Feb 22, 2006

Miles Berry

A good IT lesson this morning, using FreeMind open source mind mapping software. I’ve tended to be relatively cynical about mind-mapping in the past, as I tend to work in outline lists myself, but having been reading a number of things about visual communication recently I thought we’d give it a go.

We’re just starting on an extended research and presentation task, linked to their History work on the 2nd World War, but I wanted a little more planning to go in this time round, about how to structure the slides, what sort of information they’d need to find out and so on. FreeMind seemed ideally suited for the purpose, and they coped far better with the hover rather than click interface than I did! This is the one we produced together as we brain-stormed (or is thought-showered these days?) ideas for topics:

It was really interesting to watch them sorting headings into child/sibling nodes, and in a few cases moving these round to fit better with their topic as their research progressed. For those who stuggled to get started, being able to move from a website to copy/paste headings into the map also seemed fairly effective at encouraging them to read webpages for key points.

I think it’s also likely to be a good way of them organizing the actual research side of things too, rather than typing straight onto the slides.