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Mind mapping for students


Teacher Tips

with Aaron Quigley

Video: Mind mapping for students

Hi there. And welcome to another edition of Teacher Tips. This week, we're going to explore Mindmeister. Mindmeister is an online mind mapping tool that has countless uses inside of the educational arena. It can be used to organize group work, brainstorm presentations and papers as well as create class topic based discussion boards. Best of all, the basic account is free for both students and teachers to use. There are some limitations with the basic account, but Mindmeister also offers a discounted educational license if you decide this tool is right for your classroom.
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Watch the Online Video Course Teacher Tips
8h 26m Appropriate for all Sep 16, 2013 Updated Dec 22, 2014

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In this new series, author and educator Aaron Quigley shows you how to stay up to date with the latest educational technology and classroom management techniques. Each week, he'll introduce you to a new tip you can use to be more efficient, and increase student achievement. Aaron covers concepts like the flipped classroom, Common Core Standards, and the role of social media in education. The series also covers a variety of productivity apps, learning management systems, and other technologies, using a project-based approach that simulates the real K–12 or university classroom environment. Check back often for new tutorials, every Monday with Teacher Tips.

Education + Elearning
Aaron Quigley

Mind mapping for students

Hi there. And welcome to another edition of Teacher Tips. This week, we're going to explore Mindmeister. Mindmeister is an online mind mapping tool that has countless uses inside of the educational arena. It can be used to organize group work, brainstorm presentations and papers as well as create class topic based discussion boards. Best of all, the basic account is free for both students and teachers to use. There are some limitations with the basic account, but Mindmeister also offers a discounted educational license if you decide this tool is right for your classroom.

In this video, I'm going to walk through how to use a Mindmeister Mind Map, and along the way I'll share some ideas of how you can integrate this tool into your lesson planning and work flow. In my web browser, I've navigated to From here, you can either create an account, or log in. I'm going to go ahead and log into my account so we can go ahead and create our first MindMeister Mind Map. Once logged in, you have the ability to manage your mind maps. Here you can open up Previous Mind Maps or you can go ahead and click on New Mind Map. To start with a brand new board. Also, to save you some time in creating your boards, there are some board templates.

I'm going to go and select the Brainstorming Template so we can walk through the various features that are involved in a Mindmeister Mind Map. Now that my board's created, the first thing we'd like to do is to go ahead and name our board. We can always name our board by changing the text in the middle of the screen. You can see that the board was actually brought up with that text highlighted. So all I have to do is start typing to go ahead and name this board. I'll just call this board Teacher Tips. If I click away from that, I can now see that the main center of the board has been titled. The center of the board has a basic icon to it, and this is just a way to identify the board, or the topic that's being discussed inside of this Mind Map.

Here, I can click on the icon and choose to remove it or replace it. I can also come back in at any time, click on the icon, and change the name of this board. Let's go and talk about how a Mind Map works. You can see from the center of the board, there's different strands that come out. Each strand comes out to a new idea, or new section, inside of our Mind Map. This one has been pre-populated with five different strands. There's a strand for ideas, prioritizing ideas, action points. If I scroll up here to the top, there's a planning strand as well as problems.

The way that I move that board around is I simply placed my cursor anywhere on the board. I clicked and held, and then I can just drag the board around to where I'd like it to be visible. Let's go and dive into how to use this Mind Board by starting down in the Ideas section. Now idea generation is probably the easiest way to start using the Mind Map. This is just simply a way to organize ideas. You can see coming off of ideas that there are four subcategories, and then off of Idea One there's two additional subcategories. The main categories off of Idea, which is Idea One through Four are known as different topics.

You can also have various strands or the sub ideas coming off an additional idea. To model this I'm going to go ahead and just highlight and use the delete key to remove some of these ideas so that we can take a look at how this might be used in the classroom. Let's assume that students are working on a group project, and they'd like to go ahead and generate some ideas for this group project. Well from the idea category they might come up with the idea of doing a group project on one of the body systems. So we'll go ahead and type body system as an idea. Now, there's two things that I could do at this point. If I hit the return key, Body Systems will now be an idea. And I have the opportunity to either hit the Return key again to create a new idea, such as cells, or I can hit the tab key from any idea, and create a new strand.

So, under cells, I might look at heredity. I'm going to come back up and click on body systems. And again, I'm going to hit the tab key to create a new strand off of body systems. Maybe one of the body systems is the nervous system. Now because the nervous system is already a strand off of body systems, if I was going to add, let's say the endocrine system, that would not be a new strand off of nervous system. That would be a new idea under body systems. So this time I won't use the tab key. I'll go ahead and hit the Return key. To create a new idea off of body systems.

And I'll go ahead and type out endocrine system. So, you can see that simply using the Return key and the tab key, I'm able to go through and quickly identify various ideas that link to each other, that all link back to the main idea for the group project. This is a great place for students to just both, individually, as well as in collaboration with other students in the class. Now that this Mindmeister board's created, I can also come to the very bottom and share this map. So if you have one student working on a group project, they can get the board created, share the map with the rest of their teammates, and then every single person has the ability to collaborate on this single board.

Let's go and work clockwise around this board to take a look at the few of the other things that we can do. Over here, in the Prioritize Idea, you can see that there's three different strands of ideas off of Prioritize Idea. Here, they're modeling our ability to add an icon or an image next to a particular area. I'm going to hit the delete key a couple of times to remove these. Now, from low priority, let's go ahead and add a new item. I'm going to hit Enter again, and I'm going to add a couple of Priorities here. Let's say that we need to share this map with classmates. I'll hit the Return key and the Return key again, to create a new idea.

And I'll add another Priority of add images to this Mind Map. Hit the Return key again. So now I've created two new boxes the same way I went through and created ideas. What I'm going to do is I'm going to highlight one of the boxes, I'm going to come up to my icons and images, and these three little dots are a drop down menu for all of the icons and images available. Here I can select things such as Priority Numbers. I can give them small boxes that'll show what percent this particular task is completed. Or, I can select these Priority Flags, or Priority Buttons.

This is a way that students and teachers can go and set priorities for various things that are happening inside of the Mindmeister Mind Map. Because sharing this map with classmates is a high priority, maybe I'll give it a red flag. I can then come down to Add Images to this Mine Map, I'll come back up to the icon section, and I'm going to go and give it a green flag because it's lower on the priority list. Now the colors don't actually represent high or low priority, they're just things that will help me remember exactly what I need to work on. Now once I've shared this Mind Map with classmates, maybe it is no longer a high priority.

I can go ahead and change it to white, simply by clicking on the flag until the white flag comes up. Then later on in the project, maybe the adding of images is more important. I can click on it until it's red, showing that this is now a high priority item inside of this Mind Map. Another way to categorize actions that need to happen inside of a Mind Map is through action points. I'm going to come up to the Action Point section and take a look at how we can create these. I can also see they have a small icon telling me what percent they're completed. This icon shows that Action One is 50% or half completed.

The icon down here shows that at Action Point Two is only 25% completed. Once again, I can scroll through these various icons simply by clicking on them. If I click on Action Point Two once, it's now 50%. There's 75%, and when it reaches a completed state, it'll become a check mark. Let's go and create a new action point, and let's say that students needed to create a PowerPoint presentation for this particular Mind Map. I'll type up PowerPoint presentation. I'll hit Enter to create the idea. With PowerPoint Presentation highlighted, I'm going to come over to the Task button on the right hand side.

Here I'm going to set a priority for this, and we'll call this Priority Number 3, just to keep it in our list. Under completion, I'm going to select Not Started The next thing I'm going to do is to assign a due date. I'm just going to come in here and say December 20th, and I'm going to go in and assign it to myself. So I can now see this action point has both a check box where I can go through and click its various stages of completion. It has a due date, as well as the person it's assigned to. One way that I see teachers use this, is they actually go through and create the Mind Maps for the individual groups in the class.

As the teacher, you can put Action Points or a Due Dates section off of the Mind Map. You can go ahead and build in the various parts of the presentation, such as when's the paper due? When's the PowerPoint presentation due. When students then access their Mind Map, they have immediate access to all of those due dates. They can then go through and assign various students to those due dates, and they can also monitor their behavior and actions. You can come back into the Mind Map later on then, and you can add strands for each of these activities For example, let's say that the students have already presented. I'm going to select PowerPoint Presentation. I'm going to hit the tab key to create a new strand and I'm going to go ahead and put in their grade there.

Maybe they got an 87% on it. This way, the students and the teachers can interact on one single board all the information's available to every student in the group and you can continue to add information as needed. The last thing I'd like to mention is this Plan section at the very top. Up here into the Plan section, you can see that there's these plus signs as well as these minus signs. Any time you have one or more strand coming off of another idea or another thought, you have the opportunity to minimize them Meaning we're going to condense them down and make them not visible. If I click on this negative sign, you can see that it automatically becomes a plus sign, and all the information's now hidden.

This is a great feature for students that are sometimes distracted by other ideas that are on the board. They can go through and minimize everything except for the one section they're working on. That way they're not being distracted by it. Any time you see a plus sign on the board, you can hit the plus sign and it will automatically show you the rest of the items that are available underneath that plus sign. So here when I look at Goals and Rules, I can see that there's two plus signs. I can see that each Goal has two sections, and each Rule has two sections. Now Plan is up here at the very top of the board. Now let's assume that maybe we'd like this Plan idea further down.

Well, anytime a strand has been created, we can simply click on the strand, and drag that strand down, and this works with anything on the board. So let's say that goals have one and two, and that they're really important goals, and we're going to add paragraphs to them. Well maybe Goal One needs to be its own idea off of this particular Mind Map. To do that, I'm going to click on Goal One, drag it out, and then release. You'll notice that it now has a strand going back to the main idea. So this way as students are going through and working on coming up with ideas in Mind Mapping, once they find that final idea, for example, let's say students who do the endocrine system.

They can say, you know what? Let's go ahead and take the endocrine system. Let's make it our own idea off this board. Let's take the rest of this brain storming we did and minimize it. And now we can go ahead and start creating strands off of the endocrine system. I hope you enjoy exploring Mind Mapping, and that you find this a valuable tool for both you and your students to keep yourselves organized, as well as to communicate between students and teachers, as well as collaboratively inside your classroom.

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