So, up until now mind mapping was a foreign term for me. I had heard it mentioned a couple of times over the years but never experimented with it as a learning and teaching tool. It was a concept developed by an educationalist and author called Tony Buzan.
MInd mapping is:
A mind map is a diagram used to visually outline information. A mind map is often created around a single word or text, placed in the center, to which associated ideas, words and concepts are added. Major categories radiate from a central node, and lesser categories are sub-branches of larger branches. Categories can represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items related to a central key word or idea. (Wikipedia)
So, I have had a play around with this software and realised that it is an enormous amount of fun. But more importantly, it is a challenge on my thinking to make concise and relevant points about a subject and how they are connected. I chose to mind map something close to my life at the moment … assignments!
What were all the aspects (ie concepts) that were relevant to “assignments”. The support, the time management, the study, the responsibilities of home, family life and so on. When I finally put “electronic pen to paper” and mapped it out I realised that mind mapping is a much more effective way to tell a “bigger story”. It is concise, easy to follow (least I think mine is), colourful and creative.
I didn’t spend much time on the aesthetics of the design but I was more interested in the overall process of putting one together.
In this case, I used software called Kidspiration which is aimed at students from K-Year 5/6 (ok, I know I fall out of that category slightly) but the “big sister” of Kidspiration is Inspiration which is also available for the “bigger kids”. There are many other software applications out there and available for mind mapping.
It is most definitely a teaching and learning tool that requires much preparation before allowing children to use it simply to make it an effective tool but most of the learning will also come from the playing around with it.
Definitely will come back to this idea and use again. Ready to “mind map” my thinking!