Each month, Philippe Lelong tells us about a digital tool that is useful for English teaching. This month, Mind42, an online collaborative tool for creating mindmaps. “Mind for two” opens up lots of possibilities for group and project work, since, as the saying goes “Two heads are better than one”.
Mind42 allows you to create and publish mind maps. It can be used by groups or individuals to organise everything you know on a given topic, listing information and connecting it with logical links. It is free to use online, on a computer, tablet or smartphone.
No installation is necessary, just open Mind42 in a web browser. Open a free account by giving your email address, and you can start creating as many mind maps as you want. You can work with others by inviting them to collaborate. Each person can then participate wherever and whenever it suits. You can publish the mind maps on a web page or export them as JPEG images or PDF documents, to print or include in a document or Powerpoint presentation.
For the Teacher
Mind42 is very intuitive and easy to use, so much so that when working with the whole class, it's possible to have a pupil fill in a video-projected mind map while you concentrate on distributing speaking time and encouraging pupils to participate orally. During group work, a whole series of mind maps can be being created at the same time, as each group works autonomously. Since the mind maps are published online, you can then easily project them for the whole class to pool ideas from the different groups and recap.
The teacher can also create skeleton mind maps to then share with groups of pupils, who have been invited to collaborate in the project. The teacher can then, from a distance, follow each pupil's contributions and act as moderator before content is published.
There is a "Revision" tool, a history of all the changes that have been made to a mind map, which allows you to go back to a previous version. This is especially useful in a teaching context, as it allows the teacher to see exactly how the group worked, and the stages they went through.
Teaching with Mind Maps
In teaching terms, mind maps are excellent for manipulating concepts and reformulating words and expressions and interconnecting them. They can also be used to introduce a theme or sort and order the items that are produced during a brainstorming session.
When starting work on a project such as an EPI, a shared, online mind map is an extra aid for giving the project structure, organising ideas and distributing tasks to different participants. It's also possible to use a Mind42 map to follow the progress of a project step by step. You can always go back and make changes, even weeks into a project, or go back to the original map to make changes or additions.
For the Pupils
As well as using Mind42 for a specific task assigned by the teacher, pupils can transfer the skills and techniques they have used in class for their own uses. They can recap what they have learned to help memorisation, create a plan for an essay or use mind maps to revise any subject.
Pupils are generally very comfortable with working collaboratively on shared documents. The service is free and easy to use, so can be adapted to different needs.
A Good Compromise
There are many different free online mind map generators. Each teacher will find the service that best suits the equipment available, their pupils and their teaching objectives. Many mind map generators don't offer such a variety of (useful) functions as Mind42. Some require installing an app. Others are more tactile and work well on tablets, but are less user-friendly on desktop computers. Of the tools available, Mind42 is a good compromise, which will happily take its place in teachers' and pupils' digital toolboxes.
Philippe Lelong est professeur au collège Anatole France, Les Pavillons sous Bois. et formateur, notamment dans le domaine du numérique.
> Mind maps : faciliter la compréhension et la mémorisation au collège
> Mind42 : créer des cartes mentales en ligne