A mindmap, also written mind map, is a diagram used to represent words and ideas linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea.
Mindmaps are often used with brainstorming activities to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas. In other words, what crops up during the brainstorming session is put down on paper in real time as a mindmap.
In this way they function as an aid in study, organization, problem solving and decision making. They are, in reality, similar to concept maps in that they are graphical tools for organizing and representing relationships among concepts.
Mindmaps are useful for pre-teaching words in the context of words students already know, and revising newly-learnt words.
As they link ideas, mindmaps are better suited to learning new words and/or revising old ones than the traditional list format and students should be encouraged to make their own ones for homework, etc.
Suggested Mindmapping 'laws'
1. Start by drawing a picture in the centre - the more colour you use, the better. As they say, an image is worth a thousand words. Not only does it help memory, but it also encourages creative thought.
2. Use drawings (and colour) throughout your Mindmap – for the same reasons as in no.1.
3. Printed words are usually best, as this makes for easier reading later. The time saved when reading back more than makes up for the extra time you may have taken to print.
4. Write the words/expressions on lines, and connect each line to another line. This will give a basic structure to the Mindmap.
5. Write only one word/expression per line. This allows more flexibility and each word/expression has more free ‘hooks’.
6. When being creative in this way, let your mind ‘run free’ as far as possible. Trying to think about where things should go or whether to include them will hamper the creative process. The idea is to recall as much as possible around the central idea. As you will think of things faster than you can write, there should be almost no pause. Do not worry about organising or ordering the mindmap as this will, more often than nor, take care of itself. If it does not, you can always ‘tidy it up’ a bit at the end of the exercise.