When textbooks are a main component of learning of the curriculum, students must engage with the textbook content effectively to achieve success. If students don’t understand or choose not to engage with the way material is presented, they will struggle with assignments, homework, and assessments. Web tools and apps help teachers animate the content in textbooks and present the material in ways that every student can learn.

One way to animate the textbook content is to have learners create multimedia mind maps. Various web tools and apps provide features to help learners explore a topic with videos, images, podcasts, links to research, images, and more! Web tools such as Popplet, Mind42, and Bubbl.us get students to start with a central idea. This central idea is the topic they will explore and usually placed at the top center of the blank canvas. The central idea is often in larger font, placed in a colored box or circle called a node, or capitalized. For example, you may give students a project to research animals. The central idea is the name of the chosen animal.

Students create branches (lines) from the central topic to subtopics, details, and research. These details may include a fact, idea, description, associated person, example or other data. Students can add an icon, image, video, or drawing to help illustrate the written information. For example, a student may add a picture of the animal they are researching, a video of the animal in its habitat, or provide a link to an article about the animal. The ability to add various media helps learners make choices regarding the information they discover about the animal. Some students may want to draw their animal or its habitat, while another student may choose to write down many facts and add links to research to support these findings.

Encourage students to make their mind maps interactive for their peers by adding a game, video, podcast, or interactive. Peers exploring the mind map will be able to click then see a short video or play a game in which they discover more about the animal. Post the student mind maps on blogs, Wikis, Pinterest boards, or other virtual learning environments so all have access. These mind maps can be used for years to engage future students. Discover more tips, activities, web tools, apps, and assessment resources to get students creating their own mind maps to animate their textbooks.

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