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Mind maps are a type of diagram used to visually display information in a relational way. Typically they start with a central idea, denoted by a word and/or image. Concepts and ideas associated with the central topic radiate out from the central topic on branches. Further associations can then be added to those branches and so on, so that the main topic remains central and the more remote details or associations end up at the edges of the map. Mind maps are most effective when they incorporate the use of color and images, which stimulate the brain and aid in memory. They can be used to organize any type of information in any subject matter.
Mind maps can be useful for making decisions/problem solving, organizing ideas (your own or other peoples’), creative thinking, brainstorming, improving memory and imagination, and facilitating collaboration. Our Mind Mapping Handout (PDF) describes use ideas in more detail.
TAC has a small collection of mind-mapping and visual thinking books available for perusing in the faculty collaboration zone, located in 320B Waldo Hall. Feel free to curl up on the couch or in one of the comfy arm chairs available there and take a peek. Available books include:
The Mind Map Book by Tony and Barry Buzan
Idea Mapping by Jamie Nast
Mapping Inner Space by Nancy Margulies
Visual Thinking by Nancy Margulies
Visual Tools for Transforming Information into Knowledge by David Hyerle
If you're interested in creating mind maps digitally, there is a very broad range of existing mind mapping software available that vary in features and cost.
Wikipedia has a much more extensive list if you are interested in seeing more software options.