Mind mapping is a process for “brainstorming activities to make brainstorming more effective and simultaneously enhance student learning” (Fang, 2013, p. 13). Mind mapping can be more effective than simple brainstorming, as it provides participants with opportunities to connect ideas and envision relationships (Fang, 2013). The Mindmeister is a tool to engage in this same process, and because it is a virtual tool, it can be used outside the classroom or the face-to-face meeting.
The virtual Mindmeister tool can be used around the globe and individuals can add to the brainstorming session at anytime from practically any place (MeisterLabs, 2017). This immediate and direct involvement assists with meeting 21st century learning goals, as rather than being passive learners, students are active and contributing participants in real time.
The mindmeister could be used to help students think creatively about possibilities, understand how systems work, and envision connections between concepts, ideas, and processes. Rather than think about concepts in isolation, the Mindmeister mapping tool can assist students to envision links between ideas. In the Human Service (HS) field, the tool could help students understand how teams work together, as well as assist them to envision the complexities of the treatment process or brainstorm the multifaceted aspects of mental health and recovery.
A strategy for integrating the tool in optimal learning methods includes having the instructors pilot the tool with students in several different satellite spaces across the region. The facilitator should be sure that participants in each satellite space have ample opportunities to participate, brainstorm, and add to the mind map, whether in synchronous or asynchronous formats. The facilitator should be sure to wrap up the mind mapping experience by helping participants interpret the mind map, and reflect on this interpretation. This is extremely important, as if this critical aspect of the virtual mind mapping process is overlooked, students may not have had opportunities to draw new conclusions and make new meanings based on the experience.
To get started, the facilitator should be sure that all participants have access to a free Mindmeister account. Participants can choose a simple dilemma that needs to be brainstormed and explored. Once individuals feel comfortable with the virtual mind mapping experience, groups can choose more complex issues to brainstorm, such as ethics, team conflict, unidentified roles, etc.
I inserted a picture of my son holding a chicken at Catskill Animal Sanctuary. On this life-changing tour at the sanctuary, my son learned a lot about relationships. He learned that every being at the sanctuary had an important story. To me, virtual mind mapping tools help us to see and hear the untold stories, as well as make sense of relationships that, we otherwise, would never be able to see. What does virtual mind mapping mean to you?
Mindmeister (n.d.). Collaborative mind mapping. Retrieved from https://www.mindmeister.com/
Mindmeister (n.d.). Education. Improve engagement. Raise student achievement. Retrieved from https://www.mindmeister.com/education-software
Fang, N. (2013). Increasing High School Students’ Interest in STEM Education Through Collaborative Brainstorming with Yo-Yos. Journal of STEM Education Innovations & Research. 14-4, 8-14.
MeisterLabs (2017). Mindmeister. Retrieved from https://www.mindmeister.com/business-collaboration