Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mind Maps

Did you ever wonder if there was a better way to take notes when learning something? A mind map is one of those ways.

A mind map is constructed by first writing the topic, or subject, in the centre of the page, with associated ideas then written on branches coming from the centre. Those ideas will have their own branches of ideas, and so on. Click here to see what one mind map looks like.

Tony Buzan, the inventor of the modern mind map, says that a mind map mirrors the way information is stored in the brain. This might not be far off since a mind map resembles a neuron in some ways, with the branches of the map as dendrites!

Brainstorming sessions are ideal for making mind maps of.

Traditionally, mind maps are done by hand. But with the capabilities of today's computer hardware and software, mind maps can just as easily be created on a computer. Where a hand drawn mind map will be limited in size by the size of the paper, a computer mind map will not have such limits (but maybe by the computer's memory, though!)

One notable software for creating mind maps is FreeMind, an open-source, freely downloadable software. FreeMind has convenient short-cut keys to quickly create the branches and sub-branches of a mind map.

Open source software, by the way, is software which has its programming code freely available and modifiable, and can usually be freely downloaded and copied (under an open source license). Since such software is worked on and tested by many developers, it is generally of high quality, rivaling similar, but proprietary, software. is a great place to find open source software.

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