Tuesday, 5 April 2016

XMind in the classroom

Having discovered how user friendly the mind mapping tool XMind is, I examined the possible using of it in my classroom teaching and learning. Mindmapping would be teaching and learning strategy I use regularly in my class for projectwork analysis and design development but never successfully found a piece of software the fulfilled all of my requirements. The discovery of XMind allows first time users to install easily and use it.This allowed students to complete assignments easily with minimal software issues for the students.

As this was a new piece of software for students in my class, I decided to introduce a new teaching and learning strategy for its use. I introduced XMind to my second year Materials Technology Wood class with a class demonstration. The students were then tasked to download and install the software on their home computers. Students were then tasked in groups of 3 to develop a mindmap on the topics completed thus far this year in the Materials Technology wood class. The groups got to discuss each topic in class and examine what content should be included in their mindmap. Student then proceed to complete their revision topic individually at home or in school. Student present their complete revision topic mindmaps and shared them with the rest of the class group.

Below are some samples of the student work on the revision topics for Materials Technology Wood.

Seasoning of Wood revision mindmap:

Conversion of Wood revision mindmap:

Challenges encountered:
I expected there to be some challenges along the way with this teaching and learning strategy and method but I was pleasant surprised at the student application to the strategy. Student in my school would generally have strong ICT skills therefore I had high hopes that XMind would not pose an issue. The use of XMind did not cause most student any problems. Some students exploited the software to greater and lesser degrees when presenting their mindmap but all presented their revision topic. The most common issue encountered by students in this exercise was the installation of the software on their home computers. I would have assumed that all student would have a computer and Internet access but this was not the case. These students completed their work in school in these cases.

Student Feedback:
Student feedback on this strategy was generally very positive. I took feedback using two methods: general classroom verbal feedback and student completed a simple survey. Student enjoyed the exercise because it was something different to our usual classroom activity. They felt that the initial groupwork really helped them analyse and dissect a topic. Which helped tem to form the content for their XMind mindmap. As a mindmapping tool the student enjoyed using its user friendly interface and found that their mindmaps could be easily shared with each other. This was the largest piece of learning for me. The realisation that they could develop, create and share work which in the long term would benefit everyone in the class was a real light bulb moment for the group.

The simple survey reviled the following information:

All student found the software ok to use once they has access to it. This was very pleasing for first time users.

90% of student recognised that this could be a potential method of revision for them in the preparation for their examinations. The visual learner derives greater benefits from this method of revision / learning.

In conclusion I found that XMind mindmapping software is a very useful and powerful piece of software that can be used in many ways in the classroom everyday. XMind allows users to very quickly create a mindmap as part of a class activity or exercise. The barriers of learning how to use a piece of software is minimal and mindmaps can be easily shared. It will definitely be a strategy that I will continue to use in my classroom into the future but now XMind offers a much easier option.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Liam,

    Thank you for completing the tasks as part of the ENTELS course.

    Really excellent to see the use of different approaches and tools. Great to see statements such as 'The realisation that they could develop, create and share work which in the long term would benefit everyone in the class was a real light bulb moment for the group.' It is this type of experiential learning that stems from trying out new things that can really impact teaching and learning. There are online alternatives to XMind such as Go Conqr, Coggle and Popplet but our Spanish partners chose XMind in consideration of users and schools who may not have the bandwidth and access to internet to support creating online mindmaps.

    I must commend you on your detailed student feedback - it is clear the student voice is very active in deciding on appropriate learning tools in your classes.