Mind Mapping Improves Learning

how to mindmap

What is Mind Mapping?

Mind Mapping lets you visually organize information using spatial organization and a hierarchical structure of main branches and sub-branches, which is a useful strategy for constructing knowledge. It helps people make sense of what they’re learning by building connections between concepts and ideas. Integrating multimedia strengthens the learning.

Benefits of Mind Mapping

benefits of mindmapping

  • Helps students organize ideas and understand concepts better
  • Non-sequential way of organizing information works better than linear methods for some students
  • Shows the whole as well as the parts
  • Can be an assistive tool for people who are visually minded
  • Benefits found by the Institute for the Advancement of Research in Education study, 2003
    • Improves reading comprehension
    • Enhances critical thinking and learning skills
    • Supports cognitive learning theory
    • Increases retention

Uses of Mind Mapping

  • Brainstorm
  • Visualise concepts
  • Improve critical thinking
  • Outline written documents
  • Storyboard presentations
  • Review notes

Rules for Mind Mapping in the Buzan Method

  • One word per branch
  • Length of the word is the length of the branch
  • Use colours and images where possible
  • Be clear in your printing and organization

How to Mind Map

How to Mind Map with Tony Buzan – Use this as a basis to create a list for your students, or co-create the list with your students by looking at an example of a mind map

Examples

Resources

Free Technology Tools

  • Lucidchart (web, iOS, Android, Chrome, free premium version for educators and students, K+ with a GApp account)
  • MeisterTask (webChrome, free unlimited maps, great for G4+ if using GApps)
  • Mindomo (web, iOS, Android, Chrome, up to 3 free maps, great for MS+)
  • Kidspiration (iOS free for 5 maps, great for K+)
  • Popplet (iOS allows one map, great for K+)
  • 7 Steps to Making a Mind Map

Visit the Tony Buzan website for 7 Steps to Making a Mind Map. You may want to use the list as inspiration to create your own steps for your classroom.

 

This was part of a longer workshop that I presented to some teachers in Prague on Dec. 4, 2017.

Modelling is a Powerful Coaching Practice

coaching for iPad use

Modelling is a powerful coaching practice because a demonstration builds a picture that is richer than words alone.  If you have a coaching methodology, you may think that modelling has to be formal, planned in consultation with a teacher, and evaluated/debriefed to pull out the learning points. That is one approach to modelling, as part of a formal coaching process, but it’s not the only way.

Opportunities for Modelling

I’ve noticed that there are many opportunities for modelling when working with teachers. If a teacher asks you to lead a lesson, demonstrate a tool, or co-teach a lesson, you have an opportunity for modelling, and you can find ways for both you and the teacher to learn from the collaboration. Depending on the context, here are 3 activities that you can engage the teacher in:

  • while students explore an app/approach for the first time, brainstorm a list of uses of the app with the teacher
  • get feedback from the teacher about what worked well and what needs improvement from your lesson/demonstration (this only needs to take 5 minutes)
  • discuss the affordances/limitations of the approach or tool that you used (possibly while students are working individually or in groups)

Benefits of Modelling

I think it’s beneficial for students to see their teachers discussing teaching and learning. We want them to engage in this same kind of practice, so that they personalize their own learning. Any collaboration between teachers has the potential to help each teacher improve, and models collaboration and decision-making for students.

I integrated the 3 teacher engagement activities into my work with teachers, to support their technology integration. I noticed that teachers gained confidence in using digital devices independently in the classroom, and started taking more risks with trying new ways of integrating technology. This showed me that modelling has a place in everyday teaching and learning, and it’s important to discuss the demonstration because it enhances teachers’ creativity and confidence.

How do you incorporate modelling as part of your teaching/coaching practice? I’d love to hear your stories.

Save all Your Photos in One Place

As a teacher, you probably take lots of photos of your students in the classroom. You may even have students or assistants act as photographers. It’s useful to save all those photos in one place. This lets you access the photos from any device, makes it easy for you to share photos and albums with everyone including parents, and protects your images from loss if a device breaks or becomes inaccessible. If your device is running out of space, you may also want to save your photos and videos in Google Photos so that you can delete them from your device and free up space. This is especially important if your school uses devices that only have 16 GB of space.

If your school uses G Suite, Google Photos is a good option, as it is included as an app in your G Suite account. Google Photos works on whatever devices your school may be using. To use Google Photos, you need a Google account. Then install Google Photos on your Android or iOS device, or on your Mac or Windows machine, or access Google Photos on the web. Once you have the app installed, you can setup Backup and Sync for Google Photos on your device.

Note that if you set the quality of your photos to high in Google Photos, your uploads do not count towards your available storage limits. This means that you can save an unlimited number of high quality images (up to 16 mega-pixel) and videos (up to 1080p), which is high enough quality for people who mostly access multimedia in digital formats.

What’s New in Google Classroom – August 2017

August 2017 Google Classroom Updates

help in Google ClassroomGoogle Classroom is Google’s learning management system, which was introduced in 2014. Throughout each school year, and over the summer, Google releases new features and updates to Classroom. If you have a suggestion of a feature for Google Classroom, click on Send Update inside Classroom to share you idea.

Google made a number of changes to Classroom over the summer holidays. There are two features that were on my wish list: the ability to display the class code full screen, and new page views where a student or teacher could see all the student’s work for a class, and the status of the work. Other updates include the ability to reorder classes on the home page, to grade quizzes question by question, assign decimal grades for assignments, use the Google bar to quickly switch to other G Suite products, and transfer ownership of a class to another teacher. Google Classroom now integrates with QuizizzEdcite, and Kami. You can get more details about the updates in the blog post from Google.

If you’re new to Google Classroom, or want to improve your use of Google Classroom, check out the Training Center. This hub contains video tutorials, tips and tricks from teachers, guides that you can download, and access links for webinars. If you have other questions (or tips to share), you can also take part in the Help Forum. For more tips, follow the #FirstDayofClassroom hashtag on Twitter.

Teach Digital Citizenship from the Start of the School Year

Phone in the Hands of a Bully

Phone in the Hands of a Bully, License: CC BY-SA 4.0

Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship refers to the appropriate behaviors for positive engagement with digital tools and in digital spaces. We can view digital citizenship as an extension of citizenship in the physical world, where we have rights, duties, and obligations depending on our national affiliations. In schools, much of the hidden curriculum is concerned with student behavior as well as interaction between individuals and groups of people. Teachers help students develop team building skills, cooperation, kindness, sharing and other such attributes within the course of classroom and extracurricular activities. These skills are even more important online, where it’s easier to be mean and misunderstandings occur more often without the nuances of speech and body language.

Mark Ribble, in his book Digital Citizenship in Schools, identifies 9 elements of digital citizenship. The elements are Digital Etiquette, Digital Communication, Digital Law, Digital Literacy, Digital Access, Digital Rights and Responsibilities, Digital Health and Wellness, Digital Commerce, and Digital Security.

Teaching Digital Citizenship

Experiences in the physical and virtual worlds work in tandem to create ways of thinking and being. Children have some experiences online before doing so in the physical world. They may also experiment and explore their identity online. Adults can help children unify their online and offline worlds, and help facilitate constructive and positive experiences through intentional conversations and guidance in both spaces. As children experience new situations and problems, and engage in steps to resolve them, they build resilience.

Students develop digital citizenship skills by engaging in online spaces, with appropriate support and guidance. Digital citizenship lessons are best taught within the context of technology use. Just as we can’t teach a child to ride a bike through pen and paper exercises, we can’t teach digital citizenship skills in that way. What we teach about digital citizenship and how we teach it should depend on the age of the child. In every class and subject, it is up to the teacher to highlight any relevant digital citizenship skill that students are using during the course of a lesson. The following essential questions for use with students, derived from Mark Ribble’s work, may help you develop lessons and activities for your classroom:

  • What are my rights and responsibilities in a digital society? (Digital Rights and Responsibilities)
  • How does my use of technology affect other people? (Digital Etiquette)
  • Am I using technology responsibly and appropriately? (Digital Law)
  • Do I communicate appropriately with others when using digital tools? (Digital Communication)
  • What technology can I use to improve my learning? How does technology help me learn? (Digital Literacy)
  • Does everyone have access to the appropriate technology tools when he/she needs them for learning, work, and for local and global collaboration? (Digital Access)
  • How can I protect myself and my equipment from being harmed by my online activities? (Digital Security)
  • What are the physical and psychological dangers of digital technology use? (Digital Health and Wellness)

Start the year with clear agreements with students about their use of technology at school and in the classroom. If your school has a technology use policy, discuss it with students and help them understand its contents and how it applies to their classes. Develop classroom rules that clarify and build upon existing school rules about technology use. Make sure that classroom rules address software installations, changes to computer configuration, and uses of technology devices. During orientation at the beginning of the school year, students in one grade 4 classroom made class agreements on taking photos and videos in the classroom and downloads and purchases on classroom iPads, learned about password strength, and made a list of trusted adults beside their parents/guardians to go for help in the physical world if they have a problem in the virtual world.

Throughout the year, reinforce the agreements, concepts and skills from the start of the year. As you plan your lessons and units, select the essential question relevant to the content area, and to the use of technology by students. Use this essential question to include relevant tasks and conversations in your lessons. Also model digital citizenship skills in your own teaching. Finally, include descriptions of digital citizenship skills that students are learning in your regular communication home.

Teaching digital citizenship in Elementary School

Throughout elementary school, teachers should share reliable, relevant websites with children. One way to do that is through a bulletin board of QR codes that students can quickly use to access websites. Other tools for sharing include social bookmarking tools like Diigo, Google Classroom or other learning management systems, and tools like Chirp. It’s important to emphasize which tools and websites students may use, the process for selecting a new website or tool, and how to identify unsafe situations online.

In lower elementary school, most of the tools used by students at school will be found and shared by the teacher. The major focus of digital citizenship for students should be on finding and using safe, appropriate sites, and on what to do if they find themselves in a new or scary place.  Common Sense Media has a lesson using the analogy of traffic lights for K-2 students where green light sites are those that are appropriate for the child. If you’re an elementary school teacher, you may want to make a poster or bulletin board of green light sites for the classroom. You can involve students in evaluating the sites, and in posting them. You may connect this idea to a QR code bulletin board, for students to quickly access green light sites.

In upper elementary school, students will begin to find more of their own websites to use. They start to make accounts independently and need to learn about strong passwords, and protecting their accounts. It’s important for teachers to help children develop independence in selecting appropriate resources for use in their learning. My favorite lesson for helping children in Grades 3 – 5 recognize the opportunity and responsibility of digital citizenship is Rings of Responsibility from Common Sense Media.This lesson can be done each year, customized to the grade level of the children. It’s also a good idea to send related material home, with ideas for connections at home.

Even though students in Grades 3 – 5 do not meet the requirement for many online sites and tools, many of them have these accounts, with or without their parents’ permission. Discussions of cyberbullying, online civility, and privacy are especially important as children engage more in virtual spaces. As a teacher, you can facilitate conversations with students about their choices and habits when using digital tools. It’s important in this lesson to be a listener, and facilitator, and to guide students’ choices without being bossy.

Teaching Digital Citizenship in Middle and High School

Students in middle and high school generally have much more independence in using their digital devices. They engage in social media and in social networks. It’s important to teach about cyberbullying, time management, and mental and physical health, as topics connect to the digital lives of teens. Common Sense Media has a variety of kits and lessons to help you. Since many students have their own devices at home, issues of Digital Commerce and Digital Security are relevant to them. They should learn about these topics as part of core courses of technology, maths, and other relevant subject areas. Alternatively, some schools organize a digital citizenship bootcamp for students during the first days of school.

Favorite Resources for Teaching Digital Citizenship

I have used many different websites for teaching digital citizenship, but in the past few years, I’ve focused on the following 3 resources:

I’ve recently learned about one more tool, which sounds exciting, the Digital Intelligence Quotient (DQ). The DQ includes 8 digital skills: digital citizen identity, screen time management, cyber bullying management, cyber security management, digital empathy, digital footprints, critical thinking and privacy management. DQ World is an online game with free access for kids ages 9 to 12 to develop their digital citizenship skills. You can create a school/classroom account to use the site in your classroom. If you try it out, please leave me a comment.

Another resource – Tech Time Digital Citizenship wiki based on Mark Ribble’s book