Teaching and Learning with Mind Maps

 
 

Introduction to Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a visual form of note taking that offers an overview of a topic and its complex information, allowing students to comprehend, create new ideas and build connections. Through the use of colors, images and words, mind mapping encourages students to begin with a central idea and expand outward to more in-depth sub-topics.

 

                         Mind Map Example

 

Definition of a Mind Map

A mind map is a visual representation of hierarchical information that includes a central idea surrounded by connected branches of associated topics.

 

Benefits of Mind Maps

  • Help students brainstorm and explore any idea, concept, or problem
  • Facilitate better understanding of relationships and connections between ideas and concepts
  • Make it easy to communicate new ideas and thought processes
  • Allow students to easily recall information
  • Help students take notes and plan tasks
  • Make it easy to organize ideas and concepts

 

How to Mind Map

All mind maps begin with a main concept or idea that the rest of the map revolves around, so choosing that idea or topic is the first step. Begin by creating an image or writing a word that represents that first main idea.

From that main idea, create branches (as many as needed), that each represent a single word that relates to the main topic. It’s helpful to use different colors and images to differentiate the branches and sub-topics.

Then, create sub-branches that stem from the main branches to further expand on ideas and concepts. These sub-branches will also contain words that elaborate on the topic of the branch it stems from. This helps develop and elaborate on the overall theme of the mind map. Including images and sketches can also be helpful in brainstorming and creating the sub-branch topics.

Mind maps can be created on paper but are more easily and fluidly created on a computer with mind mapping software such as Inspiration Software®’s Inspiration® 9.


Mind Maps in Education and Teaching with Mind Maps

Mind mapping is a beneficial learning tool to help students brainstorm any topic and think creatively. Mind maps are particularly helpful in the writing process and provide students with a natural way of thinking and building thoughts on a story plot or theme.

Mind maps also provide teachers with insight into their students’ thought process regarding a specific topic. By asking students to create mind maps demonstrating their comprehension of a concept, teachers are able to understand what a student’s prior knowledge was and how well the student understands the assignment or the material being taught. This is a very effective way of evaluating students’ understanding.

 

Mind Mapping Software

Inspiration Software®’s Inspiration 9 comes with an integrated Map View for providing students and teachers with a visual way to create and think with mind maps. Inspiration’s visual thinking and mind mapping tools were specifically designed for students and teachers to help facilitate the learning process and capitalize on students’ natural creativity. With Inspiration 9, students can easily begin an assignment by brainstorming and organizing ideas, which they can then transform into a structured outline with just one click.


For more mind map examples as well as other graphic organizer examples, click here.