Argumentation is an essential intellectual skill, important in all academic subjects and for any engaged citizen. Enhancing students’ ability to construct and evaluate arguments is one of the central goals of education. In our demonstration, we’ll introduce an open-source tool called the Dialectical Map (DMap) that provides an innovative solution to teaching argumentation and engaging students in deep learning.

The DMap is a web-based visualization tool that prompts students to construct arguments and counterarguments in response to a claim and to weigh conflicting perspectives for a reasoned conclusion. It visualizes the structure of argument and engages students in argument-based inquiries. The activity of building a dialectical map strengthens students’ understanding of the key components of an argument and how they relate to each other. Beyond that, it encourages deep processing of learning materials.

The DMap tool has been incorporated in SFU undergraduate biology, education, computer science, and criminology courses. Our internal evaluations found the tool is popular with students and instructors, and laboratory research indicates that using the tool not only enhances argumentation skills but also deepens subject area knowledge.

We will show you how to construct dialectical arguments with the DMap tool and will be happy to discuss how you can incorporate the DMap tool in your class.