Mind Mapping has been popularised by an English author and educational consultant Tony Buzan. Tony draws on many years of his own studies to conclude that mind mapping is a technique of thinking that is a way in which we think most effectively (Buzan, 2015). A meta-study in 2006 also showed that mind mapping most more effective than just writing notes, attending classes and watching lectures (Nesbit & Adesope, 2006). Mind mapping helps stimulates your memory and has been proven to increase productivity, memory, creativity and comprehension. Even using colour in a mind map is a thinking tool, it allows you to discriminate, code, highlight and generate thought (Buzan, 2015). Just like ICTs are a digit tool for thought, they can also aid in this process as I have found out in creating my own mind map. It helped me rearrange thoughts that would otherwise require a lot of white-out and time. Not only that there are possibilities for classrooms to do collaborations and embed documents and images. Tony Buzan describes having images within mind maps as stimulating, memory, associations and thought (Buzan, 2015). Tony has even created his own digital mind mapping tool called iMindMap (iMindMap, 2017). Below is a list of benefits using ICT for mind maps I have found on mindmapingsoftwareblog.com written by Chuck Frey in 2008.
Why does using ICTs make it better?
- Mind mapping software enables you to arrange information in expandable and collapsible topic trees. This makes it possible to store much more information in a software-produced visual map, without overwhelming you. Because of this, you can use it to create sophisticated knowledge models that wouldn’t be possible on paper.
- Mind mapping software enables you to embed documents, links, notes and other data within the structure of your map, transforming it into the equivalent of a powerful visual database. What this means is that you can create a project map that contains shortcuts to a wealth of supporting information. Whether that’s stored in Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, web pages or even individual e-mails, it’s all just a click away. That’s a big time saver! In addition, to avoid visual clutter, many programs enable you to sub-divide large maps into linked sub-maps. That enables you to capture all of the details of large projects in a manageable format.
- Mind mapping software enables you to re-arrange the topics in your map at will until it perfectly represents your ideas. In contrast, unless you have a really big eraser, it’s hard to move topics in a hand-drawn mind map. Your topics are more or less “anchored” to the paper. Every time you move a topic within a software-produced mind map, you “refactor” it. In other words, the parent idea to which you attach a topic changes its meaning and context. That enables your brain to generate new ideas and to see connections between existing ideas.
- A software-produced visual map isn’t just something you create once and forget about. Because you can update its contents as needed, it can become a powerful tool for managing your projects and tracking their progress on an ongoing basis. At the completion of a project, you can also create a branch or sub-map that captures the lessons your team learned – which will help you to streamline future projects.
- Mind mapping software enables you to export your ideas to other types of software, such as word processors, presentation and project management software. This enables you to use your visual map as a creative “front end” to almost any type of project – a place to give form and structure to your ideas. For example, if you’re a writer, you can create a detailed visual outline of your article or book, and keep track of everything from character profiles and plot points to potential publishers and a marketing plan for your prose.
- Mind mapping software also opens up new opportunities for collaboration that don’t exist with hand-drawn maps. You can e-mail a map you’ve created to others on your team or upload it to a shared workspace, where they can annotate or add to it. Several mind mapping applications also enable multiple people to work on a map at the same time.
- Another powerful advantage of mind mapping software is that you can utilize it to present your ideas, which makes it a powerful alternative to PowerPoint. What’s more, you can even update your presentation with comments from your audience, which helps to increase their buy-in to your ideas. That’s something you couldn’t even dream of doing with PowerPoint!
- Another unique capability of mind mapping software is that it can be used with an LCD projector and screen to record and display ideas during a group brainstorming session. There’s something very powerful about seeing your ideas recorded in real time, and placed in context with all of the other ideas the group has brainstormed, that just isn’t possible with flip charts and coloured markers.
- Another unique capability of mind mapping software is that you can utilize it to create your own “information dashboard” – a map that consolidates a wealth of data that you need to manage into a single, visually-oriented screen.
- Finally, what makes mind mapping software unique is its flexibility. The number of different things you can do with it – from a business, education or personal standpoint – is amazing. You can use it to plan a meeting, develop a business plan, manage a project, write a book, track your personal goals, create a database of ideas, create lists of tasks and track your progress on them, and much more. You can do many of the same things with hand-drawn maps, of course, but not to the level of detail (and the collection of related, linked resources and files) that’s possible utilizing mind mapping software.
Source: (Frey, 2008)
How I Plan to Use Mind Mapping in Class
As mentioned in my last blog, I believe that mind mapping could be used a tool for me to help students grasp concepts. By breaking down a concept into smaller branches of information students can see how each part relates to the bigger picture. To give an example I found a concept map of seasons, this is a topic covered in the year 7 science curriculum.
Source: Created by Jenny, retrieved from https://sprinj62.wikispaces.com/Concept+Maps
This image shows how students could create their own concept map of the seasons using images and colours that associate with the thought process to help them better understand the topic. I can see myself giving students a task where they will be able to brainstorm concept headings in groups using Evernote, then combined concept map ideas using Visual Understanding Environment. All of these ideas using ICT in a collaborative environment were not in the forefront of my mind until doing this EDC3100 class.
Free Mind Map Tools to Test Out
Below is a list of mind mapping software’s that are available for free, I have used Bubble.us briefly, but I plan to experiment with other programs as well.
- Visual Understating Environment
Buzan, T. (2015, January 15). How to Mind Map with Tony Buzan. Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5Y4pIsXTV0
Frey, C. (2008, July 23). 10 advantages of mind mapping software vs. hand-drawn maps. Retrieved from The Mind Mapping Software Blog: http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/software-vs-hand-drawn-maps/
iMindMap. (2017). iMindMap 10. Retrieved from Imindmap: https://imindmap.com
Nesbit, J. C., & Adesope, O. O. (2006). Learning With Concept and Knowledge Maps: A Meta-Analysis. Review of Educational Research, 413-448.