Tuesday, 15 June 2010

West Kent College - Customer Spotlight 2

In last month’s edition of the More MindGenius newsletter, we looked at how the Dyslexia Department at West Kent College are using MindGenius as part of its site licence. This month we are looking at the Art and Media Department, and their Curriculum Leader Sarah Rogers.

MindGenius is used in many different ways in the department, both by educators and learners, for improving note taking, collaborative learning, studying and presentations.

In a traditional classroom setting, prior to MindGenius being installed, there would be a board and marker pens and students would take their own notes. Many of the students required help with the note taking process, and traditionally their notes would be very informal and often taken down on scraps of paper.

Since the introduction of MindGenius they now work differently. Sarah uses MindGenius with her classes to facilitate collaborative learning sessions. She does this by passing around a wireless keyboard and getting class members to type their contribution, and add it to the map that is shown on a whiteboard or a screen at the front of the class.

MindGenius helps Sarah, and other tutors, bring groups of students together and creates a useful visual focus for the class. At the end of the activity, all ideas have come from class members, with the teacher not having to contribute which helps to encourage peer to peer learning. This is then distributed to the students either as a map or a printed hand-out which gives all students a clear record of what’s gone on in class and each class member has access to good, relevant information on the topic they are discussing.

This activity aids inclusion and every class member wants their copy of the map as they can see the benefit of using the map to prepare pieces of work such as essays. In fact, Sarah also works with her classes as a group, in a similar way to prepare essay frameworks. This is then exported to MS Word and emailed to students to use as their framework. The hand-outs are also ideal for homework.

For project work, the classes start working in groups, without involvement from a tutor, and using the same process for gathering the information leads to a “snowball” effect where ideas quickly gain momentum and classes come up with far more ideas than they would have working in a traditional manner.

For the students, MindGenius is a great information source as well as a good information carrier, ie what's been done in class can be sent by email to students, particularly those who may have missed the class.

Sarah believes the presentation in map format is a much clearer way to work and helps build understanding, as well as this MindGenius is very visual and is not too technical for students to use. Some examples of topics they have worked on recently include comparison maps on independent films and mainstream films as well as research on copyright laws and the film noir movie “Women in the Big Heat” was analysed by the class in map format, in particular focusing in on the characters. They then had to present back on the film so the map was then exported to PowerPoint. MindGenius is used extensively by students for presentations, particularly by Key Skills Levels 2 and 3.

As an end of term special, MindGenius are offering 20% off the price of a site licence for schools, colleges and universities. Simply contact us at info@mindgenius.com for further information. This offer is valid until 31st July 2010.

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