The mind map was first introduced to me in university by my pedagogy teacher. I’ve never heard of it before, or never thought to do something of this kind. It turned out to be a revolution!! My mind is full of ideas of all kind; however there is something missing: organization! Everyone knows a good teacher has to be organized. Well, for the ones like me, who want to become a teacher, but are not organized at all, the mind map is there to help!
Mind maps are great tools for the teachers as well as for the students. In the case of the teachers, they can structure their presentation. This way, it gives a global view of the subject without forgetting a single information.
In the case of the students, it can help them to study. As this student says, the mind map allows to clarify thoughts, simplify complex ideas and memorize information. Hence, it is a great tool to restructure course notes and study for exams. Also, when using colors and images (the more absurd and exaggerated the better) you help you brain remember the information. It remind me some of my classes where the course notes were going from the topic #1 to sub-topics and sub-sub-topics. You ended up with 5.3.12, etc. And when it goes to topic 6, you don’t remember what topic 5 looks like. It’s easy to get lost with this kind of organization. I wish I would have known the mind map back then since this tool gives you an overall idea of the subject and it is easy to go back to the main topics. Also, by using a different color for each topic, you clearly differentiate each idea.
If the teacher uses mind maps, it simplifies the work of the students. If not, the students should structures their course notes in a mind map when studying for an exam.
Here are some software you can use to build a mind map, even if I personally think the result is better when done by hand!
First of all, the one that I’m using at the moment is iMindMap from Tony Buzan. You can get a free trial for one month will all the features and then, you get the basic version. With the basic version, you have a choice between different images as a central idea, and then you can add up as many branches as you want. Then, you can choose the colour of your branches and write as long as you want in the different boxes (you can choose between many font features).
Another software I have used is XMind. This one doesn’t give you as much place for creativity, colors and images. It is more a conventional software. One of the disadvantages I found about this software is that you cannot move the branches as you want. Depending on how many branches you have, they will move around your main topic.