We began our new topic this week, it’s all about trying to make Buddy Bear into a famous film star. He’s not been successful so far, and he wants our P7 classes to help him. Much of the planning of this topic needs to come from the ideas the children have, so an obvious place to start, I thought was with a mind map.
I’ve made mindmaps before using Publisher very successfully, but our LA doesn’t seem to support Publisher in primary schools, so I wondered if there was an online web 2.0 type alternative. I posted on twitter and 10 minutes later I got a response from @atstewart suggesting mind42.com I had a look at it on Tuesday evening and had a bit of a play and it seemed really simple to use.
I liked the fact that it could easily use pictures from the internet (it has a built in google image search), as well as the fact that I found it a really simple, but smart piece of software to use. It created good quality mindmaps easily. It took away the need for rubbers, rulers that don’t have a ‘nick’ in them and felt tips that don’t work and allowed the children the chance to edit their maps as they went along, without making a mess.
When we used the program on Wednesday, the children soon worked their way around it and as ever helped each other out and found out quickly what could be done. The program autosaves work to the account it is signed in to. It allows the maps to be saved and then printed by a variety of means, including pdf. There is also a publish to web option.
You do need a sign-in to use the program, but I created a temporary one (in that I deleted the account after the lesson) and shared the username and password with the whole class. Through using their GLOW passwords the children invited their friends to collaborate on their mindmaps. As I hoped, the children are beginning to move past the ‘msn’ novelty of collaborative work and are just adding to and editting each other maps.
I thought this was a really good piece of web based software which I feel we will use regularly in class and hopefully the children will use it out of school too.
Here is a vimeo to watch explaining it all!
Mind42: Introduction from Stefan Schuster on Vimeo.