Archive for the ‘How to’ Category

5
September

Back 2 School Essentials – Collaboration


The world today relies more and more on people collaborating to solve various kinds of problems. In this context, across all grades and subjects, school culture should focus on modelling teachers’ and students’ collaborative problem-solving.

Collaborative planning for teachers

    Teachers collaborating on projects across subjects could be a good strategy to make learning relevant and engaging. Among the benefits:
    – leveraging resources, ideas, and learning opportunities
    – students make connections between subjects
    – teachers show they are aware of the importance of other classes
    – teachers are on the same page in terms of not assigning too much homework on any given night or scheduling tests on the same day

    Step 1. Find a collaboration partner

    Step 2. Get resources – if there aren’t internal grants available at your school, search for external grants and resources that meet the needs of your collaborative project.

    Step 3. Set up and develop the curriculum with your grade-level team

    Step 4. Use informal spaces for collaboration.

    Building student collaboration

      Kids need to learn to collaborate and appreciate what others are saying. They also need to learn how to push back if need be, be reflective about their own understanding and build approaches with other people.

      Step 1. Create a group-work problem – this should relate to a goal that’s difficult to accomplish alone, thus the reason for a group assignment. You can think of an element of discovery and curiosity, or try something that connects to a piece of literature.

       

      Step 2. Be flexible in forming groups – let students choose with whom they want to work with and just advise them on the strategy.

      Step 3. Establish student roles – for literature assignments you can assign several roles like the researcher, the facilitator, or the wordsmith role. You can also have the interpreter, the critic, the summarizer, the checker, the artist or the vocabulary helper roles. All in all, each student should have his own area of expertise so that the end result is rigorous and complete.

      Step 4. Individual and collective assessment – though the final result might be good, some students might not have contributed sufficiently. Or vice versa. You need to know exactly who did what in order to properly assess each group’s activity. Try to provide specific, timely feedback and to make it available to the entire group.

      Step5. Build comfort around speaking in front of the classroom – students need to practice public speaking, so set up a classroom debate. Give each group the possibility to explain their thinking process while completing the assignment, and to answer their colleagues’ questions.

      Collaborative teaching challenges teachers to provide diverse learning environments for their students. Collaborative learning means students will be working together to construct knowledge that did not exist before their collaboration. We’d love to hear if you have any plans or ideas on how to use the power of collaboration in your classes. Plus, if you need some tips on how Mindomo can help, we’re here to assist you.



      Keep it smart, simple and creative!
      The Mindomo Team

6
July

Concept mapping as an aid for ADD

ADD is a condition associated with learning and concentration difficulties. People suffering from ADD, usually children and teenagers, find it hard to focus on a task as their brains jump from one topic to another, restlessly.  This is why those suffering from this condition require special learning and teaching methods.

The mind mapping and concept mapping method is a simple way to capture our thoughts by visualization, without necessarily organizing or prioritizing them. This is very similar to how our minds work. In other words, mind maps could be perfect for those suffering from ADD as they encourage the mind to roam freely on a desired subject without boxing itself into constricting and tedious topics.

ADD is a very real and common disorder that affects 11% of schoolchildren and has risen 42% in the last 10 years. Still,  by taking the following steps, anyone suffering from ADD can learn something new the easy way:

Step 1. Identify major themes

One has to think of what is the most important piece of information, then put in the center of a mind map. As soon as one discovers other themes, he should place them around the center theme, leaving some space for detailed description and other information.

Step 2. Add some details

Depending on the structure of the information, one might have to use a different approach in collecting and segregating notes. If the information is already well organized and presented in a structured manner, it’s relatively easy to keep notes on particular subjects together. If the information is more disorganized (the lecturer conveys it this way or it comes from different sources), one might have to make quick notes and organize them later, perhaps by connecting them with lines or grouping them by subjects. Using keywords in large print with lots of space around is suggested.

Step 3. Find relationships

After collecting the notes, one has to sort them out and use colors to mark related topics. Also, connecting information to relevant subtopics using colored lines or arrows is advised.



Step 4. Re-sketching final map

In order to put all information into meaning, some items will have to be moved around. Consider introducing borders to make the whole image easier to read and to minimize confusion. Any technique that helps with data recollection should be used (funny representations, cartoon figures, videos etc.). Additional facts could be added at this point if one can recall them or after some relevant research on the topic.

It’s a proven fact that images are easier to recall than text, so we challenge people with ADD to give concept mapping a try. It will help them turn long lectures or voluminous information into something meaningful, easier to recall and explain to others.


Keep it smart, simple and creative!
The Mindomo Team

 

13
June

3-Step, Visual Approach To Solve Any Problem

You know you are facing a problem when you find yourself in a condition which is different than the desired one. If the problem is simple, then the solution is usually quite obvious. But when you’re facing a more complex issue, the card up your sleeve is to get in a problem-solving state of mind.

There is a saying that in order to understand a problem profoundly, you need to see the bigger picture. If this doesn’t come naturally at first, mind mapping will help you. Mind maps let you create visual databases, so you can see everything in one page – the root of your problem, its causes, on-the-spot ideas on how you can fix it, etc.

Let’s take an example: you have a travel agency that’s going through an image crisis. A quick and efficient way to do a problem diagnosis would be to create a mind map around these simple questions:

1 What is the real problem?

The first step is to clearly state the issue you are facing and identify what is real or true about it, as factually as it can be determined.

2 What is going on?  Why did this problem occur?

 This is the point where you start collecting and analyzing all the information you have about the problem. You need to determine if your problem is being influenced by your organization (structure) or a function (process). Also, you need to know exactly who are the people affected by the issue.

3 How to avoid the problem? How to ameliorate it? What actions will solve the problem?

This step is about solution planning. You have to evaluate the whole situation, point out all your alternatives, select the ones you’ll be implementing and prioritize them. Don’t forget to think of how you will determine if your actions made a difference or not.

Problems occur all the time, and no matter how small or big, the most important thing is for you to come up with imaginative and rather stress-free solutions. That’s  why problem solving is so looked for by universities and employers. If you want to develop or boost this important skill, mind mapping is always a good idea.

Keep it smart, simple and creative!
The Mindomo Team

20
May

Combine Concept Mapping and Task Mapping for The Ultimate Business Travel Plan

For a lot of us, going on a business trip is “double trouble”, partly because preparing for this is unlike preparing for a family trip and partly because you need to get in shape for business meetings and presentations. In both cases, being well-prepared is the key, and it will give you that sense of confidence of having things under control. And how to get organized the right way, you might ask? We’ll, there are two things you should definitely consider if you want a solid business travel plan.

Plan everything with time management in mind. This will make you focus on your trip’s priorities. Use concept maps for individual or even team brainstormings to put together all business-related to-dos.
 Start from the core – your business trip, and enumerate all the main points that you need to cover before and during the trip. As the goal is to keep the map as easy to follow as it can be, you can split the main points into different branches, giving different colours to personal and work-related stuff.  Add details in subtopics, like packing clothes, tickets, passport, and money. You can also connect related topics and label the connections to make everything more straightforward.
In the end, you’ll have all information, schedules and to-dos on the same page, yet clearly organized. It’s as quick and efficient as that.

Find a simple way to keep track of all your to-dos, up to the smallest detail. For example, our task maps let you create structured to-do lists, that you can share with your colleagues/employees/personal assistant. Each task from the list is assignable, and setting a deadline for it will help you monitor the progress. You can also give detailed instructions per each task in the comments section.  This way you and your team will know, at any given point, the status of your preparations, what’s left to be done, who needs to do it, and if you have to speed things up.

Planning with the aid of  concept maps or task maps is very simple, and it helps you keep everything in one place in an organized fashion: from objectives and  due dates, to schedules and locations. So, if you aim for stress-free, yet accurate business travel planning, Mindomo is a real helper.

 

Keep it smart, simple and creative!
The Mindomo Team

 

26
April

Build A Product Presentation With Concept Mapping

 

Let’s say you need to do a product presentation, the first thing you do is a sketch, right? So, why not use concept maps from the beginning? This way you will get a visual display of the whole story in one single page.
First step: identifying the main idea. This will be the title of your ‘message map’, so keep it short if possible. Our example is a strong line to point out the product’s good quality/price report.

Second step: find a few main ideas that branch out of your central idea, same as you would do with a statement when you need to support it with arguments. At this point you’ll give a frame to your presentation and, in the same time, you’ll give more details about the product. From our example you can see that Edifice is a sophisticated, first-class watch, using an advanced technology.

Third, to every main section you should  link concrete examples, data, graphics. We briefly explained what makes Edifice’s  design so special, its quality so reliable and its technology so outstanding. That’s how you’ll manage to communicate the benefits of your product in a way that’s simple, clear, and  concise:

If you have any other ideas on how your marketing strategy can benefit from the use of concept mapping, feel free to share them with us in the comments section below.

Keep it smart, simple and creative!
The Mindomo Team