Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Kidspiration as a mindmapping tool

One of the teachers I have been working with recently is trying to integrate ICT into her daily programme and wanted some easily achievable activities her junior children could do in the lab based around her topic of 'Our Friends'. The school has the software Kidspiration and so far her children have been making basic mindmaps around certain ideas and topics.
The children know how to create symbols off one main symbol and type in information.

I showed this teacher that when you are clicked on a symbol you can change it to a picture and still keep the writing or add writing underneath it. So now the children are going to extend their thinking on their topic and add pictures by clicking on the name of their friend and adding what they like to do. So before the students go to the lab, they need to survey their friends to find out what they like to do.

Once the students have finished the mindmap task, they will then analyse their mindmap and make comparisons and assumptions that they will then present to their group. The rest of the group will compare with with their mindmaps and students can hypothesise what these results mean.
This is also an ideal time to do some 'just in time' teaching with the children, if you see students who are coping quite well with the task then teach them some more skills, such as in this case how to colour the symbols so it differentiates each idea, or how to change the shape of the symbol in the centre. Before you know it, this idea will spread around the lab as other students pick it up and pass it on.
I emphasise to teachers that they should do this same task several times (in different topic areas) consolidating and building on the skills children have developed.

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