Thursday, August 6, 2009

Speaking from Mind Maps

Today I did a marathon presentation for 25 librarians: five hours on information literacy, best teaching practices, and emerging technologies for teaching. Five hours is a long time to speak, but I have my mind map to thank for organizing all of this information and keeping me on task while speaking. I had one main hand-drawn mind map to refer to during the workshop, and this launched me to two older mind maps and my site for certain sections.

No, I didn't project a mind map for the participants since there was just too much information and too many visuals to show. The mind maps were for my purposes only. But, I did show them the mind map I was using and I made my mind map business cards with this address and my Twitter name on them available. My Delicious site also has many mind map links on it (including this blog), so I am hoping I at least created some curiosity about the effectiveness of mind maps.

If anyone from today's session is reading this, please comment! I'd love to know what you think.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Twittering for Mind Maps

I am delighted with the amount of mind map information I have gathered with Twitter! As an experiment, I set up a second Twitter account dedicated to mind mapping as part of my upcoming sabbatical project. I intended this to be a way to share interesting sites, software, and uses for mind maps, but I am learning much more than I'm contributing so far. After I did a search for mind maps and mind mappers on Twitter, I was rewarded with a host of Twittering mind map experts from around the world. It seems that mind mappers also tend to be Twitterers and bloggers! Now in addition to my project journal, I have begun a binder of Other People's Mind Maps that I find especially useful and aesthetically pleasing, and I've added to my mind map links on (Don't worry, mind map creators, the Librarian's Code of Honor etched on my brain requires me to give credit to any work that is not my own in any of the products I create from this project.) My mind map sabbatical project does not actually begin until January 2010, so this is all advance work until then. For preliminary stuff, it is very exciting.

Therefore, this post has three purposes:
  1. to invite any interested mind mappers out there to follow my mind mapping Twitter self at and peek at those that I follow, and,
  2. to urge researchers to use Twitter as a research tool in order to find interesting and current perspectives on their topics, and,
  3. to prove that mind maps are a practical tool for writers, speakers, teachers, and anyone who needs to organize information, brainstorm, or improve memory.

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More on Mind Mapping Software

My good buddy and sole-blog-Follower, Tony, (also a crackerjack librarian and technology guru) sent me this post all about Mind Mapping software. My favorite is not on the list, but I'm intrigued especially by the free ones. (I love the Mind Map topics, too!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rhode Island School of Design

They may call them Concept Maps, but Rhode Island School of Design is requiring students to learn how to map their ideas. Librarian Ellen Petraits created a tutorial showing students how to organize their research ideas before plunging into databases and catalogs. Check out this great tutorial here:

Monday, March 16, 2009


It's a long way from Philadelphia to Reno, and there are no direct flights. We got to see Las Vegas's airport and an aerial view of the Strip and Lake Mead on the way here. "Here" is the Innovations 2009 conference at the Grand Sierra Resort. The place is huge with a large casino (more poker than in Atlantic City), restaurants, stores, bowling, a movie theater, a live entertainment theater, and...a wedding chapel. Those white sticks in the photo are the frame for a big slingshot swing, but Bill won't volunteer to go for a ride so that I can get a better picture. But I digress.

I'm here for the conference, to learn about the newest stuff and newest ideas in education. This is an especially relevant conference because it is aimed at a community college audience. After only one day I've written down pages and notes to put into practice when I get back to the east coast. I attended presentations on clickers (classroom response devices) and You Tube among others.

In the exhibition hall (and this is my point), I visited the MatchWare booth and talked to Dave Hamilton about my upcoming sabbatical project. This is the software I use for making Mind Maps on the computer, and there's a spiffy new update out which I will have to procure. The new name is MindView 3, so I will have to update all my presentation handouts. MatchWare also now has desktop recording software that will put my Mind Map making into a movie so that I can insert that footage into next year's humdinger of a tutorial next. These two products are designed to work together, and the ScreenCorder 5 is much more streamlined than Captivate and Camtasia. I can use it for other desktop recording, so it will be a great addition to my current gear.

Don't ask about the weather--we haven't been outside since we arrived at the hotel. We seem to be surrounded by mountains and highways. I know there's a downtown out there somewhere, but we may just be too busy being inspired to check it out. These photos are from my window.

Friday, March 13, 2009


I am back to the routine today after spending two days in Philadelphia (Temple University!!) learning how to use "clickers" (okay, classroom response systems) in teaching. I had experimented with these briefly, but when contemplating how to use them I had only imagined the tip of the iceberg. Yesterday's Turning Technologies conference breakout sessions gave me new ideas on what kinds of questions to ask students, how to use clickers in presentations, and other innovative ways to incorporate clickers to engage listeners and encourage discussion. I think our new set of library clickers will be a popular teaching tool. I transcribed my notes from the various presentations onto cards today so that I'll be able to make a coherent presentation to the librarians. Of course the cards will transform into a Mind Map for presentation! We're even going to have one of the presenters from yesterday visit our group to speak as a knowledgeable user with hopes that his enthusiasm will infect our librarians.

Why is this post in my Mind Mapping blog? Because occasionally I do presentations on Mind Mapping, of course, and clickers would work in that setting, too. In the future, we may be using mobile devices as clickers in online presentations, and this would be a great technology for collecting demographics on users, tutorial usability, along with content assessment information. (This online clicking technology exists and other institutions are using it already. Give us time.)

One of the best parts of this conference was that I won FOUR prizes! The sessions I attended used giveaways as tools for engagement. It's too late for me to incorporate this into Monday's Embedded Ebrarian presentation, but in the future... I'd like to also point out that I snatched my new red Frisbee out of the air with my left (non-dominant) hand. I also have a new red squishy ball, a mug from Fairleigh Dickinson's Education Department, and a bright yellow Turning Technologies T-Shirt that says, "Push my buttons!" And we had live harp music at lunch in Mitten Hall.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

An Actual Mind Map Sample

In case you're wondering what the heck a Mind Map is, I've posted a sample at the bottom of this page. Yes, it is teeny, and yes, it is only a picture of a Mind Map so any functionality (links, hidden images, etc.) do not work. Better samples will be posted in the future. But the picture will give an idea about how dynamic a tool Mind Maps are for brainstorming and finding relationships between subtopics. On the right side of this particular sample, I have listed the components of my grand sabbatical project, each with their own branch and sub-branches. On the right I started to imagine what benefits this will have for the college community. I'm sure the left side will fill out once I start working in earnest and there will be surprises as well as examples of benefits for folks outside the college community.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In anticipation of my long-dreamt-about sabbatical on the many uses for Mind Mapping in education, I am now presenting the offical Margaret MindMapping Blog. Please share with me your ideas about the uses of Mind Mapping whether you think your ideas are innovative or not! I'd also like to hear about unexpected places where you have seen Mind Maps used. So far, besides in classes and in students' homework assignments, I've seen them used on the show "Without a Trace" where police brainstorm to figure out what has happened to missing people, and on a Sylvan Learning Center commercial where one is used to show a young student how to organize her thoughts about a favorite topic.

I'll be sharing my own ideas, discoveries, adventures, and Mind Maps in the months leading up to the long-dreamt-about sabbatical (beginning in January 2010), and once my sabbatical starts I will post with greater frequency.

Please comment if you are interested in Mind Mapping!