Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Introduced Freemind into the project

A double lesson today where research continued but ideas are running out. It was time to use search engines to get some more ideas.

We installed a free concept/mind mapping program called “Freemind”. (http://freemind.sourceforge.net/) It is not as 'glitzy' as inspiration but it makes up for this with its price. It does the job well, can be installed on all computers in the school and students can take it home to use – nearly all of the prerequisites for a free and open education. The only draw back is that it does not run on other platforms (eg Linux).

A four minute demo using the multimedia projector and students were up and running. I then interrupted them semi formally from time to time to throw another technique into the pot (eg. how to hyperlink, adding icons, etc.) I was very impressed with how quickly the maps started to form. Some became very involved very quickly. Student feedback about the program was very positive.

I have insisted that examples are used for each idea/use so that the outer perimeter of the map ends up containing lots of url's. This is where the work on aggregating the class blogs pays off for them. These URL's are all hyperlinks so that the reader of the map can click on the link to see an example of the idea/use. Students often fail to backup their ideas with examples. This forces their hand and becomes a bibliography.

They also saw that this topic is a key to the seen exam essay question. A printed copy of their personal mind map will be the only notes allowed into the exam. They will be able to use this essay for their writing based literacy assessment.

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