Teaching “kismet”

I love it when teaching “kismet” happens, when you accidentally find things that are useful right when you need them.   I’m teaching a workshop tomorrow on using wikis in the classroom, and today just by happenstance as I was reading through several blogs, I ran across three items about wikis that I’ll be sharing tomorrow.

Earlier today at the Communication Nation, I ran across this mind mapping tool, Wiki MindMap, that can be used with Wikipedia to outline any topic.  It opens up the topic map as you click on the subtopics, and is very cool.

Another thing I ran across quite by accident is this clever video explaining how wikis work, thanks to Sheryl at 21st Century Collaborative.

Sheryl pointed to Leigh Blackall, who first shared the video, and who also came up with this great quote to convey the usefulness of wikis to her students:  “Researching together is more effective than researching alone.”  

It struck me that we tend to think of research as a somewhat solitary activity (except for a few professions like science), and part of the paradigm shift for all of us with web 2.0 is to think about the effectiveness of utilizing our collective intelligence.  I think Leigh’s comment conveys that idea well and succinctly.

Anyway, all of these random finds will deepen my presentation tomorrow–so thanks, and hurray for serendipity!

3 thoughts on “Teaching “kismet”

  1. Wiki MindMap is very cool, I agree, and I had fun playing with it. But it raises a thought in my mind — a big part of the value of mind mapping is the process, isn’t it? The end result is useful for sure – for reviewing work, for plannning, and increasingly now for organizing information – but the act of mind mapping (or concept mapping) helps in comprehending the material, in generating new ideas or even in analyzing and thinking about stuff we already know but, perhaps, didn’t know we knew.

    There’s also the minor point that the mind map will reflect wiki editors’ thinking on the topic, not the thinking of the person using WikiMindMap, and the structure chosen for the Wiki article, which was probably not conceived in mind map form.

    I think other people’s mindmaps are always interesting, but that we should make our own mind map on a topic before looking for others – then the comparison tells us more.

    There’s a directory of 600 mindmaps from all over the web at
    mindmaps directory which is useful for students wanting to compare their mindmaps with others’.


  2. Roy, good points all.

    I was thinking of it as a tool to use with students to drill down into Wikipedia visually, since some of them may learn better that way.

    For example, I did a search on the Civil War, and it brought up many civil wars. I was able to click on the tab for “American Civil War” and move it to the center.

    So it showed me the connection between those ideas graphically. I thought that might be illuminating for students to see those connections, and to see visual ways to narrow their search.

    As far as mind mapping themselves, I see your point. Thanks also for the link to the mindmap site!

  3. > a tool to use with students to drill down into Wikipedia visually

    Good point … you’re right! On reflection, I realize that’s why I had fun playing with it.

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