Friday, April 13, 2012

Mindjet (app for Android & iOS)


This app is available for both Android and iOS (ipod touch/iphone/iPad).
I think this app could be helpful for students brainstorming ideas for essays in a range of English courses (099-102).  You create a central 'bubble' in the app and then add related areas that can have their own ideas connected to them.  Attached lists can be collapsed to give a simplified view.  The app does not require active wifi, but maps can be shared over the network.

So far students have had a chance to use Mindjet in class and during proposal meetings.  Students will have one additional opportunity to use Mindjet during report meetings when we go over full drafts of their report.

What I have learned so far:

Mindjet use varied widely among students.  Some students created detailed bubble maps planning out the parts of their report.  Other students expressed reservations about the program and preferences for more traditional outlining.

Using a tablet during an individual student meetings is challenging.  During a typical meeting with a student I may be writing quick notes, comments on draft materials, answering question, and referencing handbook information on MLA style.  Quickly doing these range of activities is still easier for me without a tablet.

I'm curious to see if Mindjet is as useful for some students in the revision stage.  I should have more feedback about these last draft meetings just before finals.

Support Materials for Mindjet

As a part of preparing for using Mindjet in the classroom I gathered a couple of web resources to introduce the program.  I am including the urls along with how I introduced the application and tablet in class.

How Bubble Mapping can be used

This first link comes from the Purdue Online Writing Lab and describes how a bubble map can be used to help brainstorm and outline for a writing assignment.  I briefly mentioned some of the information in class and referenced the link.

Make a Bubble Map (

The second link is a web based bubble map creation tool.  I displayed the tool on the projector and briefly showed students how it worked.

Some class time was provided to review the information and experiment with the web based bubble map program.  Students were later provided with time during a different class period to use the android tablet and Mindjet program.

Monday, April 9, 2012

1) What have you found most interesting and/or useful in your use of the tablet thus far?

The favorite app for my CNA students has been a review of CNA certification exam. The app is easy to use and can be set as review or test. I have a few international students, they really like the practice with multiple choice questions.
I played clips on measuring blood pressure for individual students...although this is easily accomplished with the classroom computer and projector.

2) What challenge(s) have you experienced or do you foresee?

I found it time consuming to sort through multiple pages of apps to find one I thought would help my students.
I think it would be great if every student could have one. Must be able to have quality wireless reception. I could use the tablet easily at home, not as easily on campus.

3) What do you plan to explore or try out next?

I also encouraged my students to use the camcorder to record them practicing a skill in the lab and then they could review their performance and critique themselves using the skill guidelines. None of them wanted to do this; I would need to make this an assignment next time.

4) Describe (briefly) one idea for a "mini-app" that you'd like to have developed for you/your students

I would like to have a 'what's wrong with this picture' app that would show a nursing home setting with the ability to add safety risks. For example, the resident would be shown in bed, but the call light was not in reach or the brakes on the bed were not set. Students would then identify the risks. The app would allow administrator to select scenarios and 'risks' or 'errors' from a large menu, or to add their own.