|Screen capture of an example "starter" mind map (ConceptDraw MINDMAP software)|
The three uses I will describe are:
- To create multimedia lesson plans.
- To help students organize their writing.
- To help students conduct research.
A note on the history and development of mind mapping
The “Tree of Love” by Porphyry of Tyros
(3rd Century AD, Greece)
From these origins grew the highly sophisticated practice known today as mind mapping. This manner of capturing, organizing, and sharing mixtures of information, ideas and images is today used by everyone from English and German school children to 85 of the Global Fortune 100 companies.
|Images and observations of early life by|
Leonardo da Vinci (15th Century AD, Italy)
Creating Multi-Media Lesson Plans
A common thread you will see in all of the uses I discuss is a teacher’s ability to combine multiple information type in a single, easily constructed and navigated document. A mind-mapped lesson plan often includes:
- A thesis statement and accompanying questions
- Active internet links
- Images and icons
- Answers and notes
Download a full example with step-by-step instructions and screen captures via Google Docs.
A Symphony of Meaning
“But what,” you might ask, “are the advantages or creating a lesson plan this way? It seems like it would be easier to do this as a word document?”
One of the results of Sperry’s research was that each hemisphere of the human brain is better suited to particular forms of information. Traditionally, the left hemisphere has been thought of as the home of reason, logic, numbers, and language. While the right side excels in rhythm, color, images, and intuition. Provide information is a way that appealed to as many of these cross strengths as possible, it was believed, and the brain would be more able to learn, remember, synthesize, and create.
As this idea has gained popularity over the years, so has the idea that some people’s brains are better able to take in information captured in one of these way (i.e. some of us are “visual learners.” More recently, research suggests that we all think better when information is communicated using these different modalities. Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words. But a picture with a caption written in bold red type with an exclamation point is worth a lot more.
Read the other entries in the series:
Part 2: The Chunking of Language
Part 3: Improving Student Writing
Part 4: Improving Research