Saturday, April 12, 2008

Research Tool

I am not one to avoid obcessions. My latest is inspired by studying my new membership in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Orient of Maryland, Valley of Baltimore. I have received my 32 degree, and am studying the meanings and history of the rituals and the Rite. For any Master Mason who is reading this, I recommend highly that you join the Scottish Rite. If you are interested in a new level of brotherhood, join the Scottish Rite. If you are interested in the more philosophical and esoteric aspects of Freemasonry, join the Scottish Rite. If you are in Maryland, let me know, and I'll see to it you get a petition.

In studying the information I was given, I was looking for an interesting way to take notes on my reading. I've always been one to want a system to make th
insert linkis more fun. I have found a very good one. It's called Mind or Concept Mapping. Mind Mapping was developed and copyrighted by Tony Buzan, and he offers a lot of information on it on line, including a good software package. Concept mapping was developed by several sources, but was brought together by David Novak and Alberto Canas. I am using C-tools, which is a free program being inplemented by the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition.

These systems, and I use them together, are great for note taking, because they are free form, and you don't have to fit things onto a line, and then have to try to insert information later. Information is put on the paper in "Nodes," which are connected into concepts or thoughts. These Nodes are integrated with mnemonic devices, such as pictures, videos, notes or hyperlinks to expand them and imprint them on your mind. The nodes are key words, with little to no elaboration, except in the notes and images. In university studies, people using mapping retained more than people using standard outline type note taking.

Mapping requires two main things: Interest and Organization. All memory systems require this, but this one is fun. Use colors, pictures, drawings by your own hand and organic shapes. Tony Buzan holds that the organic shapes refect the structure of your mind, which, according to him is radial, not linear. Few things in nature are linear.

I have included a map of my schedule for next week. In C-map, it can be updated or manipulated very easilly, and shared on line with anyone interested, and allowed by your own security settings.


Radcliffe said...

Hey G-Man. its all about the focus isnt it.

Gingerman said...


Argey said...

Can I make a couple of observations? Tony Buzan didn't copyright mind mapping, so we can all use it without fear of 'cease and desist' letters! But he did trademark the phrase (and some variations) in the USA and UK.

And Cmap is kinda free, but with some limits: it's for educational establishments, US government and individual non-commercial use only. They recently did a commercial deal with a company called Ceryph (or maybe they set the company up - not sure) and they rebadged it and sell it as "Insight".

I'm with you all the way on using both mindmapping(TM) and concept mapping(noTM). Many mappers stand by one or the other and seem prepared to defend their favorite to the death, but the two forms have different uses and places where they work best. They're both valuable tools.

There are many free mind mapping tools and some of them now allow collaboration on line, where teams can work together on the web. These run in a browser and don't need any software to be installed first.

There is another free concept mapping tool: Compendium, from the Open University in the UK.

The 3D information organizer

Gingerman said...

All true. I assumed, in this that most people would be acting as individuals. Possibly in error. C-map is fun. I haven't figured out Compendium yet. I use Freemind quite a bit. I'm also using Mindmeister to share simple maps with my family. We plan trips and housework projects with this, and update it individually.

Thanks for the observations.

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This blog is the thoughts of a Freemason. It's not affiliated with any Masonic body, and doesn't speak for Freemasonry in any sense of the word. My purpose is to raise questions, not dictate answers. If you read this blog, please comment; please subscribe, so we can look for answers to these questions together.