Friday, August 12, 2011

Integrating mindmapping apps in learning

We have just been in a wonderful workshop with Marco Torres - a world leading educator leading a workshop with teachers and students about the Challenge Based Learning Framework.

Among the many useful teaching and learning ideas we were introduced to, was the power of Mindmapping for learning. Using mind mapping to ask under the surface and over the surface questions for solving challenging problems.

There is a variety of MindMap software available for laptops. This is also true of iPads.

Yesterday a number of us started using Popplet Lite (free) as an introductory mind mapping tool. For all student age groups it is a very intuitive app, easy to quickly map your thoughts and link them. A great feature is the ability to include photos and your own drawings in your mind map. You can then export the mind maps via email as a jpg, or save the mind map as an image to the Photos App on the iPad.

If you upgrade to the priced Popplet you can export mindmaps as a PDF, and also upload your mindmaps to an online space where you can collaborate with other students on the one mindmap by sharing an email link to your Popplet. Here you have more options to align your mind map, include video and other media.

A great example of integrating the use of Popplet in your curriculum is at iPads in the Classroom: Popplet App in the ELA classroom. Here 6th grade is using Popplet to gather/organize notes in their Research Essays unit. Yesterday we used it in a variety of ways, one example being for students to use it as a basis for outlining the structure of their essays. Another useful blog post about the use of Popplet in class and its features is at Mrs Huffs Edublog : Popplet Mindmapping.

Marco also referred to another good Mindmapping App - Maptini ($5.49) which is a truly collaborative app which allows you to work together to share you ideas, syncing your data in real time.

If you want to explore other Mindmapping Apps there is a very useful list and review of them at Hans de Zwart blog : Mind Mapping Apps for the iPad: A Comparison.

Here is an example of a beginning collaborative Popplet mindmap our team worked together on at this link:
Collaborative mindmap on Girls participation in soccer.

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