I struggled for awhile, trying to find a software program to recommend for my students to use. I needed the software to meet certain criteria that I felt were important. The first was that it would be very easy to use, since the course is only eight weeks long and the idea mapping is done near the end in most cases. Second, that it would closely resemble the look and feel of a hand drawn map. Thirdly, I wanted a program that was completely free for my students and that didn’t have expiry dates or trial periods and didn’t require the students to give out unnecessary personal information. The two programs I recommend are either GoConqr.com or MindMaple Lite.
GoConqr is an online student resource that has a mind mapping feature that is very easy to navigate. If a student already has a facebook or google account, it is just a simple one-click login, otherwise it is a very simple account creation. MindMaple on the other hand is is a complete stand alone software download that does not require the downloader to enter any information to get the “Lite” version. It is easy to use and even though it is a free version, it has enough functionality for my students needs, and if they feel like they need the full version, it is only $10 USD for the year.
With both of these programs it has been very easy for my students to submit their completed maps via email which has made my job easier. just think.
“It just looks messy.” This is an excuse I hear quite often, and yes, sometimes, an Idea map can look rather messy, but this is usually the case when someone is mind mapping a meeting or a lecture and they are trying to get the information down rather quickly and not worrying much about form. If neatness is desired, the mind map can be redrawn by hand or one of the many commercially available software programs can be used.
I will be giving a 75 minute presentation entitled “Passive to Active with Idea Mapping” on February 19th at 12:30 PM. This will be for CATCA 2015, which is the Central Alberta Teacher’s Convention Association and the theme for this year’s event is “Redesign….The Future!”. I feel that speaking about the positive benefits of Idea Mapping, particularly in the educational setting will fit in nicely with this theme. Here is my synopsis: This session will examine how Idea Mapping can be used effectively in a variety of educational settings and will show how our students can take the most mundane assignments, and by using Idea Mapping, they can take ownership of the information they need to learn. We will look at how unique our brains and the associations we make are, my students work, and resources and software you can tap into.
My session link & Event Page
A student that I had in my class about a year ago, Matthew, was very reluctant to do the assigned Idea mapping. He gave me a lot of grief as he felt he wasn’t learning anything from the exercise. When he returned for his second period training, he had a different instructor who didn’t use mapping but was familiar with my techniques. One day in class, he noticed my former student making an Idea map that he intended to give to his girlfriend/wife, I’m not sure, but it was for whoever had made his sandwich that day. The Idea map was apparently going to be a useful tool in making sure his sandwiches from now on were made correctly. I am unsure of how this Idea map was received, but I have a feeling, not well. In any case, I’m sure that Matthew, as reluctant as he was, is putting this Idea map to good use himself as he is probably now making his own sandwiches. Next Idea map Matthew? How about….. appropriate uses of Idea Mapping!