Moodle 1.9: Working with Mind Maps

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Moodle 1.9: The English Teacher's Cookbook

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80 simple but incredibly effective recipes for teaching reading comprehension, writing, and composing using Moodle 1.9

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by Silvina P. Hillar | June 2010 | e-Learning Moodle Open Source

In this article by Silvina P. Hillar, author of the book Moodle 1.9: The English Teacher's Cookbook, we are going to design four mind maps. In each recipe,we are going to use different software in order to create the graphs. After that, we are going to upload them into our Moodle course. We are going to use either commercial software or free and open source software.

In this virtual classroom, we are going to enrich the use of vocabulary, because in the creation of these techniques we have to use keywords, which have to be used in a piece of writing.

Mind maps are going to be designed according to the facilities that the different software provides us to exploit them.

Pictures in mind maps—using Buzan's iMindMap V4

In this task, we are going to use the software of the inventor of mind maps: Buzan's iMindMap V4. We are going to work on the topic of robots and afterwards students are going to write an article about them. We are going to provide students with images of different robots, taking into account that a robot is not a silver rectangular human look-alike. They may have several shapes and can be used for different purposes.

Read the next screenshot, which is taken from Buzan's iMindMap V4 software, about inserting images in a mind map:

Moodle 1.9: Working with Mind Maps

Getting ready

Let's create a mind map related to robots with pictures. After creating the mind map, students are going to look at it and they are going to write an article about the topic. In this case, the mind map will be designed with images only so as to "trigger associations within the brain" of our students. You can download a free trial of this software from the following webpage: http://www.thinkbuzan.com/uk/.

How to do it...

After downloading the free trial (you may also buy the software), create a new file. Then follow these steps to create a mind map with images using the previously mentioned software:

  1. Choose a central image in order to write the name of the topic in the middle, as shown in the next screenshot:
  2. Moodle 1.9: Working with Mind Maps

  3. In Enter some text for your central idea,, enter Robots as shown in the previous screenshot and click on Create.
  4. Click on Draw and select Organic, and draw the lines of the mind map, as shown in the following screenshot:
  5. Moodle 1.9: Working with Mind Maps

  6. To add images to the mind map, click on Insert and select Floating image, as shown in the next screenshot:
  7. Moodle 1.9: Working with Mind Maps

  8. Click on View and select Image Library and search for images, as shown in the next screenshot:
  9. Moodle 1.9: Working with Mind Maps

  10. Another option is to look for an image in Microsoft Word and copy and paste the images in the mind map.
  11. Save the file.

How it works...

We are going to select the Weekly outline section where we want to insert the activity. Then we are going to create a link to a file. Later, we will ask students to upload a single file in order to carry out the writing activity. Follow these steps:

  1. Click on Add a resource and select Link to a file or website.
  2. Complete the Name block.
  3. Complete the Summary block.
  4. Click on Choose or upload a file.
  5. Click on Upload a file.
  6. Click on Browse and search for the file, then click on Open.
  7. Click on Upload this file and then select Choose.
  8. In the Target block, select New window.
  9. Click on Save and return to course. The mind map appears as shown in the following screenshot:
  10. Moodle 1.9: Working with Mind Maps

There's more...

We saw how to create a mind map related to robots previously; now we will see how to upload this mind map as an image in your course.

Uploading the mind map as .png file

If your students do not have this software and they cannot open this file, you may upload this mind map in the Moodle course as an image. These are the steps that you have to follow:

  1. Open the file and fit the mind map in the screen. Press the Prt Scr key.
  2. Paste (Ctrl + V) the image in Paint or Inkscape (or any similar software).
  3. Select the section of the mind map only, as shown in the next screenshot:
  4. Save the image as .png so that you can upload the image of the mind map in the Moodle course.

Drawing pictures using pen sketch

It is also possible to use a digital pen, also known as pen sketch, to draw elements for the mind map. For example, as we are dealing with robots in this mind map, you can draw a robot's face and add it to the mind map, as shown in the next screenshot:

Moodle 1.9: Working with Mind Maps

Creating a writing activity

You may add the mind map as a recourse in the Moodle course or you may insert an image in it. In both cases, students can write an article about robots. If you upload the mind map in the Moodle course, you can do it in the Description block of Upload a single file and you do not have to split the activity in two.

Adding data to pictures—creating a mind map using MindMeister

In this recipe, we are going to work with MindMeister software, which is free and open source.We are going to create a mind map, inserting links to websites, which contain information as well as pictures. Why? Because if we include more information in the mind map, we are going to lead our students on how to write. Apart from that, they are going to read more before writing and we are also exercising reading comprehension in a way. However, they may also summarize information if we create a link to a website. So let's get ready!

Getting ready

We are going to enter http://www.mindmeister.com/ and then Sign up for free. There is one version which is free to use, or you may choose the other two that are commercial. After signing up, we are going to develop a mind map for our students to work with.

There is a video which is a tutorial explaining in a very simple and easy way on how to design a mind map using this software. So it is worth watching.

How to do it...

We are going to enter the previously mentioned website and we are going to start working on this new mind map. In this case, I have chosen the topic "Special days around the world". Follow these steps:

  1. Click on My New Mind Map and write the name of the topic in the block in the middle.
  2. Click on Connect and draw arrows, adding as many New node blocks as you wish.
  3. Add a website giving information for each special occasion. Click on the Node, then click on Extras–Links | Links and complete the URL block, as shown in the next screenshot:
  4. Moodle 1.9: Working with Mind Maps

  5. Then click on the checkmark icon. Repeat the same process for each occasion.
  6. You can add icons or images to the nodes of the mind map.
  7. Click on Share Map at the bottom of the page, as shown in the next screenshot:
  8. Moodle 1.9: Working with Mind Maps

  9. Click on Publish and change the button to ON, as shown in the next screenshot:
  10. Moodle 1.9: Working with Mind Maps

  11. Select Allow edit for everybody (WikiMap), as shown in the previous screenshot.
  12. You can also embed the mind map. When you click on Embed map, the next screenshot will appear:
  13. Moodle 1.9: Working with Mind Maps

  14. Copy the Embed code and click on Close.
  15. Click on OK.

How it works...

After creating the mind map about special occasions around the world, we will either embed it or create a link to a website for our students to work on a writing activity. Here the proposal is to work through a Wiki because in Map Properties we have clicked on Allow edit for everybody (WikiMap) so that students can modify the mind map with their ideas. Select the Weekly outline section where you want to insert the activity and these are the steps you have to follow:

  1. Click on Add an activity and select Wiki.
  2. Complete the Name block.
  3. Complete the Summary block. You may either embed the mind map or create a link to a website, as shown in the next screenshot:
  4. Click on Save and return to course.
Moodle 1.9: The English Teacher's Cookbook 80 simple but incredibly effective recipes for teaching reading comprehension, writing, and composing using Moodle 1.9
Published: July 2010
eBook Price: $29.99
Book Price: $49.99
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Providing a situation to a story—drawing a mind map using Draw Anywhere

In this recipe, we are going to create a story using a mind map and we are going to add linking words or keywords so that our students follow those clues in order to carry out the writing activity. We are going to design the mind map using the http://www.drawanywhere.com website. Then we are going to save the mind map as an image and upload it in our Moodle course so that students will be able to see the mind map. So let's get ready!

Getting ready

We are going to enter the previously mentioned website and create an account. There are others accounts, which have more options, so you are free to choose. We are going to work with the free account. There is an interesting tutorial, which is worth watching, that explains how the software works, though it is very similar to the ones that we have been using.

How to do it...

After logging in, we are going to create a mind map. In this case, we are going to drag and drop the images on the left-hand side and we are going to draw a mind map with images. The difference from the first mind map is that in this case students have to write a story and we are going to include clues in the drawing in order to guide them with their writing. Linking words may be added as well. These are the steps that you have to follow:

  1. Drag and drop images on the left-hand side to draw a "story mind map", as shown in the next screenshot:
  2. Connect the pictures using the connectors from the menu.
  3. Click on the image and then on the text icon in order to write some key and linking words.
  4. Click on the mind map so that it fits in the screen of your computer and press the Prt Scr key.
  5. Open Paint or any similar software and paste the image using Ctrl + V.
  6. Click on Select and choose the mind map section. Click on Edit and select Copy.
  7. Open a new file and paste the selected area of the mind map. Name the file with a .png extension. The mind map appears as shown in the next screenshot:
  8. Moodle 1.9: Working with Mind Maps

How it works...

It is time to u pload the mind map in our Moodle course and create the activity. In this case, we are going to create the activity through an Assignment. So you are going to choose the Weekly outline section where you want to place the activity and follow these steps:

  1. Click on Add an activity and select Upload a single file within Assignments.
  2. Complete the Assignment name block.
  3. Complete the Description block. Click on the Insert image icon and upload the mind map.
  4. Click on Save and return to course.
  5. The activity appears as shown in the next screenshot:
  6. Moodle 1.9: Working with Mind Maps

Creating mind maps using resources from Web 2.0

This is a very s imple recipe. We are going to ask students to think about a topic and draw a mind map using resources from Web 2.0. In this way, they are going to practice the mind mapping technique so that they can organize their thoughts by themselves instead of being given clues. Later, as usual, they are going to write an article about that topic. So let's get ready to work!

Getting ready

We are going to carry out this activity in a Chat so that students can brainstorm among themselves, and we are going to create a link to a website where they can draw a mind map.

This is the first part of the activity, let's say the beginning of process writing. After they create the mind map, we are going to design the writing activity. We enter the course and select the Weekly outline section in which we want to add the activity. Let's Moodle it!

How to do it...

You are going to follow these steps in order to design the activity previously introduced:

  1. Click on Add an activity and select Chat.
  2. Complete the Name of this chat room block.
  3. Complete the Introduction text block, inserting the link to http://www.mindomo.com, the website where students are to draw the mind map, as shown in the next screenshot:
  4. Moodle 1.9: Working with Mind Maps

  5. Complete the Insert Link block and click on OK.
  6. Click on Save and return to course.

How it works...

After students br ainstorm among themselves and draw the mind map, they have to carry out the writing activity. In this case, they are going to do it through Advanced uploading of files within Assignments (we are going to let them upload two files) because in that way they can upload both the mind map and the writing activity. These are the steps to follow:

  1. Click on Add an activity and select Advanced uploading of files within Assignments.
  2. Complete both the Assignment name and the Description blocks.
  3. Click on Save and return to course.

Summary

This article covered the designing of Mind Maps in different ways and also how to upload or link them into the Moodle course.

In the next article we will be working with tree diagrams.

Moodle 1.9: The English Teacher's Cookbook 80 simple but incredibly effective recipes for teaching reading comprehension, writing, and composing using Moodle 1.9
Published: July 2010
eBook Price: $29.99
Book Price: $49.99
See more
Select your format and quantity:

About the Author :


Silvina P. Hillar

Silvina P. Hillar is an Italian, who has been teaching English since 1993. She has always had a great interest in teaching writing and composing techniques, and has done a lot of research on this subject. She has been investigating and using mind mapping for more than ten years in order to embed it into teaching.

She is an English teacher, a certified legal translator (English/Spanish) and has a post graduate degree in Education (in which she graduated with honors).

Silvina has been working in several schools and institutes with native English speaking students and as an independent consultant for many international companies as an interpreter, translator, and VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) course designer.

She has always had a passion for technological devices concerning education. Former videos and cassettes were a must in her teaching lessons, and the computer was and still is present. Her brother Gastón C. Hillar designed some programs and games for her teaching. Lately, she has been teaching using Moodle and the Web 2.0. She believes that one of the most amazing challenges in education is bridging the gap between classic education and modern technologies.

She has been doing a lot of research on multimedia assets which enhance the teaching and learning through VLE platforms. She tries to embed the learning of students through new resources which are appealing and innovative for them. Thus, multimedia stimulates cognitive as well as creative abilities.

Silvina has also authored three books at Packt Publishing, which are Moodle 1.9: The English Teacher’s Cookbook, Moodle 2 Multimedia Cookbook, and MindMapping with FreeMind.

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