During my career as a professor and assistive technology consultant which has spanned over 30 years, I have seen the many benefits of providing students with visual and graphical supports to help them understand material. As much as students have benefited from the use of mind maps and graphic organizers, I would have to say that if anyone has derived benefits from using these tools, it has been me. Early on in my teaching career, as a Professor of Education, I needed to come up with a strategy to deliver content to my students in the classroom that could provide a quick way to attach documents, notes, and links to web sites. As I was reflecting on this need, I quickly realized that I could use MindMeister to help me organize my in-class lectures and resources. MindMeister could provide me with a very fluid and powerful way to organize my lectures and provide my students with the resources that they would need for class.
MindMeister provided me with a set of tools that would make the planning for my classes a whole lot easier. Starting out with a basic mind map I was able to structure the map with the material I would be presenting for the class. Using a mind mapping application like MindMeister gave me a way to quickly see how all the elements of the lesson came together for the class. More importantly, MindMeister has a host of time saving features which made the process of putting my lessons together a breeze. Since I am teaching educational technology courses and do a great deal of hands on with my students, being able to load my MindMeister mind maps with links to web sites has proven to be invaluable. Using the Wunderlink feature has saved me a great deal of time. I simply have to type the topic into the mind map and click on the Wunderlink icon to have MindMeister suggest the website link. Using the Wunderlink feature has saved me countless hours of having to look up the website address. Prior to class, I link or embed the MindMeister mind map in our Learning Management System (Moodle) and when students come to class they can simply open the mind map, and click to go out to the web site when we are accessing it in class. Since
MindMeister is web based any changes I make to the mind map are automatically updated which makes it an ideal learning tool. When I am in class I simply open the MindMeister map and go through my lecture with all my resources attached to the map.
In addition to linking websites, I often take advantage of MindMeister’s capability of accessing YouTube videos which I can embed right within the map. Being able to search for YouTube videos right within MindMeister is another time saving feature when designing my lectures.
Of course if it only had these aforementioned features that would be enough to get through my classes, but with the ability to attach documents and have student comment on the material it makes MindMeister and indispensable learning tool in my classroom. One of the big advantages of using MindMeister in this way, is that from year to year, I can tweak the lecture maps and quickly update them with new websites and resources and I am up and running for the next semester. If you are teaching and have to organize your lectures for students then you should really take a look at how MindMeister can help solve your problems of delivering content and resources.
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