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Mind Maps in Action: Mapping in Education with ExamTime

This 'Mind Maps in Action' post is courtesy of Andrea Leyden from the ExamTime team. ExamTime is a free elearning platform which includes a free online Mind Mapping tool designed to enhance the learning experience. Norman McBrien from ExamTime will be speaking at Biggerplate Unplugged in London this March.

David Bayne is a Religious Education teacher currently at St. Robert of Newminster RC School in Washington, Tyne & Wear. He decided to pursue a career in teaching after working as a computer programmer and technical support with the Department of Education. After his mid-life career change, David has now been teaching for 13 years.

Embracing Mind Mapping in Education

The benefits of integrating Mind Maps into your learning strategy are substantial. Mind Maps can be applied to a vast amount of learning situations; organising, planning, creativity, collaboration and comprehension.

Originally, David discovered Mind Mapping as a way to engage his students and to give them access to resources both inside and outside of the classroom. He acknowledges how online Mind Maps can easily be sculpted and dissected which is an integral part of the learning experience, “I start the Mind Map process with students, we discuss it and then they continue on their own or collaborate with others”.
The more David and his students have been using Mind Maps for learning purposes, the more they recognise how they can improve understanding and develop their learning skills. “Mind Maps help students commit ideas to memory more easily especially with the use of colour and images. Online Mind Maps are excellent for encouraging students as independent learners.” He also highlights how he uses Mind Maps to develop links between ideas and concepts to reinforce a topic with students.

A major stumbling block that students hit is motivating themselves study. Many students think of the overall picture which can be overwhelming but Mind Maps provide an easy way to digest and break down what needs to be done. “Mind Maps make topics more manageable as students can easily see what they need to learn in one place”.

To summarise, Mind Maps improve the learning process by helping you:

  • Develop the ability to link ideas and concepts
  • Commit ideas to memory more easily
  • View a topic or area of work as a cohesive whole
  • Encourage students to be independent learners
  • Allows students to work collaboratively

Mind Mapping can be used in many ways but David’s experience using ExamTime demonstrates why they are the ultimate study tool.

Using ExamTime’s Mind Map Tool

Most of David’s teaching colleagues were using PowerPoint to create Mind Maps which they shared with their students. This didn’t work for David who searched for an alternative to satisfy his needs and came across ExamTime.

ExamTime is a free online learning platform where you can create, share and discover Mind Maps online. Along with Mind Maps, you can also create Flashcards, Quizzes and Notes and access other tools for communication and collaboration.

ExamTime have developed an innovative Mind Map tool which encompasses the benefits outlined in this article. Like most tools, ExamTime allows users the freedom to edit text and nodes plus facilitate the upload of images. The addition of “Play Mode” introduces a way to bring your Mind Map to life. The great thing about this feature for learning is that you can focus on pieces of information.

Having used ExamTime with his students, David recognised the different ways Mind Maps can be used to engage students in learning. One way he did this was by creating revision sessions via webinars where he could incorporate Mind Maps he made using ExamTime. “Using ExamTime in this way generates excellent questioning and analytical skills in students as they explore links between ideas.” These resources could be shared in real-time with the class using the Groups feature.

This opens up many possibilities for using Mind Maps to teach and learn. “My use of ExamTime and webinars was absolutely central to my revision strategy for my students last year. I’m convinced it contributed greatly to our excellent results which were our best ever. I have always had extremely positive comments from students.”

Importance of Technology in Education

Technology has developed in a way that we never thought possible and it was always inevitable that this would reach the world of education. Like many teachers, David understands that technology is more than important, it’s essential. “We use technology to great effect in every area of our lives and education should be no different.” Just take a look at the amount of education blogs dedicated to using technology in the classroom!

As David acknowledges, students embrace technology as a natural part of life, so should teachers. Why do we ask students to leave their tech devices at the classroom door?

Using an online tool not only allows you to develop your Mind Map with time, it means that you have access to the information your need quickly and all in one place. In education, using a tool that fulfils these needs is an essential part of the teacher toolkit.

If you want to learn more about using Mind Maps in education, check out ExamTime. If you'd like to see Norman from ExamTime talk more about mapping in education and using mind maps for studying, why not join us for our Annual Unplugged conference in London this March!?

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Barney is Community Manager at Biggerplate and shares user stories, mind mapping tips, and other news and updates from our global member community!
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