Bev's adventures in ICT

Posts tagged ‘Mind Mapping’

Top of the World

Firstly – an apology for the recent lack of blog posts! I can safely say that it’s been a little bit busy!! Not so long ago I was in Newcastle at the Northern Grid conference; talking about ICT and inclusion. Then last week I had a whirlwind trip to London to pick up a TES Award where I got to put on a posh frock and chat to a lot of great people, including the famous Mr Thorne of ‘Mr Thorne Does Phonics‘ fame. It was a fantastic event and everybody I came across was really lovely, so I’ve got to say a big thank you to the TES team – you guys rock! Anyway, apart from the great excitement of the TES awards I had a few things that were going on just before and then just after: namely TeachMeet ThinkBig and Reflect and Share. Here’s a short report on each.

TeachMeet ThinkBig was small but perfectly formed. Due to the change of date we managed to clash with a few other things that were on but we managed to have a great time in any case. It was fairly amazing that anyone got to take part – our network crashed at 10am that morning and was still not working properly at 3pm. We managed it though and, thanks to the team at NGFL Cymru, it got streamed as well. Because we were in a fairly informal setting we managed to forget about the camera and have quite long discussions among ourselves – I’m sorry if this spoilt anyone’s viewing pleasure but there were a few newbies there and lots of questions were asked in between presentations. We had a number of virtual presentation from some great people I’ve got to know through Twitter, including this one from Mike McSharry (which had all of the attendees scribbling notes furiously), a couple from Alessio Bernardelli (including this one on using mind mapping properly) and a fantastic presentation on thinking skills in science from Claire Lotriet (there were many more great vidoes and I will add details to the wiki soon). We also had some interesting live presentations from Dave Stacey, who had some interesting ideas on how to use a text book, and Rosemary Davies, who shared a load of free web tools and talked about using Edmodo as a learning platform. I also gave a few presentations, mainly showing people a few things they may not have seen. One included a new variation of the old traffic light fans (I’ll talk about this at a later date in full) and later on I demonstrated 2Connect and explained why it’s such a great program for developing mind mapping in younger pupils or those with ALN. I also shared a few ideas that I’ve posted on here that I felt linked in with other presentations, especially ones that allowed for a bit of creativity or supported what was said in the presentations. In fact I probably talked way too much…(and that’s hardly ever the case).

Of course the Reflect and Share session, which took place on Wednesday, was quite different, This involved Year 6 pupils sharing their ideas about their learning and resources and activities they thought were worthwhile and eahc child involved made their own presentation or gave a demo to the staff who attended. We had presentation on a whole range of activities including developing problem solving skills by using Machinarium, using unusual images to inspire poetry, movement in art (inspired by work on Jackson Pollock), developing writing skills using Myst, using Wordle and other word based ideas and creating music using Incredibox and Isle of Tune (which I’ve talked about here). I don’t want to miss any presentations out here (pupils were brilliant and every presentation had something to offer) so the others were about the use of ebooks in the classroom (highlighting the books we have from Rising Stars), using Purple Mash at home and in class (everyone seems constantly amazed by how much content is available through it), using BlockCAD lego to link to DT, Prezi, Primary Pad and Primary Wall (this included live demos – staff were very impressed), our school library, how after school clubs have helped pupils improve skills, using Class Pet in class and at home (especially the maths activities), learning logs and Pivot Stick Figure. I was really proud of all of the pupils who took part (twenty one in all) but what I felt was truly fantastic was the way they had obviously taken on board things I had shown them or introduced them to and then taken it in their own direction. Hopefully it’s the sort of event that will take off in other areas – it was certainly worthwhile!

Thinking outside the box

Thinking skills are an ever growing and important part of classroom life. Mind mapping, brain storming, ideas explosion…whatever you call it it is increasingly being used in schools around the country. And there are great ideas out there, both free and internet based or bought in software packages, that help us cover this in our educational settings. I use a number of such packages and ideas in my lessons and everyone has their particular favourites. 2Connect, Dabbleboard and bubbl.us are the ones that many people generally flock to (and with good reason), but this week I’ve looked at two internet based tools to take mind mapping to a different level: Prezi and Spicy Nodes.

Prezi is something you may seen before. Some teachers use it in the classrooms (mainly as a presentation tool) and you can create shared ones on the IWB during thematic  sessions (e.g. when you’re bsgining to investigate a new topic) but the new educational options regarding licensing is going to lead to many more teachers using this with pupils in their classrooms. Recap or complete topics by creating mind maps showcasing images and information gained over a few weeks. Pupils can add video content while others can convert examples of their work (e.g. PowerPoint glossaries) and web pages they found interesting into PDF format so they could be included as well. There are lots of worthwhile ways you could use Prezi in school. From information scrapbooks on specific topics (created on the IWB and built upon from week to week) to using it as a self assessment tool to see how much pupils can remember and recall on a given topic.

Buoyed by people’s reaction to Prezi I decided to investigate Spicy Nodes: a new online tool still in the early stages of development. This was one of those great twitter finds that people flag up from time to time. Although I only looked at it briefly and had a bit of a play around with it I feel students would take to it and enjoy using it quite quickly. So much so that I’m going to try and use it more often so I can fully investigate the possibilities.