Mind Maps “provide a visual representation of conceptual and relationship knowledge within a particular domain” (Croasdell, Freeman, & Urbaczewski, 2003). They organise ideas, experiences and knowledge into a clear, concise diagram. The Mind Map is formed by taking a central word (the concept) and linking it to other words (the students’ ideas and their knowledge). It is an effective tool for clarifying an idea, representing knowledge and sharing experiences. Buzan (as cited in Swan, 2010) reasoned that mind maps would optimise the brain’s ability to create, to learn, to remember.

Mind Maps can be created by an individual, in small groups or through class discussion. They are a very versatile tool for effective learning as they can be used across all of the key learning areas. Buzan (2002) stresses that Mind Mapping enables students to “retain and recall information easily”. They also promote communication within a classroom and the sharing of ideas between peers. Often, learners are required to evaluate their knowledge and Mind mapping is an excellent tool for this. Teachers may use their students’ Mind Maps to assess them. “The presence of concepts and relationships on a Map can provide an instructor with a snapshot of student knowledge and understanding” (Croasdell, Freeman, & Urbaczewski, 2003). The teacher is aided by the Mind Map when determining what students have comprehended and demonstrated through their Map.

There is a lot of pressure on existing and new teachers to transform learning using ICT, but as Finger, Russell, Jamieson-Proctor, and Russell (2007) argue, “there needs to be room for doubt and continuing reflection when examining new technologies to challenge the assumption that new technologies are always beneficial for education”. Meijers (as cited in Head, 2008) believes that “it is critical for teachers to set tasks which properly account for ICT”. Mind Maps, though effective, can, and have previously been, constructed on paper. The digital version is a mere replacement and not an enhancement of the existing tool.

The digital version of Mind Maps does not comply with the Smart Classrooms Professional Development Framework which illustrates the professional expectations of teachers in regards to ICT. The framework has three levels which teachers are classified into. The highest, the Digital Pedagogy Licence Advanced, requires teachers to “develop students’ reflective learning, critical thinking skills and creativity through innovative digital pedagogy” (2009-2011). Mind Mapping on a computer is not an innovative digital pedagogy. It does not provide any more opportunities than its original hard version, nor is it quicker or easier to complete. There has been much work involved in the process of making ICT integral to learning. A tool like Mind Mapping (digital) has been welcomed into the education system when it is not integral.



Reference List

Buzan, T. (2002). How to Mind Map. The thinking tool that will change your life. Retrieved April 11, 2011 from http://books.google.com.au/books?id=Te6pQgAACAAJ&dq=buzan+2002&hl=en&ei=BVKiTd61KY-EvAPH8cT6BA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAQ

Croasdell, D., Freeman, L., & Urbaczewski, A. (2003).  Communications of the Association for Information Services. Concept Maps for Teaching and Assessment. Retrieved April 11, 2011 from http://aisel.aisnet.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3190&context=cais&sei-redir=1#search=”mind+maps+for+teaching

Head, B. (2008). Generation Cut and Paste. Education Review technology Guide, September, 2008, p. 2-3.                     

Finger, G., Russell, G., Jamieson-Proctor, R., & Russell, N. (2007). Transforming Learning with ICT. Understanding Context. Pearson Education Australia, p. 2-14.

Queensland Department of Education and Training. (2009). Smart Classroom Professional Development Framework. Retrieved April 11, 2011 from http://education.qld.gov.au/smartclassrooms/pdframework/

Swan, H. (2010). Teaching Village. Mind Mapping: Learning and teaching with Both Sides of The Brain. Retrieved April 11, 2011 from http://www.teachingvillage.org/2010/02/10/mind-mapping-learning-and-teaching-with-both-sides-of-the-brain-by-hobie-swan/

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