Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Using MindGenius for teaching teachers

The University of Strathclyde has a site licence which offers access to MindGenius to all staff and students on University owned computers. Graham Murdoch is a lecturer in technical education at the University. He is responsible for teaching Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) students how to teach technical subjects in secondary schools.

Graham has been using MindGenius for many years now and finds it assists him with both short and long-term planning, keeping on top of tasks, timetabling, and taking notes for meetings.

For class, he uses MindGenius and mind mapping as part of his system of planning classroom lessons and to encourage his students to expand their knowledge. By using mind mapping or MindGenius for their planning, the students can note down all of the aspects of what needs to be covered. Instead of getting too focused or bogged down in one area, it is easy for them to ensure they have covered all of the relevant, appropriate areas. MindGenius also gives them the ability to visually link ideas and concepts to other ideas and concepts within the map, allowing them to build greater understanding on the relationship between different branches and the overall topic.

Graham often provides a mind map of a lesson that is being taught so that the class may expand on his version of the lesson mind map. The example below, the Principles of Effective Learning and Teaching, is a map that would accompany the notes students receive in their first lecture on the course. Graham has added links to areas that are connected and should be considered. The students use this map as guidance when they are on placements in schools.

Fig. 1 Principles of Effective Learning and Teaching
Please click on image for full screen view

Graham also used MindGenius recently on an in service course he ran which outlined how to use the “Scalextric for schools” challenge for the new Scottish Curriculum for Excellence system. In this map, the green branches are classroom activities that the teachers could consider and expand on, whilst the yellow branches are either connected to the competition or are administrative points.

Fig. 2 "Scalextric for Schools" map
Please click on image for full screen view

Graham said:
“MindGenius has brought clarity to my work and increased the speed at which I can prepare. It has also improved the visual aspect of my work. I encourage my students to use mind maps and MindGenius as much as possible as it is a good way to lay out thinking and allows fast and easy prioritisation of the work to be done.”

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