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teaching professional people english

Mindmapping – get tooled up

I don’t know about you, but I love mind maps.  They appeal to my sense of aesthetics, and make learning stuff more enjoyable than would otherwise be the case.   Because of this, I am a big Tony Buzan fan.  Today’s post is really an invitation to anyone reading this blog to check out his brilliant website and be inspired to learn to do it if they don’t already know how.

First up, a wonderful gallery page.  I shall be looking at this with students in a couple of days.  The examples are so inviting that I’m sure that I shall be able to coax them to verbalise in complete sentences….  http://www.tonybuzan.com/gallery/mind-maps/

There is a brilliant article giving a few pointers which you can visit here;   http://www.tonybuzan.com/about/mind-mapping/  which will inspire you, I’m sure, to download the free software.  This is available for PC, Mac, or Linux.  Extremely attractive, it does have its drawbacks.  Firstly, it takes up a lot of space.  Secondly, I have not found it to be ideal as a vehicle for vocabulary sets – my principal use for this sort of thing.

Software for PC

‘Time management ninja’, a blog I read regularly, has two insightful articles about mind mapping which you can visit here and there.  Craig’s succinct take on the subject is spot on.  Alas, the software he recommends is pricy (I looked) although superior to the free offerings I’ll be suggesting in a moment.  The paid-for packages have ‘drag and drop’ functions and so on – stuff you don’t get for nothing.  That said, I thoroughly recommend two programmes which you can easily download and try….


My personal favourite.  Blumind allows me to print a mindmap on a single sheet of A4, preferable to finding that my thoughts are spread across two sheets with words cut down the middle.  I use it to concoct vocabulary lists for students on technical courses especially.  A mind map enables me to escape pressing demands for translation.   Maps can be exported as JPEG, GIF or whatever.  What’s not to like?… well, it’s not the Tony Buzan package with colours’n’all, but you can’t have everything.

get blumind here


Not as ergonomic as the previous offering, Freemind also allows anyone with a PC to design mind maps.  I don’t find it to be as attractive or easy to use, and it’s just not good to print with.  On the other hand, making the mind map is the whole point very often, and this software has lots of emoticons and pictures you could use, so you may find it’s just what you wanted.

get free mind here

Watch out for more posts on mind maps.  I can feel a theme coming on!


About Catherine Kennedy

Second year undergrad (super-mature) at Sheffield Uni doing single honours Religion, Theology, and the Bible. (Formerly TEFL teacher in France)

5 comments on “Mindmapping – get tooled up

  1. Pingback: Mindmapping updates maart 2012 | Henk-Jan van der Klis

  2. Pingback: How To Build A Mind Map « Wisdom Within Coaching

  3. Pingback: Week 4: Tell Me Something I Don’t Know « Months of madness

  4. Geoff PHILLIPS

    Hi Catherine
    Like you I teach English in France – I also use Mind Maps for teaching vocabulary.
    I find them very useful.
    Geoff PHILLIPS

    • Catherine

      Hi Geoff
      I’m glad you like the post – would you like to write a guest article about your work with mind maps? I know that you’ve found ways of using them which go beyond what I’ve mentioned here..

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