Best Practice - Mind Mapping

Best Practice

MindGenius - A thinking tool, based on the principles of Tony Buzan’s Mind Mapping technique, that significantly assists knowledge retention MindGenius

Context MindMapping is a very well established technique that uses the entire range of cortical skills to help unlock the full potential of the brain. It appeals to a range of learning styles and uses words, images, numbers, logic, rhythm, colour and spatial awareness. Typically used for note taking, gathering information, planning, problem solving and strategic thinking, traditional mind mapping techniques use pens and paper to represent ideas and information graphically using techniques such as colour coded spider diagrams. Although valuable, these diagrams can quickly become messy and unwieldy, especially when working with larger groups of people or if changes must be made to the initial layout. When many ideas are being considered a traditional mind map can span several pages reducing the usefulness of the technique. These problems are overcome by using MindGenius. MindGenius is a computerized application specifically designed to allow the user to create colourful, professional and easy to manipulate mind maps on practically any subject area. Using MindGenius the user is no longer constrained by the boundaries of their page but instead they can harness their thinking power and use it to produce action, productivity and results. Product Features MindGenius has been billed as a thinking tool that will allow students to express and communicate their knowledge and lecturers to prepare their lessons and brainstorm with their classes. If used effectively it can facilitate a higher standard of work by providing an environment where ideas, knowledge and understanding can be developed. Traditional teaching methods often include class discussions, brainstorming and question and answer techniques. Lecturers and learners will often make notes from the ideas discussed during these sessions, but even when this content is recorded on flipcharts or whiteboards it may only appeal to verbal learners. Using mind mapping allows this same discussion to appeal to all learning styles and mind mapping with MindGenius includes the power of ILT in this equation. When Tony Buzan created the concept of Mind Mapping he set rules that governed how his technique should be used. This included using a landscape, blank page and starting the map of ideas with a colourful image of the topic in the centre. On paper this can be difficult to achieve, unless the practitioner is artistically inclined, however MindGenius allows the user to quickly add meaningful imagery to their “map”. The next stage in creating the map is to add the main themes relating to the topic, using single words or images, and to link these to the central topic using wavy lines which are colour coded and thicker towards the centre. Again Buzan claims exact use of this technique creates the maximum benefit however again on paper this is hard to achieve and even harder to amend. MindGenius makes it easy to add these themes, with automatic map structuring built in. This means that the practitioner is free to focus on the group and their ideas and they can reposition the map as and how required. The map should be extended by adding branches from the main themes containing second levels of thought and then further sub dividing these into third and fourth levels. Colours, symbols and arrows should be included and full branches, when complete should be enclosed. This use of colour appeals to visual learners and grouping the ideas in boundaries helps with retention through associating ideas. When complete, the mind map should be a thing of beauty, and this use of colour, linking, logic, group work, spatial awareness and imagery is what allows the map to be useful to so may different types of learners. Undoubtedly these techniques could all be achieved using pens and paper, as Tony Buzan first proposed, however the practitioner can be absorbed by the task of recording the information so much so that they cannot properly facilitate the group discussion. Alternatively they may have a preconceived idea of how information will fit on the page, or run out of room and have to leave out information, or put it on a separate page, defeating the purpose of the mind map technique. MindGenius overcomes these problems by automatically putting the input information on the page in an appropriate structure. Colours are achieved with a single click, images can be added in seconds and most importantly if an area of the map gets crowded the simple drag technique means the entire chart can be restructured in seconds. This leaves the structure of the lesson, and the information, firmly in the hands of the learners and allows the lecturer to truly facilitate information exchange. Information can be expanded and compressed in an intuitive manner similar to that used within the Windows interface. This allows the learner to simplify the layout, but drill down into more detail when needed. It also helps with complex ideas, as they do not all need to be displayed on the map at once, leaving room for as much information as necessary. In addition this package also links with many standard Microsoft Office applications to allow learners to export information into other formats. Notes can be added at each and every level within the map and exporting to Word takes these notes into a more formal document. This can reduce the overall workload for the learner, especially if the map is being used to prepare for assessment, but this feature also allows them to work with information in their preferred format. MindGenius also offers exports to Microsoft PowerPoint, to create instant and meaningful presentations and to HTML format for online publishing of findings. MindGenius allows the user to create maps that not only maximise information recall but that are also easy to construct and maintain. Information is presented in a clear, colourful and concise format and in one document that can potentially replace pages of handwritten notes. In the classroom environment the learners can contribute and actively engage with the thinking process, promoting ownership of the information while the practitioner can display the information in a highly effective manner. MindGenius overcomes all the difficulties associated with the original mind mapping technique and facilitates the production of the type of maps that Tony Buzan originally intended. As such effective use of this application can offer a number of key e-Learning benefits. Perceived e-Learning Benefits Tony Buzan’s Mind Mapping technique has been widely acclaimed as an effective memory aid and learning tool, however MindGenius enhances this technique and brings it effectively into the modern classroom and the modern age. The benefits include:  MindGenius truly appeals to all styles of learners to ensure that the learner is associating and retaining processed knowledge in the most effective manner for them. Combining a range of techniques when constructing and reviewing information embeds the information more effectively and uses the entire brain in creating associative memory links  MindGenius appeals to the visual learning through its use of colour, graphics and spatial understanding  For the verbal learner there is a chance to view the document in a choice of font styles and sizes. Concise notes can be added  The physical learner is considered through the use of drag and drop techniques and pop up information  The technique is particularly effective for the logical learner with information logically grouped into related areas with alternative paths to this information available  Learning by association, cognitive learning, is promoted as learners can create their maps with links that are the most meaningful and logical to them. They can then move from a higher level concept to a more detailed one using their own personalised hyperlinks  Within the classroom, learners can engage with the process of creating the map. This promotes ownership of the information. This also facilitates peer learning where group discussion of how and where information should be added to the map engages social learners  Absentees no longer need to miss class discussions, as maps can be created during these sessions and saved on an VLE for dissemination and future use  The traditional process of mind mapping can be presented in a new and exciting way to the entire group of learners using MindGenius  Mind maps should be personal to the student and their learning experience and only in this way will they be as effective as possible. Personalisation is not possible with the traditional approach to creating mind maps. MindGenius allows each user to take a copy of a map and customise to maximise their learning experience.  Using MindGenius the lecturer can be a facilitator who allows the student group to access, select, evaluate, organise and store information from a range of sources  Text can be analysed and displayed in a creative multi sensory form. This can add motivation to the learning process through the enrichment and creativity possible in the online environment  Web publishing and Office integration can be achieved with one click, minimising workload and maximising productivity  With MindGenius knowledge does not have to be linear, it can be displayed and assessed in hyperlink format Testimonials MindGenius is used in many schools, colleges and universities and the fact that its supporters include the original creator of the technique speaks volumes for the usefulness of the application.  MindGenius makes excellent use of Mind Mapping techniques, not only preparing students for the needs of education, but also for employment and indeed life.”, Tony Buzan, inventor of mind mapping  Many schools in the UK use MindGenius and 280 Further Education establishments have installed site licences that give access to all learners across their campuses  “I would recommend MindGenius to others without hesitation”, Iris Chisholm, TCS Associate, Bovince Ltd.  “I use MindGenius on a daily bases to find innovative solutions to the many challenges we face in Education”, George Gardner, Deputy Head of Education, Glasgow City Council  “Start using MindGenius now – you will be astounded by your own abilities!”, Maggie Boyle, Head of Skills and Employment Unit, Leeds University  “Mind Genius reduces the time it takes to get the job done by as much as 10 percent;”, George Whyte, Project Manager, Honeywell  “MindGenius has been a significant factor in extending the use of ICT across subjects. Its ease of use has motivated pupils to further develop their IT skills. The programme creates a level playing field for pupils of all abilities in presenting quality work and encourages them to ‘go that bit further’ whether they are working on projects or revising for exams”, Edmind McFadden, Deputy Head Teacher, John Ogilvie High School  “In my opinion, its greatest strength is the ability to cater for the normal process of continuous review by automatically resizing maps to accommodate revisions. The ability to convert maps to Word documents and PowerPoint presentations has also proven to be extremely useful. I would recommend MindGenius to others without hesitation.”, Robert Ordoyno, Business System Support Manager Sources

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