Monday, August 18, 2008

Mind mapping, part I

I’m back. After two weeks away, I’m finally back in the swing of things. Ok, well, not really. Today is my first day back in the office, but hardly my first day back at work. A new blog post soon on all the exciting things that happened in Brasil.

I decided to start looking at mind mapping. One of our faculty members here in the CHSS has seen a mind map that was dedicated to a specific topic and asked if something like that could be created with his own content. I told him sure, and let him know I’d look into it.

I almost hate to admit it, but when I want good, general (and sometimes quite specific) information, I’ve been finding myself looking to Wikipedia more and more. When it comes to academic use and research, not so much, but for good basic information – it’s a great resource. So I found this page that talks about mind mapping:

I found this during my Google search on the topic. The thing I like about this is that it gave a few examples of free mind-mapping tools, saved me a ton of legwork.

I’d already downloaded the Freemind tool. It seemed interesting, but had a ton of buttons all along the borders. It was very confusing and I couldn’t easily figure out how to do what I wanted to do. If I’d already known something about mind mapping it might have been more intuitive.

Through the Wikipedia page I noticed VUE, which is something I remember seeing before. I know I had an account so I re-requested my password and signed in. After downloading the application I got started right away. The interface was clean and simple – and it was quite obvious how to do what I wanted to do. I also like VUE because it is education-oriented, whereas Freemind is supposed to be more for business.

I created a simple mind map of my efforts in checking out web 2.0 applications but quickly ran out of time. As you know, I only spend 15 minutes doing the research. My thought behind that is, if it takes longer than that, the average person will probably give up on it unless there is a strong drive to learn about it.

Now that I have the tool, perhaps tomorrow I’ll spend my 15 minutes learning how to use it. I’ll even try to generate an example.

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