English Literature Analyses with MindMaple

School has been in session for about a month. How are you/your students/your children doing with their assignments? If they are anything like me when I was a kid, writing assignments are put aside until the last possible moment. As a student, writing about books you’re told to read for class is not fun nor easy. However, students of today have what I did not when I was a student: mind mapping software.

I did a quick analyses on “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald using MindMaple, just to see how long it would take. I analyzed the characters, their roles, their relationship with each other, and the themes of the story. Essentially, I would be using the half hour or so I would be using trying to organize my notes on creating a mind map. Of course, if you want your mind map to look as intriguing as the story is, you need more time. On the plus side, if the assignment was to summarize “The Great Gatsby”, I already have it done and looking pretty.

Have a look and let me know what grade you think I would get if I had submitted this mind map as my homework. You can download the mind map template here. If you haven’t downloaded MindMaple for your computer or device yet, visit our website for free and premium mind mapping software.

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Mind Mapping is an Effective Filter for Information Overload

I came across this great article by Chuck Frey, “How Mind Mapping Software Kicks Butt on Information Overload,” and I wanted to share this, since information overload has become an inevitable epidemic in our society today.   With the huge occurrence of layoffs, for example, job titles are merging causing individuals to be forced to wear many hats and take on others’ work that would normally be separate from their own.  With this increase in workload, people are not able to filter through and process all the information thrown at them.

Thus, people’s typical ways of managing and sifting through stimulus are no longer effective with the amount of information individuals are faced with today.  Chuck Frey states that mind mapping is the new filter that will help people to deal with and make sense of this situation.

Chuck categorizes several ways that mind mapping will tackle what technologists call “filter failure”:

Distilling:  Mind mapping serves as an efficient and flexible filter, “helping us to distill incoming information and data into essential bits we need to take action upon and those that are supporting information. They don’t necessarily get “thrown away”, but can be archived within a single map branch or in a sub-map.”

Grouping:  “Mind mapping software also helps us to group related items together and classify them in ways that make sense to us…”  “Mind mapping software also excels at depicting relationships, via their hierarchy of topics, relationship lines and boundaries.”

Organizing:   Mind mapping allows people to arrange information in topics and subtopics and move items if desired which facilitates further understanding of the data.   Chuck states this in turn leads to increased productivity and decision making.  

Sharing:  Once all the information is filtered and organized, individuals can share their maps visually with others.

Mind mapping is an excellent tool to effectively adjust and thrive in this age of information overload.

Please check out this diagram that Chuck Frey designed to show how mind mapping filters information.

MindMaple Viewer for iPad

We are happy to announce that we have just released a MindMaple viewer for iPad.  At this time, just the viewing option is available, but in the upcoming months we will be releasing our full editable version for everyone to enjoy.  Stay tuned!

Current Features:

1. Open and manage MindMaple documents. You can set categories to group your documents.
2. Dropbox function to download documents from your Dropbox account.
3. Collapsing and expanding topics.

Introverts as Business Leaders

I read this article today by Chuck Frey, “5 Killer Advantages Introverts Have in Business and Leadership,” and it not only changed my perspective of introversion but also what roles introverts play in business.  The typical picture that people create in their minds when they think of business leaders tends to be a more extroverted, gregarious, and always surrounding themselves with others.  This article explains that as the world continues to evolve, introverts have advantages to become successful leaders.

Here are the five advantages:

1. They are most comfortable working within their minds and developing new ideas.

2. They are able to think deeply and consider more potential options and ramifications.

3. They are usually awesome listeners.

4. Storytelling – a key leadership skill: Because introverts are comfortable in the world of ideas and images, they tend to be awesome storytellers.

5. Anticipating and capitalizing upon change: Because they tend to be incessant readers and consumers of news, trends and business strategy and leadership topics, they are better prepared to anticipate change and leverage advantages and innovation from it.

Chuck Frey also discusses in his articles the link between mind mapping and introversion, stating, “I suspect that many users of mind mapping software are introverts, because they enjoy exploring ideas and their implications. It enables them to expose their thinking visually, on screen, and manipulate ideas and knowledge to an extraordinary degree.”  Mind mapping can help business leaders to organize their thoughts and manage their tasks, aiding in creativity and productivity in their work.

Teaching Visualization to Students

I came across this interesting article, Opening the Door: Teaching Students to Use Visualization to Improve Comprehension” by Education World with a step by step approach on how to teach students visualization skills for increased understanding and retention.  This is a great way to incorporate mind mapping as well to provide a tool for the brainstorming and drawing phase of their visualization process.

Some kids enjoy reading but many dread it, finding it to be boring and frustrating, especially reading textbooks and other school assignments.  Most see it as a passive activity and would rather be playing outside or engaging in other active past times.  This article demonstrates, however, how to make reading an active rather than passive activity with the following easy to follow steps:

Step 1:  Modeling the Technique is where the teacher reads aloud text and then describes what images come to mind for the students to observe this active process in reading.

Step 2:  Students Practice Visualizing is the stage where the teacher reads passages to the students, and they are encouraged to close their eyes and become aware of images that come to mind associated with the words read.

Step 3:  Sharing Visualizations is the part where the students discuss as a group the images they created in their minds while listening to the passages the teacher read.

Step 4:  Using Drawing to Help Students Visualize is the stage where mind mapping fits in well.  Students are instructed to draw images that come to mind as they listen to the text read to them.  Drawing the images reinforces their comprehension and retention.  Mind mapping would be beneficial here, because when creating mind maps you can use words as well as images and other visual icons and features to even further promote understanding, enjoyment, and recall.  In addition, mind maps would help the students to expand on their initial images/words and continue to map out fresh, new ideas as well.  Students would be using their right and left brain with the mind maps to optimize learning.

Once students feel comfortable using mind maps for these types of exercises, they can begin to incorporate maps in many other school and personal activities such as note taking, presentations, and task management.

Mind Mapping to Improve Your Work Life

At a time when our economy is calling more and more for innovation and change, I was happy to come across this review of Chuck Frey’s new book, “Up Your Impact: 52 Innovative Strategies to add value to your work” by Biggerplate.  This book is centered on the idea of “adding value to your work,” something that is crucial these days with the abundance of layoffs and replacements in the workplace.

Biggerplate discusses how individuals now need to make themselves valuable and unique in regard to their work.  “It is no longer enough to turn up and clock-in. We have to identify better ways to contribute to the overall organisation, and better ways to make ourselves indispensable within it.”  Fortunately, Chuck Frey paints a rather bright picture in his approach by offering 52 practical and effective strategies and tips to overcoming the struggles people tackle in becoming indispensable in the workplace.

This is just another example of the many ways that mind mapping is used to improve lives and businesses.  The Mind Mapping Software Blog (Chuck Frey’s site) as well as Biggerplate are two very influential resources in the mind mapping community, providing a wealth of information about mind mapping and examples of mind maps, product reviews and articles.  If you are not yet well versed in the use of mind mapping and the abundant benefits and uses, we highly recommend you check out these sites.”

MindMaple Mind Mapping Contest! One Week Left!

Hello everyone.  We wanted to remind you all that our contest ends on June 27, so don’t miss out!  Please send your most creative maps to office@mindmaple.com.  Remember to design your map in either MindMaple Lite or MindMaple Pro.  The winner will receive a $250 gift card to Amazon.com.

For those of you that are not familiar with mind mapping and how to get started, I assure you it’s not a daunting task. Mind Tools has a helpful article, “Mind Maps, A Powerful Approach to Note-Taking,” that discusses mind mapping and its many benefits.  “Mind Mapping is a useful technique that helps you learn more effectively, improves the way that you record information, and supports and enhances creative problem solving.”

Further, Mind Tools explain that “by using Mind Maps, you can quickly identify and understand the structure of a subject.  You can see the way that pieces of information fit together, as well as recording the raw facts contained in normal notes. To learn more about mind mapping, its uses, and how to begin to create your maps, check out this article.  There is even a video for more clarification.  Good luck!