Open Thinkering


Tag: mindmap

How to focus in the age of distraction. [GRAPHIC]

How to focus in the age of distraction

(click on image for larger version hosted on author’s website)

I came across the above diagram on Google+ recently. Having not posted much about productivity recently, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share something I’ve found really helpful.

What I like about this is that it’s colourful, immediately obvious, and includes some stellar advice! πŸ™‚

The author, Sharon Genovese of Learning Fundamentals, asks for a donation if you’d like to use any of her (awesome) mindmaps.

Speaking in Lolcats: What Literacy Means in teh Digital Era

In 2009, Stephen Downes gave several presentations entitled Speaking in Lolcats. He put forward three theses:

  1. That New Media is a new vocabulary (and therefore people canΒ literally speak in Lolcats)
  2. That languages can be understood analytically through a semantic framework
  3. That 21st century skills are languages (not just content + skills + tools)

Of particular interest are the six elements of ‘literacy in teh digital era’ identified by Downes:

  • Syntax
  • Semantics
  • Pragmatics
  • Cognition
  • Context
  • Change

The talk is just over an hour with another twenty minutes or so of Q&A. Well worth listening to with the slides in front of you. Doug’s mindmap notes are here.

The ambiguity of new literacies [mindmap]

The great thing about having a weekly slot for my Ed.D. thesis on this blog is that it forces me to produce things that I would otherwise forget about or not action. One such thing is the above mindmap (click here to enlarge) – which I’ve produced to help me with the section of my thesis I’m currently writing on the ambiguity of new literacies. πŸ™‚

My Ed.D. thesis concept map on ‘Digital Literacy’

This concept map took me ages. So long, in fact that I’ve no big long words or energy left to pad out this blog post longer than it needs to. Suffice it to say that the references on it can be found on my wiki. πŸ™‚

I created the concept map using XMind, which is Open Source, cross-platform software that allows you to upload and collaborate. I found it very easy to use and would recommend it as a perfect blend of online and offline functionality! πŸ˜€

I’ve been asked under what license I’m releasing this mindmap. Here’s my answer:
Creative Commons License
Digital Literacy Ed.D. thesis concept map by Doug Belshaw is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

5 ways to make ‘textbook lessons’ more interesting

The Teacher's Toolkit

Update: I’m no longer in the classroom but would highly recommend Paul Ginnis’ Teacher’s Toolkit: Raise Classroom Achievement with Strategies for Every Learner. I’ve found it extremely helpful to my own practice and when mentoring student teachers!


When I started my teaching career I worked myself into the ground. Determined not to just use textbooks as a prop, I did ‘proper’ lesson plans for every single lesson and didn’t use more than a single page of a textbook (tops!) per lesson. I’ve come to realise that textbooks can be your friend. Here’s some suggestions to make lessons based around them more interesting…

Continue reading “5 ways to make ‘textbook lessons’ more interesting”

Thesis proposal mindmap

I’m coming back this week to my thesis proposal in order to try and get it finished off during the Easter holidays. My supervisor said of my last effort that it included some interesting ideas, but it was not coherent enough nor did it have a logical enough progression.

To help make it better, I’m deconstructing what I’ve written so far so that I can organise it better and add extra material. The following mindmap will help with this:

Thesis proposal mindmap

Some ideas about the structure of my thesis proposal essay

A few months ago when I had to submit an outline for my thesis proposal essay, I indicated that I wanted to look at ‘changing conceptions of, and reactions to, the nature of knowledge by educational institutions.’ My feeling was (and still is) that, as George Siemens so aptly put it in Knowing Knowledge,?

Knowledge has broken free from its moorings, its shackles.

The five questions I framed initially I know think are a little broad: instead I intend to focus on where stimulii for change originate, examples of how changes have taken place in schools, and then what changes can be expected in the future (short to medium-term). This would allow me to discuss ideas surrounding the changing nature of knowledge, the role of educational technology and the structure of a 21st-century curriculum.?

The work that I have done since September, both on my blog and the reading I have done specifically for my Ed.D., has shown me that there is a fundamental difference between ‘education’ and ‘schooling’. The former is an ideal, something almost Platonic in form, whereas the latter is the practical implementation of more abstract ideas, subject to multitude pressures from varying angles. It is important not to confuse these two notions, especially when talking about the ‘purpose’ of each.

A lot of what happens in education depends on how conceptions of society, knowledge, human nature and varying degrees of optimism as to what extent the existing (fairly delicate) status quo can be maintained. For it is this stability that educational institutions strive for, over and above creativity, inspirational teaching and motivating students to become lifelong learners. Upon reflection, this has to be the case given that schooling is compulsory and schools do not, in reality, face the same market pressures as commercial entities.

Thesis Proposal Mindmap

The work I’ve done in trying to synthesize (some of) my research so far is here.

(I’ve been using the Open Source program FreeMind to do my mindmapping – I’m still getting to grips with it…)?