Friday, August 6, 2010

Brainstorming and Mind Mapping

Lots of teachers use brainstorming as a way for students to share ideas and possible solutions to a problem. Always define the problem to make sure students clearly understand the problem. Make sure all ideas are written down.

There are four basic rules to brainstorming:
  1. Focus on quantity – the greater number of ideas produced generates a greater chance of producing an effective solution.
  2. Withhold criticism – focus on extending ideas and suspending judgment.
  3. Welcome unusual ideas – help students to look at ideas from different perspectives and not make assumptions.
  4. Combine and improve ideas – help students to combine ideas to form a single better idea.
Mind Mapping Steps:
  1. Once all brainstormed ideas have been written down students will move to mind mapping. At this point students should begin identifying relationships between the ideas and key points by drawing lines, arrows, or using colors.
  2. Students should begin finding contrasts/similarities, cause/effect relationships. These ideas can be written down beside the linking lines.
  3. Students will use the map to arrange all the items into a logical order.
Here are some free tools for Brainstorming and Mind Mapping
  1. Slick Plan – create sitemaps and flow charts
  2. Thinklinkr – fully collaborative outliner
  3. Webspiration coming this fall – map ideas and organize outlines – subscription
  4. Kidspiration and Inspiration software are used in our school system for all K-12 students.
  5. Diagrammr – create and share diagrams by writing sentences
  6. Imagination Cubed – draw mind maps online, can be used with whiteboards
  7. Edistorm – real time mind mapping and sticky notes
  8. Education Eye – brainstorming with a search engine
  9. Mind42 – collaborative mind mapping
  10. Mindmeister – mind mapping that can be embedded into a site
  11. Mindomo – detailed mind mapping site with web 2.0 features
As teachers begin creating fall lesson plans check out these sites for ways to incorporate technology into brainstorming and mind mapping with your students.

To read this article please go to Tech&Learning:


Syd said...

Wow, thanks for this. I take it for granted that kids know how to brainstorm. This is most helpful.

Shototech said...

You're most welcome. I thought the four steps to brainstorming would help teachers see how to expand basic brainstorming activities that would lead to the mind mapping.

Sarah Cargill said...

Hi Shototech,

Thanks for mentioning Webspiration, Kidspiration and Inspiration!

I noticed in this post that Webspiration is listed as "coming this fall - map ideas and organize outlines - subscription" with the web address I'd like to offer a few revisions to this.

A free beta version is open to the public currently at allowing users to create and collaborate on mind maps and outlines. We will be offering various subscription versions this fall. Please check back with us for more details on this.

Yet in the meantime, we encourage users to try the web 2.0 application for free.

Please let us know if we can answer any questions or be of assistance to future posts about visual learning and thinking.

Sarah Cargill, Inspiration Software


Nina said...

Unlike traditional method of note taking the mind mapping software increase efficiency of the learning process, manage and simplify work and save time. I use Seavus DropMind™, it is a mind mapping software so you can chat in real time with friends, work on the same map, share maps and collaborate with others simultaneously. It boosts your creativity during writing essays and it can be useful for making powerful presentations.

Vishu said...

thinklinkr cofounder here. Thanks for the mention.

@Syd it's amazing how setting these simple ground rules can really help people brainstorm more effectively.

For example, your mental approach is completely different when brainstorm and collecting information than when organized and analyzing it. That's why, in my experience, the most important rule is "don't criticize." Criticism not only makes people hesitant to share their ideas, it also shifts everyone to analyze mode.

I wrote a little more about this in an article my blog titled "Collect | Organize".