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#50 - Encourage students to create knowledge maps

  1. Students can be overwhelmed with detail, and unsure as to where to start.

  2. Use knowledge (mind, concept) maps to help them with seeing the bigger picture, making connections between topics, managing the detail.

  3. Creating new understanding by getting the students to extend and reorganise maps.

Solution overview

The act of recording and organising knowledge helps students to learn and understand. Mindmanager (available to all university members) is a sophisticated mapping tool, capable of containing very large amounts of information, organised into a usable web structure. Information is organised into nodes, sub-nodes, sub-sub-nodes etc. The detail contained in these structures may be hidden or revealed, so that the student can understand the overview and then explore the detail. You might provide an initial structure for the students to use, or let them evolve their own organisation. Reorganising a map is simple, quick and visible. Nodes may also be classified using keywords, regardless of where they are in the map. This is all searchable and filterable. Views with varying detail may be printed out to aid revision.

  1. Get Mindmanager, and tell the students how to get it for free from IT Services (see link above). It is already available in ITS workareas (from the Software Centre app).
  2. Create template maps to scaffold student activity. Sketch out the main structures, and indicate areas where the students should develop more detail. You can add keyword tags to nodes, allowing themes to run across the whole map.
  3. Distribute the map files to the students.
  4. Use the maps in class, to demonstrate the method and its value to the students.