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Thinking with Pictures is unique in providing support for a full range of visual tools including concept maps, mind maps, webs, trees, bubble maps and many other useful forms. Thinking with Pictures helps the learner deal with facts and knowledge, with memory and retrieval, with language and thinking and with individual and social forms of learning.
Introduction to the ideas behind concept mapping, visual thinking and mind mapping ®.
The human brain is the most sophisticated machine imaginable (or unimaginable). It weighs about 1.5 kgs and is composed of more than 50,000,000,000 nerve cells. Each of these nerve cells can form up to 10,000 connections to other nerve cells.
In the past 10 years, due to new scientific scanning techniques, brain researchers have learned more about the workings of the brain than they had discovered in the previous 100 years.
Instead of thinking about your brain as a 'single' thing, it is better to regard a brain as a group of specialised, interconnected and competing parts that reach majority decisions by 'voting'.
PET scanning is a newly developed brain imaging technique that can create three dimensional pictures of brain activity. Using it you can actually see how different parts of the brain specialise and work together to contribute to different tasks.
In everyday life, you are mostly unaware of how your mind works. You are all just too busy getting on with your life. To get a fleeting glimpse into the way your own mind works, why not try this simple experiment.
Read this chart. Are you reading the word, or saying the colour?
Could you feel different and 'competing' parts of your brain voting for attention with contradictory messages?
Your brain is a massive 'connection machine' driven by all your senses.
Your ideas and memories are patterns of connections. What makes you you is your special pattern of connections, built up piece by piece through memory of your experience over your entire lifetime.
Learning new things simply consists of being able to connect new ideas to the connections that represent what you already know. Scientists now understand that making sense of new ideas is actually this connection process in action. Learning is all about making connections, between what you already understand and new, unfamiliar ideas and concepts.
The ideas on these pages can help you understand how to think and learn in powerful new styles that naturally complement and echo the way your mind actually works. These visual thinking techniques are also known as concept mapping, visual learning and mind mapping ®.
Your brain is an amazing, powerful learning instrument. It is the most powerful learning tool in the known universe. And the more you use it, the better it works.
Visual Thinking (also known as concept mapping, visual learning and mind mapping ®) is the most effective and powerful way of learning. The way you learn, and subsequently remember, bears a strong relationship to the way your senses operate. The overwhelming proportion of your sensory learning is visual.
The use of visual maps, throughout history, has been associated with knowledge and power. A visual map is anything that shows you the way from one point to another, or from one level of understanding to another.
Symbols make it possible to present a great deal of visual information on a map in a very effective, space efficient way.
Visual maps are the key to understanding the organisation and structure of complex information. Maps are models of your thoughts, and so they are personal and differ from individual to individual. They can represent explicitly the way in which thoughts inter-relate. The act of constructing a map of your own is a key to crystallising your own understanding.
By creating connections you can assimilate, associate and retain new information more effectively than by using linear text.
Model mapping (also known as concept mapping, visual learning and mind mapping ®) is relevant to all learners, irrespective of their learning style or cognitive ability. Research suggests that learning styles seem to be developed primarily through socialisation, but it is also possible to teach and reflect upon learning styles. Model mapping provides a concrete productive medium for this to take place. The learning benefit from this is improved thinking skills and accelerated understanding.
Visual Mapping can be used to develop the four essential learning skills:
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