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Brainstorming: Charts and Diagrams

In the final post of this series on brainstorming, I thought we’d go outside to written world, and into the land of boxes, colors, and stats. If you’re a visual learner, you might find that writing down your ideas is too difficult, or that it doesn’t come naturally. Fortunately, brainstorming isn’t limited to the written word.


This is the final post in series about Brainstorming. This series includes the following:

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Charts and diagrams are extremely useful tools for presenting information, not only to other people, but yourself. Not only is expressing yourself in the written word sometimes hard, it leaves room for ambiguity. Charts can solve this problem, by presenting information in a way that can be understood regardless of the viewer’s language, or origin.

You may be thinking now that charts and diagrams would be great for brainstorming in a collaboration. And you’re right. Drawing a diagram is simple, and anyone can do it, so next time you have a group project, why not suggest you brainstorm using them?

Brainstorming using charts, diagrams and graphs can suit a multitude of tasks. And often seeing a set of stats can give you new ideas. So even if you use a combination of the tools we have set out in this series, I am confident you will find a use for charts in your next brainstorm.

What do you think? Are you a visual learner, or do you prefer words? Or are you something else entirely? What about kinesthetic or audio? Let us know how you fit your learning style into your brainstorming.

Note Taking

BASIX: This section is designed for the study newbie. Sure, you’ve been at school for years, but that doesn’t mean you’ve been doing it properly. Get up to scratch here.


You receive a lot of information while you’re in school. Most of it will be in class, so that’s what we’re going to talk about.

Your teachers don’t just tell you facts and information for the sake of it. The concepts, formulas, rules and topics they discuss have many uses, ranging from an upcoming test, to a difficult topic you may address in later years. The best thing about notes is that they don’t expire: the notes you took about the water cycle in Science, may help you a few months later in Geography.

But what if you’re terrible at taking notes? I have a few pointers for you:

  • Don’t write in full sentences. (Yes, I know, contradictory.)
  • Use abbreviations and acronyms, but don’t forget to write their meanings somewhere.
  • Try a note taking system like Cornell
  • If the teacher re-states a piece of information, or puts emphasis on it, highlight that corresponding point in your notes.
  • Copy out your notes at the end of the class/day, so that they are easy to understand, and you are reviewing them at the same time.

  • Review your notes regularly.
  • And most importantly, don’t leave revision of notes to the last-minute.

Despite the importance of note taking, many schools expect their students to learn how to do it on their own. If you’re having trouble, you can either talk to support staff at your school, or practice on your own. There are also many tips on the internet (See Below).

If you choose to practice on your own, you have many options. You could record lessons which require notes, and then practice repeatedly using that. The benefit of that is you can hear anything you have missed, and you are also reviewing your notes. Another option is to take notes of a tv show, podcast, or video series that you enjoy. While it would be more beneficial to use something educational, you might like to use an entertaining show, so that you are more engaged.

Bonus Tip

Take a look at this post from Campus Byte http://www.campusbyte.com/study-skills/online-videos-can-help-your-grades/, which I’ve referenced in NoticeBoard before. You could use these video sources to take notes. Plus, you can watch SpongeBob without feeling lame.

That’s it for today. I hope I have been of some help to you. Starting in the next few weeks, we’ll start a series on tried and true note taking methods. So this is your time to shine. What note taking techniques do you use? Mind mapping, outlining, Cornell? Let us know, and if you want, you can write a post for me about it. Well, anything, really, I’m always on the lookout for guest posters. Let me know in the comment form.

inClass: Everything You Should Need

Over the last few weeks, we’ve discussed two apps from the iTunes App Store. iStudiez Pro, which is a personal information manager designed for students, and Classes, which, well, I don’t really know what it is. Today we’re looking at inClass, which is actually quite different from the others.

The thing that sets this app apart is its ability to record your notes during class. Now, everyone knows how important it is to take notes, but not everyone does it. We’ll be going into this later, but for now, let’s stick with that it’s important. Unfortunately, that also appears to be the viewpoint of the inClass developers.

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An Introduction: Habits of Mind

I first came across the Habits of Mind when I began high
school. They are an integral part of our education, and I firmly
believe they help students reach their full potential, whether they
realize it or not. Although the Habits of Mind are mocked by
students, the teachers persist in using them in assignments and
lessons, and they eventually reach students. Habits of Mind are not
a quick-fix solution like dieting pills and any product you may see
on any current affairs program. They are meaningful tools that
require effort to make an impact. Like any worthwhile solution, you
should not approach the Habits of Mind as a simple get-smart-quick
scheme. You need to be prepared to put the effort into learning,
incorporating and noticing the Habits.

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