When the nice people at MindMaple contacted me about reviewing their product, I was intrigued. I like finding tools that enhance education for students and improve a teacher’s ability to communicate ideas. Plus, ‘mind mapping’–a visual approach to thinking and sharing–is quite popular in education so I agreed to take a look. Though MindMaple is for business and education, I’ll review it only from the educator’s point of view.
In education, mind mapping is used to organize lesson plans, dig into complicated ideas, and brainstorm. It allows you to sort ideas and concepts through topic boxes that spill into myriad layers of subtopics. Think of an organizational chart, but for ideas, not people. Mind maps are created by brainstorming as a group or an individual. They begin with a central idea and expand outward to more in-depth sub-topics that can cover any level of minutiae. Unlike organization charts, mind maps use colors, images, icons, as well as words to get ideas across to others.
A program called Inspiration is the most popular mind map resource for educators, but I personally couldn’t get comfortable using it. I took so long figuring out how to use the tools (most likely because I didn’t use it often enough) that I lost track of my brainstorming. I like the idea of visually presenting thoughts. I see its merits in the classroom so I was excited to look at an alternative.
As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!
Q: I can’t find enough detail about a particular area of the world that we’re studying in class. Any suggestions?
A: That’s a lot easier to do today than it used to be, thanks to Google Street View. Students love walking down the street that they just read about in a book or seeing their home on the internet. It’s also a valuable research tool for writing. What better way to add details to a setting than to go see it?
Create a classroom blog. Show students how to interact on it, answer questions, add their ideas. Include pictures, student schedule, location of your wiki and more