Wednesday, August 31, 2011
As the kids head back to school, no doubt with a host of important new stationary and books, one highly important thing that may be missing from their rucksack is a tool that could help them to reach new levels of achievement in the coming year: Mind Mapping!
If you are a member of Biggerplate, you have probably already experienced the positive impact that mapping can have on your own planning, organisation, creativity, learning, and more. But when was the last time you took the time to explain to someone what mind mapping is or how it might be relevant and useful to them?
In the business world, you may have had lots of these conversations, and perhaps (more often than not) felt like you were banging your head against a brick wall! But have you ever introduced a child to mind mapping? While people in the corporate world tend to resist new approaches like the plague, children tend to absorb and embrace them extremely easily provided the benefit to them is made very clear very quickly. Whenever I'm introducing mapping to children, I make the benefits very clear: "Mind Mapping will help you understand things more easily and remember them more clearly". Why make it any more complex than that? Show them a colourful mind map about a subject they can relate to (perhaps something they are covering at school) and you will most likely have captured sufficient interest to enable further exploration and explanation...
It is important to outline the key principles of mind mapping to some degree, as this can help provide basic parameters for early attempts, which can be a big help for some children. In essence; encourage them to stick to just one or two key words per line, as this will trigger more generative and expansive thinking than simply writing out long sentences. Encourage the use of colour and images, and try to explain the importance of using symbols or icons to create codes for themselves on the page (for things like "this is important"). Other than than, encourage them to get as much on the page/screen as possible! To learn about the 'mind map laws' try this mind map from Biggerplate.
Personally, I think iMindMap from ThinkBuzan is the most accessible program for children, and the level of colour and 'hand drawn' style makes it more visually engaging for them in my experience. Plus there is a free version! You can download a trial from the ThinkBuzan website by clicking here
I would like to invite and encourage all members of Biggerplate to make it their own objective for the school term to show their son/daughter/niece/nephew etc how to use mind mapping. They may not realise it yet, but (if successful) you will have given them the ultimate tool to tackle all manner of challenges in their school careers and beyond!
If you are successful in getting a child mapping, why not encourage them to upload their work to Biggerplate for others to see? Alessio Bernardelli has shared some great examples of maps he has created with his young boys, and you can see and admire their handiwork here: Alessio's Profile.
Plus, there are a huge number of maps available in the 'Education Section' of the Biggerplate library, covering a huge range of subjects for students of all ages!
Go now, spread the good word to the young people of this world! You can then sit back safe in the knowledge that you have also helped the mind map users of the future to have the brick wall conversation with one less person!