Friday, 5 February 2010

Mind Mapping anger management classes re-engage pupils

Using MindGenius has helped St Andrews High School in Coatbridge to get pupils with behavioural issues re-engaged and involved in classes.

Former Head Teacher Harry Hughes used MindGenius as the platform for anger management classes to allow pupils to discuss their feelings and explore coping strategies.

Working with the school, Mr Hughes recognised that using a visual medium would help him create a compelling foundation for getting pupils interest and attention. By logging the feedback, thoughts and concerns of pupils in a map they could see their contribution and felt compelled to interact. The students are now involved and engaged in classes.

Harry feels that “MindGenius allows students to see all the information in context, with words, pictures, links etc. They can see the value and relevance of their contributions and this helps them understand the subject more effectively. The software supports lots of different learning styles and helps every student feel like an equal.”

Fig 1: Anger Management sample map

This aspect of MindGenius seems to be what makes it particularly popular with teachers of students with learning difficulties and differences. This subject has become a hot topic of late with Henry Winkler, formerly the Fonz in the US sitcom Happy Days, launching a campaign called my Way to raise awareness of those with learning difficulties.

Did you see MindGenius at the recent BETT exhibition on the Iansyst stand?

Reducing costs and increasing efficiency with MindGenius

Irish Time-Driven Activity Based Costing consultancy, Staff Balance have been using MindGenius since the company was started 3 years ago, and believe the biggest benefits the software has brought them are reduced costs and faster turnaround times.

According to Staff Balance, a typical consulting assignment with a medium-sized customer could take 30 days, if done using standard documenting techniques, but once mind mapping is used, the process is shortened threefold, down to just 10 days. The saving of 20 days could mean a saving of €20,000, so they believe that the ROI for a MindGenius license can be as much as thousands of percent and the software pays for itself in the same week.

Staff Balance use MindGenius to map out their customer's business processes and feel it allows them to arrange all the gathered information in a way that is not possible with lists. In fact, they feel that the fast turnaround of their consulting service would not be possible at all, without using mind mapping, particularly with MindGenius.

Their clients include Bord Gais Energy Supply - all Ireland's gas and electricity supplier, Zurich Insurance, Acorn Life, KBC Bank, IIB Homeloans, Haven Mortgages and other high-profile companies.

The Staff Balance range of products and services allows customers to find out the optimum number of staff they require, frees up the sales team to work on sales, allows for focus on the most profitable customers, sales channels and products and overall helps significantly reduce costs and increase income.

All Staff Balance Business Analysts and the Management Team use MindGenius in front of customers and for optimizing their daily work.

Romualdas Maciulis, Technical Director, Staff Balance Ltd thinks:

“MindGenius lets us communicate the key points across much faster and we feel it is the best tool you can use for mind mapping, particularly when you are working with extremely large maps. MindGenius is the only tool on the market that can work with large maps without breaking, we tested them all - only this one shines under pressure.”

This is down to the MindGenius Map Explorer, which allows them to focus in on any area of the map, making it more manageable.

Romualdas also had a daily productivity tip he wanted to share:

"It is very effective to have a "master mindmap" of all your activities, projects and responsibilities. Users can leverage MindGenius linking capability to link to specific websites, portals, documents and even other mind maps. And now, with the speed improvement of MindGenius 3, and the added export functionality - I'm even more convinced that MindGenius is the best mind mapping software there is."

Find out more about Staff Balance at

Hints and Tips - Keeping on track in lively meetings

During meetings and discussions, it can be difficult to capture all of the relevant discussion, giving the facilitator a headache as they try to listen and understand the points being made, effectively and accurately capture the information, keep up with the pace of discussion, and keep the discussions on track, particularly during lively and fast moving sessions.

Use these hints and tips to make sure MindGenius helps you do this.

During a meeting or discussion, use MindGenius hooked up to a OHP, to display an agenda and allow attendees to see what information is being captured. This visual way of capturing the information allows all attendees to see what is being captured, and to challenge it if they believe it to be incorrect. It also allows helps them to stimulate new ideas. The MindGenius “Type and Return,” which I am sure everyone is familiar with, allows you to rapidly gather all of your ideas in the first instance.

Quick Keys

Constantly switching between keyboard and mouse can be distracting but MindGenius allows you to avoid doing this and to quickly navigate around your map.

The 'Home' key will take you back to the root branch, The 'End' key, takes you to the last branch, Up/Down/Left/Right arrows move focus around the map.

Quickly correct mistyped case entries

This is a common mistake – you start typing and realise that you have forgotten to switch off (or on) the caps lock, or you have switched it on by accident halfway through a word. Using Shift + F3 will allow you to change the case on branch titles. Simply press “F3” again to continue to amend the capitalisation.

If you need to amend the text that you have added to a branch title, click on the branch and select F2, instead of double clicking using the mouse. The “edit branch” dialogue will appear.

Navigate through large amounts of information

And remember the map explorer is the unique tool provided by MindGenius to navigate and make sense of the large amount of valuable data captured during these sessions.

Use the explorer to navigate through your agenda, and adapt which branch levels you display to show your attendees an overview of what you are going to discuss without overwhelming them with information. The Map Explorer allows you to focus in on relevant areas of a discussion, ensure attendees can read the map, and maintain focus. In addition, if you come up with ideas that are off on a tangent, you can capture them and “park” them to revisit later as the Map Explorer will allow you to easily locate them.

Do you have any tips you would like to share on improving meetings for both the facilitator and the attendees?

How I use MindGenius - Marketing Manager

Kelly Robertson is the Marketing Manager for MindGenius. She has worked with MindGenius and Gael Ltd for the past 5 years. Prior to this she worked in advertising and design.

Before I started working with MindGenius, I had only vaguely heard of mind mapping.

When I was at University, I did try using hand-drawn spider diagrams but found them time consuming to produce and since I am not very good at drawing, they soon became messy and difficult to read.

Now, I use MindGenius daily and struggle to get started on a project without it.

As a marketing manager, I constantly have a large number of projects and tasks to juggle. So every morning, one of the first things I do is take a look at my personal MindGenius "dashboard." This is a collection of all the projects I need to work on that week. I usually add categories to them so I can see which projects I need to tackle first.

However, I don't only use MindGenius for workload management, even though it's invaluable for this. I use MindGenius for all planning, brainstorming and research, eg our new website structure for our recent web project that culminated in the launch of MindGenius 3 last year, was mapped out in MindGenius, as was our customer journey, and content requirements. This sped up the planning process and ensured nothing was over-looked.

Producing content is a big part of my role, and I can't imagine doing it in any other way than using MindGenius. For a new content project, I will create a new map and then have an initial brainstorming of my ideas. After this initial ideas gathering phase, I organise my ideas. MindGenius allows me to do this easily via the drag and drop feature. As someone who used to use MS Word to create content, this way of working has definitely helped both my creativity and efficiency. In the past, I would have found it difficult to re-order ideas in MS Word. I usually add the additional content to the Notes field in MindGenius. Then I do a final review of the content and structure. Once I am happy with this, I export to MS Word which leaves me with a formatted Word document.

I also use MindGenius to brief my team on upcoming design and marketing projects. This allows me to give them a quick overview and then focus in on the specifics and we use MindGenius in our meetings both to display an agenda and to capture all discussion. The map below is an example of a design project briefing template which allows me to clearly communicate requirements, improving the briefing process, and helping to ensure design projects are completed more quickly and every team member understands what's required.

Fig 1: Design project briefing template

In summary, with MindGenius I can plan for any project or task quickly, keep on top of my workload and think more creatively.

Helping children to study at home with MindGenius

According to a recent Microsoft survey, school students these days are more likely to spend time on computers at home, than school, particularly when studying. Microsoft showed 37% of secondary pupils used computers for study every day at home.

At this time of year school students and their parents are thinking (and often worrying) about exams but it can be difficult to know how to best assist them with their studying.

The paper-based Mind Mapping technique has been around for thousands of years, and was popularised last century and now it has been enhanced even further by using MindGenius Mind Mapping Software.

It is used extensively within schools and universities; here are our tips on how it can be used in the home by kids at exam time:

  1. One of the biggest problems can be the breadth of information that students need to review and revise. Everyone knows the old technique of re-writing notes to try and “cram” it into their heads. A different approach to this is having kids map out their subjects, using only the keypoints from their notes. This process of summarising information into the map format is the first step towards understanding and recall. Being able to create a visual representation of a subject allows the pupil (and parent!) to ‘size’ the study task and quickly identify those areas of a topic that they understand and those areas that require more work.

  2. Once it has all been mapped out in MindGenius, pictures, colours and graphics can be added to aid and stimulate memory recall. This can also be done via a hand-drawn mind mapping technique but when a map has been created using MindGenius, kids can edit or re-arrange their map at any time, for example if they realise they have more information to add, or they make a mistake, they don’t have to recreate the map again from scratch.

  3. Having the whole topic mapped in one place and having the ability to easily navigate through the topic, focusing in and out on particular sections as required is for more efficient than summarising a topic in paper based notes. Categories can be used to mark and indicate your understanding and confidence level on each section, allowing you to identify and concentrate on those areas requiring the most work.

  4. MindGenius can then be used to test their knowledge and recall ability. One way to do this is to focus in on an area using Map Explorer, and alter the branch levels so only the key topic is in view.Once a branch has secondary level branches appearing, a plus or minus sign appears next to it. A plus sign appears when branches are hidden, and a minus when the branch is open to full capacity. They should then test their own knowledge around this topic. This method is a fast and easy way to reinforce learning.

Fig 1: Section of a Biology mind map before colour and graphics have been added

Fig 2: Revision Notes for an English literature topic

If you do not have MindGenius Education at home, we are offering the opportunity to purchase a copy of our Academic version for just £40,* that’s a 40% discount on the usual list price. This offer is valid until the 28th February. Simply enter the code, MGSTUD at the online checkout.

MindGenius Education was created by and with those in the Education field and contains education specific resources. Purchase MindGenius Education.

*$63.86/€46.32. All prices exclusive of VAT where applicable.