Creativity, Design and Making

Mindmapping and Thinking Skills Project Introduction

Mindmap of a holiday showing lots of detail using simple visual images

Mindmap of a holiday showing lots of detail using simple visual images

This site is the beginings of my record of my Thinking Skills & Mindmapping Project.  I am looking to biuld some research into how children think and learn using graphical and visual methods. This started many years ago at university when I investigated the neglect of visual communication in young children at school.

For those of you taking examinations you can use Mindmaps. Mindmapping and whole brain note taking are parts of a larger process.

In order to use Mindamapping then you need to understand how they work. There are loads of books and information on the internet to turn to, but becareful because as you will know not all information the web is reliable.

Last year we have trialed thinking skills in my school with our year 7’s. The course has gone down so well that we are running it again this year and also have some students from other years learning the skills to help with specific study issues that they have. Parents are getting interested in the skills as well.

Everyone has really enjoyed the experience and have made excellent use of the mindmapping software.  In a recent INSET that we ran teachers also learnt to use the software to build maps for their classes.

Mindmaps will help you:

  • get an overview of a subject quickly.
  • plan routes, make choices and let you know where are going and where you have been.
  • gather large amounts of data in one place.
  • encourage problem solving by allowing you to see new pathways.
  • remember, look at and muse over.

There are, of course, different ways of creating mindmaps:

Pens & Paper (see the picture at the top of the page)

Advantages:Maps can be created fast and without much experience. They can be designed freehanded and without the limits of computer software. You can produce these anywhere without being tied to a computer. I recently produced a mindmap of a complete book while on a long train journey! I also use then to record meetings, I went to a winetasting session for the first time a week ago, my mindmap for each while caused quite a stir! The creative release from actually drawing is great and very therapeutic.

Disadvantages: It is not so easy to change mistakes. After a few alterations one has to begin with a new sheet of paper. There is a limit to the size of your paper. It’s difficult to link the maps together.

Software (I use iMap v3 and MindJet Mindmanger Pro 7)

Advantages: Digital mindmaps are clearly arranged. Branches can be opened and closed in most programs, which allows it to put much information into one map. Maps can be linked together. No limits to the size.

Disadvantages: The arrangement of branches can limited. Most programs need a bit of experience to be used efficiently. You have to have access to a computer.

Some software is free, some software costs.

My advice, investigate first and find what suits you. Once you get used to the software it can really speedup the production of the map and enable you to move things from one map to another quickly and easily.

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