04 Dec 2012

Beginner’s Guide to the Use of Mind Maps in Elementary Schools

6 Comments Education

Take a look at our guest post from expert on Mind Mapping in education, Toni Krasnic…

Mind mapping is a great tool that can be used in elementary schools to help students with reading, thinking, and learning.

What Are Mind Maps?

Mind maps are graphic organizers used to organize and connect concepts, enabling students to understand how individual concepts relate to each other and how they fit into a larger knowledge framework.

In a mind map, concepts are typically interlinked and arranged in a radial pattern around a central concept. To create a mind map, start with a central concept and then expand into branching subconcepts. Additional, related concepts can be added to these subconcepts. Continue adding new branches and sub-branches until you capture and connect all concepts, reflecting your understanding of the topic.

The mind map below provides tips on creating mind maps. You can download this mind map from Biggerplate.

Mind Mapping Tips map

Click here to see many other examples of mind maps

Why Use Mind Maps in Schools?

Mind mapping is an exciting educational tool because it promotes learning by helping students capture and organize information, make connections between and among concepts, identify concepts that are missing, and learn by making sense of information, both information they already possess and new information.

Here are some of the many reasons why we should embrace mind maps in education:

  • Mind maps help us organize vast amounts of information into a single, coherent map.
  • Mind maps are visual, allowing us to process, understand, and retain information in a way that most of us learn best.
  • Mind maps foster creativity by helping us see both existing connections and missing connections.
  • Mind maps allow for the attachment of files, website links, images, video, and other resources without unnecessary visual clutter.
  • Mind maps are electronic and can be easily created and shared.
  • Mind maps foster sharing and collaboration between students and teachers.

Some ways students can use mind maps:

  • Take notes
  • Integrate information from a variety of sources
  • Summarize books
  • Organize coursework

Some ways teachers can use mind maps:

  • Manage classes and organize course material
  • Create and present lectures and handouts
  • Get students engaged
  • Evaluate students’ comprehension

Mind maps have already been incorporated into educational curricula in Finland, France, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam. Hopefully, other countries will begin making use of them in the near future.

How Can Mind Maps Be Used in Elementary Schools?

Students are more inclined to use education tools when they’re fun, and mind maps fit the bill. The process of creating a mind map is as important as the finished map, and students and teachers like using mind maps because the mind mapping process is engaging and motivating.

The mind map below provides a summary of how mind maps can be used in elementary schools. You can download this mind map from Biggerplate.

Mind Maps in the Classroom map

How Can I Get Started?

Students and teachers can get started with mind mapping by downloading iMindMap Basic, a free mind mapping program.

For additional guidance on mind mapping with iMindMap, consult the Student’s Guide and Teacher’s Guide to mind mapping.

Where Can I Get More Information?

A lot of information on mind maps has been published in print and, especially, on the web. A simple Google search will bring up links to hundreds of articles and videos about mind mapping. I’ve been going through them for the last few years and have compiled my favorite mind mapping articles, videos, and other resources.

How are you using Mind Maps in elementary schools?

Guest post by Toni Krasnic. Connect with Toni on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, or Pinterest.

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6 Responses to “Beginner’s Guide to the Use of Mind Maps in Elementary Schools”

  1. Reply AIzan nuriz says:

    Hello Toni

    Great points there. Many still don’t know how mindmaps help makes learning much easier.

    One of the common responses of new users are the messy nature of the maps compared to their conventional linear notes.

    Usually, with proper guidance and motivation, a new user will soon experience the benefits of mindmapping.

    • Reply Toni says:

      Thanks Alzan!

      Just like our thoughts, mind maps can seem a bit “messy” to others reading our mind maps, although, in most instances, they make sense to the one who made them. There’s always the audience aspect we have to consider when mind mapping.

  2. Reply AIzan nuriz says:

    I have written an article based on my true experience here: How I turned from a below average to an A student.


  3. Reply John says:

    This is a tool I wish I had learnt at Elementary School. Children tend to be highly visual and creative. Learning to learn is perhaps the biggest lesson of all.

  4. Reply Philippe says:

    It’s true that many people still doubt about benefits of mind maps on learning. I fully agree with Toni that it makes sense for those who made them. However, in order to convince authorities and education institutions to give a chance to do it in classrooms, you need a clear explanation. An easy way to justify benefits is to decompose the human thoughts in cognitive functions (attention, structuration, memorisation, reasoning, decision making, collaboration,…) and explain how mind maps help in each process. For example, for memorisation, problems occur during acquisition, storage or recall. It’s quite easy with some examples to explain how mind mapping can foster each of those steps. With a global approach, people thing it’s just marketing. When you can correlate with science and use true examples at a lower level, you become credible.

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