Brainstorming: Mind Mapping

If you’ve been to school, you’ve probably seen, used, or drawn a mind-map. But not many students know the full potential of these brightly coloured drawings. Your teachers didn’t make you draw them just because they were fun. I mean, who doesn’t like drawing clouds, and lines and pictures.

Okay, okay, you probably don’t want to do this now. Sure, colored textas and huge pieces of butcher paper were fun, but you’re just a bit too old for that now. But don’t be alarmed, mind mapping isn’t just for elementary school kids. Today, we’re going to talk about how they will help you as a student, some uses, as well as some tools. But first, a word from me:

This is the first post in series about Brainstorming. This series includes the following:
  • Mind Mapping
  • Outlining
  • Gap Filling
  • Free Writing
  • Charts
To be notified of a new post, subscribe to any of these: RSSTwitter or email (see sidebar)

Let’s get started then. Mind mapping has been extensively documented, online and offline. Seeing as there is all this information out there, I’m not going to even try to describe it here. Instead, these are a bunch of resources that I’ve found helpful.

So now you know what they are, how are they going to help you? Mind mapping can be used to brainstorm, solve problems, and plan solutions. In fact, I’ve used it for two of these in the mind map I created for yesterday’s post.

Mind mapping’s edge over the competition doesn’t come from what it does, it comes from what your brain does. As well as thinking linearly, it also makes connections: it works associatively. Thus, mind mapping allows you to make connections and draw conclusions that otherwise mightn’t be seen.

There a thousands of tools you can use to make mind maps. Just do a quick Google search, and you’ll get nearly 800,000 results. Pen and paper always work fine, but there are still plenty of digital options. These are a few you might like. I use MindMeister, an online solution. It only allows for three maps per basic account, but you can export maps to jpg or pdf.

  • Compendium (Mac, Win, Lin)
  • VUE (Mac, Win, Lin)
  • FreeMind (Mac, Win, Lin)
  • Curio (Mac, from $129)
  • MindMeister (Free, $59 per year)
Once again, let me know what you think? Do you use mind maps? Do you think you will now? Do you find them useful.

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About Katie Walker

Hey, I'm a student. I'm into web development, so currently I'm working on my blog, a few Tumblr themes, and a few web apps for various purposes. It's exciting stuff.

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  1. Brainstorming: Charts and Diagrams « Awesome Study - February 7, 2011

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