Monday, January 30, 2012

Inspiration Software Introduces Visual Mapping for iPad

Leader in visual thinking and learning brings three decades of expertise to development of inspiration diagrams for iPad.
The leader in visual thinking and learning, Inspiration® Software, Inc., brings visual mapping and outlining to iPad™ with today’s announcement of Inspiration® Diagrams. This spring, Inspiration Diagrams will join the company’s award-winning family of tools based on proven learning methodologies that help students and educators think, learn, brainstorm, analyze and write.

With Inspiration Diagrams, students in grades 6-12 will improve their comprehension, critical-thinking and writing skills across the curriculum. Students can use the same mind-mapping and outlining tools they already know from Inspiration® and Webspiration Classroom™, such as RapidFire, to create visual diagrams and outlines that help them clarify thoughts, organize and analyze information, integrate new knowledge and learn to think critically.

When students create visual diagrams and plan projects with Inspiration Diagrams, they learn and demonstrate critical-thinking skills, cross-curricular literacy and writing skills that are delineated in the new, widely adopted Common Core State Standards.

“The engaging, visual learning environment provided by Inspiration Diagrams on iPad provides the perfect tool set for thinking and learning through diagrams, outlines and graphic organizers,” said Mona Westhaver, president and co-founder, Inspiration Software. “Whether students are using it on the school bus, sitting at home or in the classroom, Inspiration Diagrams helps them develop important thinking and writing skills that are requisite for success in school and in life.”

Educators around the country who tested early versions of Inspiration Diagrams with their students had high praise for the app.

“How exciting to be able to use Inspiration, my all-time favorite application for brainstorming and visualizing, on iPad,” said Brian S. Friedlander, Ph.D., assistive technology consultant and editor of the AssistiveTek blog. “Inspiration Diagrams for iPad is easy and intuitive to use. I, for one, will add this to my list of favorite apps and will include it as part of my app toolkit that I will share with other educators as I do in-service programs and training.”

“I am pleased with how easy it is to use Inspiration Diagrams with my fifth- and sixth-grade students,” said Renee Ramig, director of technology, Seven Hills School, Walnut Creek, Calif. “And, since Inspiration Diagrams does not require WiFi, I know I can implement it throughout the school without consuming additional network bandwidth.”

Inspiration Diagrams Lite, an abridged version of Inspiration Diagrams, will be available for free in the App Store in March. Inspiration Diagrams will be available for purchase for $29.95 for a single download in April. Pricing for volume purchases will be available by contacting Inspiration Software at

To learn more about Inspiration Software, visit, find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at In addition, educators from around the world can connect and share their passion for learning strategies and education on the company’s blog, Thinkspiration, at

Turn the iPad®  into a Knowledge Creation resource with Inspiration®  Diagrams

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mind Mapping for Focus

For anyone who finds planning, memorizing, or making decisions a little daunting, mind maps make this process easier. Mind mapping is similar to brainstorming or outlining ideas, and has been shown to improve memory, solve problems, and help people understand and organize large chunks of info. This technique can help make connections between two dissimilar topics, which can add depth to your subject.

If you're a writer, or have a writing assignment, mind mapping may also help you write faster, break through writer's block, or even come up with a topic. Research has shown that students can perform 10% better on tests and assignments when they use mind mapping. You can also use these for your daily life, career planning, or work assignments. Basically, mind maps help you in any area where you need to organize more than a couple basic pieces of information.

These are easy to make. To start, simply write your primary topic on a blank sheet of paper. From this primary topic, draw lines (arrows, boxes, or whatever you desire) to the important categories. Draw pictures next to them if you'd like; this can help with memory.

Begin making subtopics under the categories. Brainstorm, use free association, and don't be afraid to include silly things. Add more categories and subtopics as necessary. This is for your use only. You're finished when you can think of nothing else to add, though you'll often find that if you come back to what you've done, you'll have more to add.

Once you're finished, you can rewrite it neatly or color code the whole map. Review what you've written, and give some thought to the conclusions you've come to. If you still feel overwhelmed, put the map aside and come back to it in a few hours or the next day.

It's important not to let the mind map stall your progress. Once you've created one and you know where to go, be sure to act on it! Make a plan of action or to-do list. Don't let your hard work be for nothing.

You can choose to make your mind maps in your journal, or another place you know you will refer to frequently. Or you can write them on whatever scrap paper is close to hand and file them away. I print a lot of sheets, and I like to do mine on the back of these. Recycling. Sort of.

Another tip: to place completed maps in a three ring binder so that you'll know exactly where to find them for later use.

Mind maps are an excellent way to generate a lot of ideas without being hung up on structure. Once you finish, you can review everything you wrote, then focus on creating something using your strongest ideas.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Android will be the platform of choice for developers, study says

Google's Android will become the preeminent platform for developers over the next 12 months, edging ahead of Apple's iOS, according to a study by research firm Ovum. Nearly all developers, however, will support both platforms.

Ovum's call comes as Android continues to suck up market share, with more companies using the platform to crank out a wave of mobile devices. While iOS has seen its market share growth slow in the recent years, it has always been seen as a more lucrative location for developers to make money. As a result, most apps came to iOS first, and the other platforms second.

That, however, could all change in the coming months, Ovum said. Android's prevalence is getting hard to ignore, and developers have incorporated new business models such as advertising and in-app purchases to spur revenue.

Ovum also said there is growing developer interest in Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS. The results come as both Microsoft and Research in Motion attempt to woo developers over to their respective camps.

"The growing momentum behind Windows Phone indicates that Microsoft has managed to convince developers that its platform is worthy of investment; its challenge now is to persuade consumers," said Ovum analyst Adam Leach.

The study also said developers are abandoning mobile-centric development tools such as Java, Flash and WAP, and moving to HTML5, a Web-based standard that can run across multiple devices and platforms.


Friday, January 20, 2012

The Pros and Cons of Practical Mind Mapping

The best way to have a look at the pros and cons of practical mind mapping is to compare it with regular mindmaps and computer mindmaps. Practical Mind Mapping is a practical system that can be used on a computer but on paper as well.

The first thing that people who learn about practical mind mapping tell me is that it is so easy to use it. They (literally) create overviews in less than one minute. And this one overview helps them during the entire week, or even longer!

What areas in your life do you use it?

Many people use mindmaps in one of these three areas: personal, academic/educational and professional/business. Most people use mindmaps for note taking. This can be straightening out their thoughts, taking business notes or during a lecture or meeting. All three kinds of mapping (traditional, computer and practical) can be used in these situations.

There is a big difference when you use your maps for studying. Traditional maps rely heavily on images and colorful branches. This is often also done with computer maps. Practical mindmaps don't use (m)any images. They use colors to create a memorable overview. Using only colors and no images may sound not good enough when creating visual overviews, but the maps really do stick in your mind! The pro of the practical map is definitely the easiness in which you create the maps. A con could be that the map is not that 'picture' like as a traditional mindmap user would like it to be.

Speed of implementation!

Have you ever created a mindmap? The people I interviewed told me that it usually takes a lot of time to create a traditional or computer mindmap. Especially the images! Most people who stop mind mapping tell me that this is because it takes too much time to mindmap.

One of the techniques used in the practical mind mapping system is the one minute mindmap. Yes, in less than one minute, you create a mindmap. This map shows you then exactly what you need to know. A con of this could be that you miss certain information. The people I trained to use this system never experienced this. And let's be honest... every system can have this con:).

Actually using the maps

When you create a traditional mindmap, when you are done, you're done. The map is ready and will only be reviewed. This is fine for some purposes. Yet most of the time, you want the map to reflect the current state or desired situation. You want the information in the map to be alive and ready to grow with you!

The computer mindmap allows you to do this since those maps outline themselves automatically when you change them.

A practical mindmap will do that on your computer (of course), but also on paper! This makes it the ideal tool to use the information, to update it and to make it reflect the current status of your notes, meeting, project, etc.

Overall, practical mindmaps are tools that help you especially well in situations like project management, personal development, goal setting, studying and thought capturing. They may not be that easily used in presentations (due to their personal nature).

The next time you are looking for an easy tool to help you capture lots of information, thoughts and ideas, have a look at practical mind mapping. It will save you time and help you move forward.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MindNode Is a Mind Mapping App that Makes Brainstorming Simple and Easy

Mac/iOS: Regardless of the type of work that you do, brainstorming is an important part of generating new ideas and new approaches to getting your work done more efficiently. Mind mapping  is a brainstorming technique that helps you get all of your interconnected thoughts out in a diagram, and there are a number of complicated tools designed to help you do it. MindNode for Mac and iOS is pricey, but it's one of the best tools we've seen for the job.
MindNode is like many other mind mapping applications: you create visual "nodes" that represent ideas, topics, tasks or steps in a process, anything you want to get down on paper. Then you can draw lines between those individual ideas or steps and their logical related ideas and steps, or things you have to do in order to make your idea reality. MindNode simply makes the process of building your mind map less of an exercise in finding the right tools or menu options required to draw lines between items and more an opportunity to just get your thoughts out and connect them easily.

The app supports dragging and dropping images and files from your desktop into your mind map, and supports Mac OS's Quick Look on those files, so if you add a document to a node, you can highlight it and press space to preview it. Plus, MindNode supports most popular file formats, so you don't have to worry that an image or document you want in your mind map won't be visible.

MindNode is available for free in the Mac App Store. For $19.99 you can get MindNode Pro, which offers additional features like full-screen mode, visual file links, additional images, and more. If you'd prefer to brainstorm on the go, MindNode for iOS is available for $9.99 in the iTunes App Store.

Video: Mind-mapping with MindNode



Monday, January 16, 2012

Googling Using Mind Maps

Whenever I want to learn something new I just fire up my browser and start googling. The wealth of information that floods into my browser can sometimes be overwhelming. There are usually tons of new terms and ideas that I've never heard of before. To keep from drowning in this sea of information I use mind maps to help me sort, breakdown and analyze my information. I stumbled onto this technique a couple of years ago at the height of the financial crises. I would read articles mentioning: "mortgage back securities", "credit default swaps", "collateralized debt obligation" and many more terms that I didn't have a clue what they meant. I started searching the internet and became buried in an avalanche of confusing information. Frustrated, I finally built a set of features in MindApp that allowed me to put the googled information into a mind map. Using the mind map like a set of structured notes I was quickly able to get a much better handle on the mess we were (are) really in. To see a snippet of this mind map click here.

As I discover new things, I copy and paste them into a mind map. Sometimes the map is organized into predefined categories but most often it grows organically and serendipitously. As the map grows I'm continuously reorganizing it. It lets me to see the big picture at a glance and is great way to see how the all the stuff fits together. It also gives me clues on what I might be missing and lets me keep track of where I've been.

The mind mapping software that you use should have several special features. First, you obviously need to be able to quickly and easily copy and paste from your browser into your mind map. Secondly, you will need to be able to copy and paste large amounts of text (maybe an entire article) into your mind map. Third, you don't want to lose the hyperlinks that are embedded within the copied text. Finally, the mind mapping software should keep track of the source web page of the copied text. MindApp which is mind mapping software free for non commercial use  has of all these features and has a video showing you how to use them.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Two excellents books about Mind Maps

I read those two books, very great to know more about this powerful tool.

First, How to Mind Map by Tony Buzan

A practical pocket guide that teaches you how to Mind Map with ease from Tony Buzan, the inventor of the Mind Map. Mind Maps(R) are the ultimate thinking tool for maximizing your brainpower and radically improving your performance. Mind Mapping is a revolutionary system of planning and note taking that has changed the lives of millions of people all over the world.

How to Mind Map is the definitive guide to Mind Maps brought to you by their inventor Tony Buzan. This practical pocket guide explains everything you need to know about Mind Maps and shows how they make it easy to: Get started on and plan a project / Think up brilliant ideas / Remember things / Save time.

Second, The Mind Map Book: How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain's Untapped Potential

Your brain is a super bio-computer that dwarfs any machine on the market. If you understand how it works and how to work with it, you can employ and enjoy astonishing powers of learning, memory, concentration, and creativity in planning and structuring thought on all levels. Now, in The Mind Map Book, Tony and Barry Buzan have provided a comprehensive operating manual for all who want to use their brains to their fullest potential. Mind Mapping and Radiant Thinking, the revolutionary new method of accessing heretofore untapped intelligences, was developed by world-famous brain-power expert Tony Buzan by analyzing original breakthrough scientific insights into the workings of the brain. It is a process currently used with extraordinary success by multinational corporations, leading universities, champion athletes, and outstanding artists.

The Mind Map Book is the only book that both explains the fundamental operation of the brain in terms of its thinking processes and explains how to unleash and harness its power. This remarkable book clearly and concisely describes how your brain actually stores and processes all the information that pours into it. Then, with the aid of vivid diagrams and exciting, easy-to-follow exercises, it shows you precisely how to mirror and magnify your brain's pattern of perception and association in the way you learn, think, and create...and have it serve as the tool you need to succeed in business as well as in school, in the studio, in sports, in your love life and other relationships; quickly master the right way to take notes, organize a speech, a writing assignment, a report; and join with others to pool thinking productively, memorize a mammoth amount ofdata, free your ideas to grow and expand constantly in depth and dimension. On another level, you will see how the great thinkers, scientists, and artists of the past and present have utilized the principles of Mind Mapping and Radiant Thinking.

You can check or get those books at Amazon:
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