What is a Mind Map
A mind map is a visual representation of all of the facets of a single topic. It can take many shapes, but, in most mind maps, the central idea or topic is placed in the center of the page. Coming out from that center, either like spokes on a wheel, or like tree branches, or some other structure, will be all of the things, ideas, or elements that relate to that topic. Then the creator can combine, delete and prioritize all of those elements in preparation for creating an outline for a piece of writing.
Benefits of Mind Mapping
The greatest benefit of mind mapping is that a student has a visual of the entire topic and all of its component parts. Once they have this total picture, they are able to do the following things:
1. Combine elements that should go together
2. Discard the elements that really don’t relate to the topic and/or thesis
3. Organizing the sequencing and prioritization of the sub-topics
4. Organize sub-topics in preparation for writing essays and papers
Point #4 is probably the most important use of mind maps, no matter what type of writing will be involved.
Consider the following rules:
Writing a Character Sketch: A mind map will let the writer identify the important personality traits and then find spots in the piece of fiction that relate to each trait.
Writing a Persuasive Essay: A mind map can be used to sequence the order in which the arguments will be presented.
Writing a Research Paper: Elements can be combined into coherent sub-topics which makes and outline and rough draft much easier.
A Cause/Effect Essay: Causes and effects can be connected.
Free mind mapping software
Freemind - Open source. Written in Java.
Coggle - Free and simple web mind mapping tool.
XMind - Gather, analyze and utilize knowledge, information and ideas.
iMindQ- Organize ideas visually, solve problems efficiently, manage information overload and present concepts.