#digitalstudies resources & mindmaps

Wordle: mindmaps
I guess that this post has been a long time coming.  Before Christmas I began working on splitting up the National Curriculum into nibble sized chunks and trying to match resources, lesson ideas and plans to these so that I could have flexibility when teaching these topics.  I wasn’t interested in restricting the topics, indeed I wanted to cover as many things as possible so that I maintained flexibility how I delivered something.  It is important to me that I change what I teach according to the changing needs of my pupils and not just because that is what I said I would teach at the beginning of the year.  I believe that teachers should take decisions to omit parts of their schemes and also to add new topics according to how the year progresses.  Possibly, even more important is to have the resources to stimulate different pupils in different ways as we all know that one size does not fit all.

For quite sometime, I have been collecting lots of resources using Diigo and had made quite a good job of tagging these so that I could retrieve them easily.  I say a good job, by that I mean that I tagged them well but forgot that I had them, so didn’t know what it was I was looking for!  I needed a better way of mapping these resources, hence the mindmaps.

After a very exhaustive look on the internet for the best way of mapping the resources, I opted for Mindmeister mainly because it is quite intuitive but also because I could share the maps in the hope that others would benefit and maybe contribute.  After all, there are many many ideas out there just waiting to be shared.

I only intended to do possibly one large map that could cover all the topics.  By using collapsible nodes it could be easily navigable and therefore usable by all.  This first map, very quickly became too large so I created another one and then another and … you get the idea!

Inspired by the work that the likes of @sharland @largerma and @ianaddison had been doing on creating a new curriculum (which had the draft name of #digital and then #digitalstudies – now an actual subject in @sharland’s school) I wanted to expand these resources and took the step of using the strands based on those created at different times by @sharland and @chrisleach78 (i.e. digital technology; digital citizenship (or society); digital creativity (or authoring) and digital literacy).  The maps again grew very quickly.

In addition to the resources that I already had, I wanted to add the best lesson and project ideas that I came across using twitter.  There was so much to go through that I initially targeted the blogs of @simonhaughton and @chrisleach78 as they are truly creative and successful in what they do!  Wherever possible I make sure that the map links to original location of the resource and that I provide credit for who created the resource.  Recently, I have added ideas from @ictmagic and @lifson, whilst I also know that @infernaldepart is raring to add some of his ideas.  @chrisleach78 has also been working on the history of technology map himself adding ideas based on his current wall displays.

As interest in the maps has grown, so have the number of maps (now over 40!).  I hope that they are now really becoming a useful tool for others to dip into; however, I still really need collaborators to share the best of what they have.  Recently I reviewed whether Mindmeister was actually serving my needs and decided that it wasn’t.  Whilst I didn’t mind paying a subscription to create the maps, I was unhappy that those I wanted to share the maps with also had to pay.  This wasn’t right!  I then searched again through loads of mindmapping options but this time I am restricted:

  • It needs to be free for everyone
  • Maps need to be ‘unlimited’
  • It should be easy to use
  • The design should be easy to manipulate
  • It should be able to import mindmeister maps (I don’t want to do them all again!)

The best that I have found that meets nearly all these criteria is mind42.  It is free, unlimited and easy to use, although it isn’t quite as easy to manipulate as the placing of nodes is automatic.  Importing of mindmeister maps is a little long winded as I have to export to freemind and then import in this format.  This has resulted in some of the text links being omitted so I have to copy and paste these across (a big job when you consider the number of maps).

I want to ‘complete’ the maps ahead of #rethinkingict; however, I also realise that by their very nature they may never be completed.  My time over the next few weeks will be taken up with marking GCSE coursework so I would be grateful if others could continue to add to the maps – just let me know and I will convert to mind42 for you.

This work has taken a lot of time and I would be grateful of your comments letting me know if you are making use of the maps or if you have passed on the details to others.  Am I missing anything?  Can you contribute something?


One comment on “#digitalstudies resources & mindmaps

  1. Hi Nic,

    Unfortunately my experience with mindmapping software is fairly limited so unfortunately I can’t advise of any good ones. I do know of pearltrees – could try that as it does have a collaboration tool I think? With what I am thinking about with the first year of work for year 7 is to link each topic or even a lesson to a section on your mindmaps.

    As for the portfolios I think the best way to understand them is think about a pupils art book. In #digitalstudies a pupil will be creating essentially a portfolio of work throughout the year which ties in to a single over arching theme or project. So instead of in the past having different contexts for each topic (my dynamic learning resources from Pearson use a different context for every different spreadsheet task for instance).

    This means that during a year pupils will be working on a project such as ‘animating the story of beowulf’. Through that they will do short units on things like building a spreadsheet to store ticket information for the premiere of the animation (digital literacy) or editing images (digital authoring) or even a short few lessons on finding creative commons imagery and copyright law (digital society and digital authoring).

    This means pupils would not be focussing on one strand during a whole year but would be picking up from different areas and changing between them fairly rapidly. Your mindmaps would form the basis for ensuring everything is tied together and to a base of knowledge.


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