Tether to the Rescue

Glad that it is Friday! It has been a long week of teaching, and training and am looking forward to some down time this weekend. Since I often do most of my training in the schools I generally have access to there WiFi network and can jump right on. This past week it was a bit of hassle to get me on their wireless network but I came prepared and used Tether and my BlackBerry Curve to access the internet. Within seconds I was connected to the web and was able to access all of the sites that I needed to. The page downloads were acceptable considering that I was working in a classroom with a lot of brick and mortar. In any case if you haven't heard of the application Tether, you should check it out. It is available for Macs and PC's.

The Many Uses for Mind Maps

I have a number of training workshops coming up in the next couple of weeks and what better way to plan them out then with a mind map. Using a mind map gives you the ability to get your ideas down and then gives you the flexibility to move your ideas around as you survey the landscape. When I first open up the mind map I quickly to a "brain dump" on the topics I plan to cover and once that is in place, I can begin to see how all the pieces fit together. It gives me a great deal of freedom knowing that I have complete control of how to structure the day by getting a snap shot of the activities and topics planned. Once I have decided on my topics I often will turn on the numbering feature which lets me take a look at the sequence of events.

If I plan on using web sites in my training session I will attach a hyperlink to the activity. Likewise, I will often add notes to my mind map which can provide additional information to my participants on a topic that I will be covering. But the real benefit of using a mind map for the development of my training sessions is that when I am done I can quickly turn my map into a Word document which becomes an easy to use handout for the session. Both MindManager 8 & MindView 3 have excellent Microsoft Word integration for exporting your mind maps to a visually pleasing Word document. For those colleagues of mine who are more visual they get the mind map on the front page of the handout right before the Table of Contents. One of the advantages of building my training handout in a mind mapping tool is that the Table of Contents is linked to the contents. By Control clicking on an entry in the Table of Contents the user is automatically taken to the topic in the body of the handout. All of the web links are carried over as well, which makes it very easy for my participants to go to those sites during the class. In my effort to go green, I have created a number of Google Sites which then allows me to upload my handout to.

For those of you who use Adobe Acrobat you can quickly convert your Word handout to a PDF which protects your materials. You should note that all of the links in your document are maintained which gives the user a very good experience as they interact with your handout.

All in all, using mind maps to prepare and plan for training sessions has been just one more way that I have found to use mind maps in the course of my professional work. When you are done planning you can quickly turn them into highly interactive handouts that your participants will enjoy using.

If you would like to learn more about how you can benefit from your investment in a mind mapping program send me an email. I can provide you with personal coaching and demonstrate to you all of the ways you can use your mind mapping application so you can get ahead of the pack.

Using PaperShow in a Training Workshop

Yesterday I had the opportunity to work with high teachers to teach them how they could use SOLO 6 in their classrooms to make the curriculum more accessible. Knowing that I would be doing the training in their computer lab, I brought along PaperShow so that I could use it as a digital flip chart to share information that needed to be communicated. The teachers were very excited to see how I was using PapaerShow and immediately wanted to know how they could use it in their classrooms. Many of the teachers were very excited to see how it could be used to convey information and when I shared with them that the notes could be saved as a PDF or PowerPoint I really got their attention. Many of the teachers that I was working with have access to computer and LCD projector and could take advantage of PaperShow in their classrooms. You can see one of the notes that was captured above, with PaperShow during the training session. I have come to rely on PaperShow when I am doing workshops and now consider it to be a part of my traiing toolkit.

Tony Buzan Brings His Mind Mapping Techniques to the U.S.



Best Selling Author, Lecturer, Consultant To Tour US Cities

NEW YORK, NY—APRIL 4, 2010—In a career that has spanned decades, Tony Buzan has helped millions around the world to improve their professional and personal lives by improving decision making, unlocking their creativity and enhancing their memory skills with Mind Mapping techniques.

Now Tony is bringing his program to the United States.

A best selling author and consultant to major international corporations, Tony will host workshops and seminars in New York, Minneapolis and San Francisco May 3 to 18, where he will describe The ThinkBuzan System.

Course attendees will learn how to work creatively, generate innovative new ideas, deliver dynamic and engaging presentations, improve their organisation and planning skills, and enhance their training repertoires with a system that has been developed over 40 years of experience.

Mind Maps, which Tony invented in the 1970s, are now used by over 250 million people worldwide. He is a consultant for businesses and government organisations all over the world, including IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Walt Disney, Boeing, BP, HSBC, and the BBC.

The royal families of Bahrain and Liechtenstein and global media personalities and prominent world figures have benefited from using his techniques.

After a presentation by Buzan at HSBC’s headquarters, Anne Ewing, the bank’s Head of Learning & Development , said that “he held the audience spellbound as he challenged, confronted and tested our collective assumptions about how adults learn. His complete mastery of his subject shone through... He is an extraordinary teacher and communicator”.

In 2008 Tony received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Creativity Association (ACA). Forbes Magazine has named Tony one of five top international speakers, along with Mikhail Gorbachev, Henry Kissinger and Margaret Thatcher, and reported that “Buzan shows corporate executives how to hotwire their creative energies.”

He has authored or co-authored over 100 books on the brain, which have been translated into 33 languages and published in over 150 countries. During the US tours, he workshops and seminars will be co hosted by Chris Griffiths, ThinkBuzan’s CEO and author of ‘Mind Maps for Business’.

The ThinkBuzan System is built around a number of cutting edge techniques that address key areas such as; working creatively to generate new ideas and innovative solutions, combating information overload, dealing easily with an overwhelming workload, making correct decisions quickly, and thinking strategically and setting goals to boost personal and business development.

Tony’s US Tour events are an ideal opportunity for all executives, consultants, trainers and managers, anyone working n education, marketing and PR, or human resources and development to sharpen their professional skills.


For Editors
Testimonials About Tony Buzan and the Think Buzan System

“Tony didn’t invent the brain. He did invent the instructions”.
-John Husbands, Institute of Management

Tony has been described as “a mesmerizing speaker” by Stephen Lundin, author of the five-million-copy bestselling ‘FISH!’, who went on to say that “in a few hours he communicated to a business audience the practical portion of what I had spent four years studying.”

Raymond Keene, of The Times newspaper in London, declared that “Tony Buzan will do for the brain what Stephen Hawking did for the universe... there can be no clearer or more effective mental tool”. Maurice Gavin, Chairman of The Institute for Management Studies, said, "Tony Buzan, the father of Mind Mapping, has impacted millions with his thinking and toolset. I am not only a huge fan, but also a devout user of his Mind Mapping thinking process."

Leon Sadler, vice president for professional services at FICO, stated the true power of Tony’s process: “I’ve relied on Mind Maps in my work with the world’s premier technical knowledge-based organizations, including Accenture, IBM and now FICO, a leader in analytics and decision management. I have passed on my enthusiasm to my co-workers and kids, and enjoy watching a new generation of Mind Mappers develop.”

TONY BUZAN—Biographical Highlights
• Recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Creativity Association (ACA).
• Founder of the World Memory Championships.
• Founder of the World Speed Reading Championships. Previous editor of the international journal of MENSA, the High IQ Society.
• Waterstones bookshops and the Express Newspaper group have recently selected one of Tony's books, 'Use Your Head', as one of the 1000 greatest books of the past millennium.

• Tony Buzan:
• ThinkBuzan Ltd:
• The ThinkBuzan System & The US Tour:


CS Odessa Releases Japanese Language Version of ConceptDraw MINDMAP


ODESSA, Ukraine, April 20, 2010 – CS Odessa ( originator of ConceptDraw MINDMAP an industry leading mind mapping product and part of ConceptDraw’s powerful business suite, ConceptDraw Office, is now available with a Japanese language interface. All of the supported language interfaces are available to users inside of a single product, there is no need to download and install a separate product for each language variation. Customers do not have to wait to see how support for their language will roll out, all supported language interfaces are released at the same time. ConceptDraw MINDMAP for Macintosh supports English, German, French, and Japanese (new) languages; ConceptDraw MINDMAP for Windows supports English, German, French, Russian (new) and Japanese (new) languages. Plus, ConceptDraw MINDMAP has many language dictionaries built-in the product to support map content in languages such as Spanish and Portuguese.

“By localization of ConceptDraw MindMap to Japanese we are demonstrating our commitment to that important market and ensuring that our Japanese customers have access to all of the powerful functionality contained in our product,” said Yuriy Varbanets, Product Manager for ConceptDraw MINDMAP. “By having all of the available language interfaces in a single product we go a long ways towards eliminating any pricing penalties on a group of users because of their language preference.”

All customers of ConceptDraw MINDMAP version 6 can receive a no charge update to the new language interfaces by downloading the most recent version of the product available on the CS Odessa website.


The ConceptDraw product line for Macintosh and Windows is comprised of:

ConceptDraw Office

Powerful integrated productivity software suite that allows one to plan, do and manage any process or project

ConceptDraw PRO

Diagramming and drawing software

ConceptDraw MINDMAP

Brainstorming tool that utilizes mind mapping techniques to help organize ideas and tasks

ConceptDraw PROJECT

Professional project management software

ConceptDraw WebWave Plug-in

Software for creating professional diagrams and drawings for website development

ConceptDraw NetDiagrammer Plug-in

Network and system design


Founded in 1993, Computer Systems Odessa supplies cross-platform productivity tools and graphics technologies to professional and corporate users. With headquarters in Odessa, Ukraine and an office in California, USA, CS Odessa sells products in over 120 countries. To learn more about CS Odessa, please visit:

Boogie Board- New Age Etch A Sketch

I received a Boogie Board to review a couple of days ago and have been using it ever since. The Boogie Board reminds me of my youth when I would spend endless hours using my Etch a Sketch to draw and write my name. Luckily for me, the Boogie Board doesn't require as much coordination but the best part of it is that it is easy to use and I know that students and teachers will really enjoy using them. You see, the Boogie Board is a LCD Writing Tablet. You can write on it with the supplied stylus or with your finger nail. The Boogie Board has a dark black background and when you write on it your image appears in a greenish hue. Once you start using it you will find it hard to put it down. It is the perfect device for students for writing down ideas and for doodling. In the classroom it can replace student whiteboards or the traditional chalk boards that students might use to respond to teacher questions. One of the benefits of using the Boogie Board is that there is no chalk dust or need to use markers. One of the coolest features is that after you have written on the Boogie Board you can press the button on the top of the tablet and everything vanishes. You will find the Boogie Board easy to use and the feel of the stylus on the tablet is intoxicating. So if you are looking for Green technology to replace your paper pads then be sure to check out the Boogie Board.

Inspiration 9 Adds Mind Mapping

As a long time Inspiration user, I was really excited to see that the with the release of Inspiration 9 that you could now create traditional Buzan style mind maps. To get start creating a mind map in Inspiration 9 you simply select Map from the Starter screen. Once your mind map opens you have access to all the tools that you would have if your were creating a traditional graphic organizer in Inspiration. The mind maps in Inspiration 9 do have that organic Buzan style to them but there are lots of ways to use color to bring your map to life. To get started you simply enter your topic for the map into the central idea. By default four branches are populated for you and you are ready to begin to add ideas to flesh out your mind map. To create new branches you can use the familiar RapidFire tool or if you like you can simply click on the plus sign (+) to create another one. You can also quickly add graphics from the Inspiration Library to really spruce up your mind map. Remember if you don't see an image that you want you can always search for one by entering a keyword into the Search box in the Library window. As long as you are connected to the Internet you will be able to search the Inspiration Image Library to find just the right image you were looking for.

One of the benefits of using a mind map is the ease in which you can move ideas around in the map. This is particularly handy after doing a brainstorming session to figure out how the ideas should be organized and arranged. If you are in the mind mapping mode you can select ideas and drop and move them where you like. It is also possible to create relationship between ideas and visually show them with connecting lines. Building on the strong set of tools, Inspiration 9 continues to shine as a all around concept mapping tool and with the addition of a mind mapping mode you have more options to visually get your ideas across. For more information visit the Inspiration web site.

New Version of Google Docs on the Way

It was great to read that there is a new version of Google Docs on the way. One of the areas that we will see a big improvement in is in the area of collaboration. There have been times when I am actively editing a shared document and some of the changes that my colleagues are making took a long time to show up. It looks like Google has remedied this and some other issues. Here is a video explaining some of the new features we can expect to see.

Keep you eye out for the release of this new version the first week in May.

iSpeech - Text to Speech Services

Today I was reading the weekend edition of the Star-Ledger and came across an interesting article about Enterprise Development Center, a high-tech incubation center, which is located on the campus of New Jersey Institute of Technologist. In the article the writer highlighted a company called iSpeech, that provides text to speech services in the cloud. I went over to iSpeech to see what they are about and they offer a full range of text to speech services which could be indispensable for educators that need to convert text into audio. Once I signed up for the free service I was able to convert and upload some Microsoft Word files to test out the service. The conversion process was straight forward with an easy to use interface. Once the file was converted I was able to download it as a mp3 file and play it in iTunes. There are lots of interesting ways that teachers could use this tool to support students with reading disabilities in the classroom. So give it a try and let me know what you think. For more information go to iSpeech. Click on the player below to get a sense of the text to speech quality.

Vernier Releases LabQuest Mini

I have always been a big fan of the use of probeware in the classroom and firmly believe that when teachers use these digital tools, that students gain a deeper understanding of the scientific concepts and principles they are studying. Probeware helps students to visualize scientific phenomena which would otherwise be difficult to explain. Having a visual representation of the data is crucial for students and gives them another avenue for understanding the information at hand. Over the years I have used a number of different devices from Vernier and I am glad to share with you that they recently released the LabQuest Mini. The LabQuest Mini is a small lightweight device the plugs directly into the computer that accepts both digital and analog probes. The LabQuest Mini has 5 sensor ports which is accept a range of probes. The LabQuest Mini is powered by the USB port and does not require any batteries or adaptes which makes it the perfect companion for today's netbooks. The LabQuest Mini is compatible with over 50 Vernier probes and ships with Logger Lite to get your students up and running to collect, analyze, and chart data. The LabQuest Mini can also be used with Logger Pro for those times when you need more advanced tool set.

Setting up the LabQuest Mini was a breeze. I simply updated my version of Logger Pro from the internet and plugged in the LabQuest Mini into the USB port on my laptop and within seconds I was collecting temperature and grip strength. The set up could not have been easier with the LabQuest Mini and it size and functionality are certainly going to be two factors that will make schools very pleased with this offering from Vernier. The LabQuest Mini has a price of $149 dollars and is an ideal tool in the science classroom especially for those schools that are using netbooks in their classrooms. All in all, the LabQuest Mini from Vernier brings exceptional functionality and value, which should make it a staple in every school science program.