Tag Archives: MindMeister

Teaching Students to Use Technology to stay Organized & Study – a Case Study

This past weekend my school, Trinity Valley, gave me the opportunity to teach a one day Saturday enrichment course for students that focused on using technology to help them stay organized, manage their materials, and take their work on the go. The course was entirely voluntary and students could attend portions of the day. I organized it into three sections:

9-11 Organization

11-1 Study Skills & Tools

1-3 Mobile Tools, taking it on the go!

I was pleasantly surprised about the interest. I had 19 students sign up for the class and ultimately 16 attended. Additionally, there was a sports conflict. I had numerous students message me asking for a second offering as they could not attend. Interest was high (especially as there was no extra credit or mandatory attendance).

I built a Google Site (that you can see here) for the course, telling students the programs that I would be using and requesting that they sign up for accounts and download applications in advance.

Many of the programs had some overlap for organization and study. Largely, I wanted students to get familiar with a variety of powerful tools and then choose one or two that they could then focus on and, hopefully, implement in their own studies and daily life.

Applications I Highlighted

install_graphic-vflx6Z89XDropBox –  It is an excellent cloud storage program that you can use to sync content across devices and platforms. If you would like more information on DropBox, see:

Evernote – Evernote is a program that will allow you to ‘remember everything,’ – you can input notes by hand, pictures, voice notes, to do lists, clips from websites, and more. Evernote syncs logoacross platforms and devices. For more information on Evernote, see:

imagesGoogle Calendar – A free calendar resources that allows you to sync across platforms, collaborative calendar, set reminders (that will even pop up on your cell phones), and more. For help on how to get started on Google Calendar, see:

unnamedGoogle Drive – Incorporating Google Docs as well as 5GB of free Cloud storage, create and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and more. To learn more about using Google Drive, see:

MindMeister – MindMeister is a collaborative, online mind mapping tool that has recently been merged with Google Drive! It is one of my favorite classroom tools. To learn more about MindMeister, see:

In addition to these specific tools, I discussed other mobile options for students to use on their Smart Phones or Tablets such as Electronic Student Planners and Smart Phone Document Scanners as well as Flash Card makers. All of these tools can help to further empower your Smart Phone as a truly comprehensive and malleable computing device.

The Scavenger Hunt

To help students learn about each of these programs, I devised an interactive scavenger hunt. The winner of which would get a prize (iTunes card, Evernote Premium Subscription, etc). If you are interested in looking at those further, I will post them below.

DropBox Scavenger Hunt

Evernote Scavenger Hunt

Calendar Scavenger Hunt

Google Drive Scavenger Hunt

MindMeister Scavenger Hunt

What I Will Change Going Forward (aka – What Did I Learn?)

The first thing that I learned is that six straight hours of work shop teaching is way too much! I think that if I offer the course again, I will limit it to four hours. The mobile element can really be incorporated into the rest of the lessons and doesn’t need its own unit.

Also, it is important to remember that software doesn’t operate in the same way on all of the same platforms. Some of the instructions I gave were not applicable on an iPad or accessible at all on a Microsoft Surface. While it likely is not feasible to be able to prepare a separate lesson for each device, it’s important to realize that a student will not be able to use all of the features on every device.

All in all, I think that the program was a success and I would love to offer it again applying what I learned the first time around.

My Favorite Ed Tech YouTube Channels

YouTube is an excellent resource, especially for educators. I subscribe to various channels that focus on educational technology. Here is just a small sample of those available.

Evernote – Evernote is a great tool for organizing your life and can be transformative in the realm of education. Their YouTube channel hosts how-to’s for all levels (beginners, intermediate, advanced) and covers a myriad of topics. They have material directed at various industries (education, business, cooking, etc) and their videos are readily accessible and useful. If you’re an Evernote user or want to become one, peruse their content here.

MacMost – I’m a heavy Apple user… no doubt about that. MacMost focuses entirely on instructional videos relevant to Apple Users. It has dozens of videos on a myriad of apple topics (software, hardware, news, etc). If you’re a Mac User, it’s a must! Check out their channel here.

Edutopia – Edutopia is one of the most prominent Educational Technology blogs for American Educators. Their YouTube Channel hosts webinars, Ted Talks, pedagogy, and application. What makes it especially helpful is that they subscribe to and post resources from applicable sources around the world. It’s a rich resource for all educators. View their YouTube Channel.

Microsoft Office – Office is still the most prolific office suite today. We all have to use it at some point. The Office YouTube Channel can answer every question you ever had (and a few you never imagined) about Microsoft Office. Learn how to create stunning PowerPoint presentations, build templates for Word, explore One Note, and see where the suite is going in the future.

MindMeister – MindMeister is my favorite online Mind Mapping service. I use it in my classroom and for my own brain storming sessions. Their YouTube Channel shows you how to do amazing things with this simple yet innovative program (with free and paid tiers)!

Anson Alexander – Anson Alexander is a tech guru of all realms… all of them! If you want to know about current trends in technology, how to use the new features of google drive, how to troubleshoot your iPhone, Anson has answers for you. Check out the various feeds on his YouTube channel.

Google – It’s hard to go a day without using google (be it their mapping system, email, even YouTube videos). If you want to harness the power of Google Apps, then check out the highlighted features of their YouTube Channel.

This is hardly an exhaustive list, but it is a great starting part for anyone interested in further understanding technology. I hope that you find these useful and please be sure to share your own!


Mind Mapping in my Classroom with MindMeister – The Winners are In!

In my article: “Mind Mapping in the Classroom with MindMeister,” I called for submissions in a contest to win a free, one year professional subscription to MindMeister. The results are in (and impessive)! The three winners, in no particular order, are:

Colleen Donley-Zori, Ph.D. discussed how she would use the program to teach a Collegiate level extension course at UCLA:

Over the course of the quarter, you will be responsible for submitting at least one “mind map” that links concepts presented in the readings with the information covered in the lecture.  You will do the readings before class, hear the lecture, and then construct the map to connect the readings to the lecture.  The mind-maps will be shared among the class each week, and they can be subsequently edited and added to, and then used in preparing for the exams.

During the first week, I will randomly assign you one or more weeks (depending on the number of students in the class) to construct a mind map using MindMeister software, a free on-line application that can be used to map connections between concepts.  I will provide an example and more guidelines the first week of class.

Ben Beachy highlighted MindMeister’s presentation features (specific course content has been obscured for copyright reasons):

I have replaced PowerPoint slide decks with mindmaps for lecture. PowerPoint slides often seem disconnected from each other: just topic, topic, topic, topic. Mindmaps help the students–and me–keep the broader context in view.

Kellie Determine (a K-5 visual arts teacher in the Waterford School District) highlighted its potential use in the elementary environment:

In my work environment, k-5 art, I’m thinking I can use it with my 4th and 5th grade classes. We can map media and materials usage, art movements and examples, the elements and principles of design with examples and historical dates, critical analysis of masterworks with Visual Thinking Strategies, we can do so much that my list could go on and on. I’m also thinking about taking this to my PLC group to help organize and plan for our team outcomes. I can see each of us utilizing this tool in multiple ways.

Thank you to everyone who participated and congratulations to the winners! Look for your license information in your mailboxes shortly! And thank you to MindMeister for providing the licenses for this prize!

MindMeister – Using Mind Mapping for Online Collaboration

I have been an avid user and promotor of MindMeister since I was introduced to the program more than a year ago. My students use it in the classroom, for studying, and for collaboration on projects and material. I use it to organize lesson plans and to collaborate with students.

MindMeister just published an excellent post about using their tool for online collaboration. See the article: “Mind Mapping – Online Collaboration“. It highlights the programs abilities to organize, list, and collaborate on a multitude of topics.

Students Using MindMeister as a Study Tool

Recently, our school purchased a license to an amazing Mind Maping application called MindMeister. If your’e not familiar with it, MindMeister is a mind-mapping, brainstorming, and collaborating tool. This is finals week. I just got an email from a couple of my students telling me that they were collaboratively studying for the test via a MindMeister map and sent me an invite. Here is what I saw (or a portion of it, it won’t all fit on the screen).

They were using the tool to collaboratively work on their review sheet, exchange information and ideas, and correct one another’s mistakes – all from their own homes. One student even told me: “This is actually making studying more fun, and not as much of a drag.”

Looking through, they’re doing some real work here. Very impressive – and anything that makes studying less painful, I’m in favor of!