2006-11). Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition.

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Knowledge Models as Meaningful and Long Life Learning Alternative for Rare Disease Affected Students

1Universidad Pública de Navarra, España

American Journal of Educational Research. 2015, Vol. 3 No. 1, 100-108
DOI: 10.12691/education-3-1-17
Copyright © 2015 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Maider Pérez de Villarreal, Noemí Cano, Fermín González. Knowledge Models as Meaningful and Long Life Learning Alternative for Rare Disease Affected Students. American Journal of Educational Research. 2015; 3(1):100-108. doi: 10.12691/education-3-1-17.

Correspondence to: Maider  Pérez de Villarreal, Universidad Pública de Navarra, España. Email:


Rare diseases (RDs) are considered all diseases affecting to less than or equal to 5 in 10.000 citizens, criteria followed by most European Countries. Since most RDs incur disabling conditions, a few patients seldom reach adult life or attend class regularly. However, there are some less serious conditions which are compatible with a better quality of life during childhood and youth and which allow students attend classes in a more regular way. During this period and in these cases, we suggest the possibility of using the software Cmap Tools in order to create knowledge models, so that RD affected students who may miss classes due to their health status, can reach their fellows and follow their teachers’ explanations without any particular curriculum adaptation. In the context of a natural science class addressing health and illnesses, we suggest the possibility of using concept maps and V diagrams as tools for getting meaningful and long life learning. Once they learn the basis for creating basic concept maps, RD affected students and their mates may learn some of the symptoms, difficulties of diagnostic, treatment possibilities, foundations and research groups of the most common RDs held in Navarra (Spain), through concept maps. We show an educative intervention in a primary school in Navarra in which one of the students is affected by Treacher Collins and through the presentation of her disease, the rest of the students will get to know the characteristics of this particular disease and will make them be more empathic with her and her immediate reality, making RDs sound less rare. In the other side, by means of this teaching-learning process, RD affected students feel the main characters and also more valuable for society, which increases their self-esteem. By promoting this type of activities, teachers will manage a creative tool which help them in both emotional and professional aspects, since they do not have to adapt the curriculum to a particular student because Knowledge models allow the continuation of the learning process. Finally, the use of Cmap Tools provides items to measure what students knew previously about a particular topic and also helps them appreciate how their cognitive structure has changed and developed regarding their previous knowledge, stimulating a meaningful and long life learning and avoiding conceptual misconceptions.