While I was at the ISTE 2010 Conference I reconnected with the folks at Renaissance Learning the developers of the Alphasmart line of products. For many years I was a big evangelist for the Alphasmart and have used it with hundreds of students who presented with writing disabilities. When Alphasmart sold their product to Renaissance Learning I lost touch with the product line and the new developments but at ISTE 2010 I reconnected with Jan Bryan, Head of Professional Development at Renaissance Learning and she was kind enough to send me a new NEO 2 to review. I now have had a chance to work with a new NEO 2 from Renaissance Learning and have enjoyed spending some time looking at all of the new features as well as exploring the new partnerships they have made. While the NEO 2 looks very much like the original NEO that I had used, under the hood the NEO 2 supports more memory allowing one to run more Smart Applets. The NEO 2 now has built-in IEEE 802.15 wireless connectivity that when coupled with the Renaissance Receiver allows students to quickly send and receive files from the teacher's work station. Using the wireless capability students can now quickly print documents to the default printer that the teacher has set up by simply pressing the Print key on the NEO 2.
One of the features which I was eager to try out was sending and editing Google Doc files. With so many schools moving to Google Docs this would allow students access to their files in the cloud that they could access and edit from their NEO 2. With the Renaissance Receiver plugged into my computer I was ready to now try to access my Google Docs in the cloud. Connecting to my Google account and my documents was a cinch and within seconds I was editing one my Google Docs and sending changes to the cloud. With this feature teachers can create assignments and students can access their files both at home an at school. Connecting the NEO 2 to Google Docs was straight forward and easy to do. While some educators may argue that the screen size of the NEO 2 is too small- I have always seen it as an advantage for certain students in helping them to stay focused and not being as distracted by all of the other features that one might find on a laptop computer. With the ability of the NEO 2 to connect to Google Docs all kinds of writing activities are now possible. This is certainly an impressive feature to say the least and one that many teachers and students will be glad to have access to.
One of the new applications that I was really impressed with is the 2Know! Toolbar student response software application. Using the NEO 2 as a responder, teachers can quickly set up adhoc questions using a variety of different formats to query their students. With NEO 2 and 2Know! Toolbar, you can ask multiple choice, true/false, yes/no, numeric, and even short answer questions, and students respond immediately. Once students respond, the teacher in real times can automatically see the tallies and student responses in a graphical format. During the workshop I was able to try the 2Know Toolbar with my NEO 2 to demonstrate how it could be used in the classroom. What I liked most about the 2Know! Toolbar was the ease of setup and the quick feedback it provided once my participants responded. Unlike other responder systems I really liked the fact that students could type short answer responses on the full size keyboard that could be instantly evaluated by the teacher. The NEO 2 offers a lot for possibilities now for both teachers and students and it is clear that partnerships that Renaissance Learning has made have paid off in terms of new features and functionality. It is exciting for me to see that one of the tools that I evangelized, continues to grow and develop and provide students and teachers access to technology in ways that were just not possible with earlier iterations of the device.
All in all it was a full day at Pediatric Potentials, but one that was filled with all kind of possibilities as we explored a range of new technologies to support learning in the classroom and at home. If you are thinking about bring these tools to your school or classroom send me an email to see how I can help you out.
I have been exploring my Livescribe Echo Smartpen and the Livescribe Desktop software and today I decided to see how easy it is to print my own dotted paper from my Windows laptop computer (Editors note: You can print dotted paper on you Macintosh computer from the Livescribe Desktop Application- 1. Open Livescribe Desktop. 2. From the top Menu select “Tools > Print Your Own Notebook…) . If you own or have access to a an Adobe Postscript color laser printer capable of printing at least 600 dots per inch you are in luck. I have been using digital pens for some time now and own an OKI Data 6100N, color laser printer, which is certified by Anoto to work with the digital pen and paper solutions, so I figured I would be in good shape attempting to print my own Livescribe notepads. So this evening I plugged my laptop into my OKI Data color laser printer and printed out a Test Page. Once the page printed out, I used the controls on the bottom of the page to record some responses and then docked my pen. Everything worked like I expected and the ink and audio worked just perfectly. Now that I know that it works, I can print out notepads which consist of 25 pages on ordinary 8 1/2 x 11 paper. It is good to know that I always have this option if I need it.
Announcing MapsforThat.com – Mindjet’s new map sharing destination. Maps for That is a community dedicated to connection users to share, rate and comment on your favorite and most useful maps.
This community is about you – the user. We want to hear what you think, what you would like to see and how we can continue to improve. Please upload maps, send feedback, write up and let us know how we can make it the premier mapping community.
With the new Maps for That community you will be able to:
- Upload, download and view maps in one all inclusive community.
- Comment, rate and share maps with the rest of the world.
- Get the most valuable and popular map templates for MindManager.
- Bring your mapping skills to the forefront for everyone to see.
With the Livescribe Smartpen students can now concentrate on what the teacher is saying and don't have to feel the urge to write down and capture every single word. This is truly a relieve for students who for years are sitting in class feeling very anxious about taking notes. The Livescribe Pulse Smartpen can also be married with the Cornell or Landmark note taking strategies which can then be saved and archived on the computer. Creating templates on the dotted paper is easy to do and will provide the students with another level of support and structure that they may need. For students who will be using the Livescribe smartpens in large lecture or conference halls, I would recommend that they use the 3D Recording Premium headset for recording. While the Pulse SmartPen came with the 3D recording headset you will need to purchase this as an accessory for the Echo Smartpen. Having used the Echo Smartpen in a large lecture room with the 3D Recording Headset I have to tell you that it makes a big difference and the sound quality is fantastic.
So with school just around the corner, you should consider sending your child back to the classroom with a Livescribe Smartpen- it will make a world of difference. From a practical standpoint, you should always ask permission before recording the lecture and let your teacher know how you intend to use the recording. With that in mind have a great school year and record notes with confidence with the Livescribe Smartpen!
As a consultant for IT Technologies and Architecture, I am using Mind Mapping for many purposes, e.g. for brainstorming when developing new products. Getting more and more familiar with Mind Mapping I realized that it not only perfect for complex tasks but also for organizing daily tasks which are only simple on the first glance.
Consider some kind of “normal” working day: You go to your desk and start working on your duties because you perfectly know what to do. But then all of sudden your business day gets out of control: One colleague wants some important information, the quality manager calls for an updated document, your manager wants a detailed status report you haven't even prepared and not to forget the meeting with a customer in just 5 minutes. And this is the “perfect” start for using mind mapping to avoid getting lost in your tasks.
To get an overview over these many open ends, I use mind mapping to structure my tasks, the one I know will come as well as the one I cannot precisely assess. To find my way through them, I have structured my duties as follows: First, there are meetings, i.e. fixed dates which I have to attend. Second, I have to fulfill several tasks which most have a fixed end date but I can freely decide when to work on them. Third, some of these meetings or tasks have to be done on a daily basis while others are only relevant on a certain day. The mind map is structured accordingly as you can see in the screen shot.
On the other side, there are more variable duties which I organize in the “Task Stack”: This comprises all tasks that have to be done at some point of time, but not in the current week. At the beginning of the week, I check which of these tasks must be done in the current week. If so, a task is moved from the Task Stack to the Weekly Tasks.
Besides these regular tasks and meetings some other kind of duties appear in real life: “Unplannable Events” contain interrupts like support requests and “Optional ToDos” addresses some interaction on a more informal base, e.g. communication with colleagues or customers. These two categories help you e.g. to plan some buffer time in your business day according to the criticality and number of the entries here.
There are two major steps which help me to keep on track during my business day. The first step is to gather all my tasks, meetings, etc. continuously. If possible, I assign a requested date and an estimated duration to get a better overview how much time it will cost me. This is an ongoing activity, i.e. new tasks, meetings, etc. are added each time I identify a new entry I cannot complete at this point of time.
The second step is to plan my current day. Therefore, each day I start with checking my daily and weekly tasks concerning their relevance for the current day. With this information, I am able to decide if my business day is already too crowded with entries and thus it would be better to cancel some of them. On the other side, I can also see if there is some time left and if it is possible to start some things in advance thus that I am prepared for the things that will come sooner or later. At the end of this, all tasks I am going to work on, are moved into the “Today” node of my mind map.
At the end of the day, I check back which of the entries I have completed successfully. Meetings which I have attended can be deleted – but first I check if not new tasks have been assigned to me in this meeting. If so, these new tasks are added to the “Task Stack”. Meetings which I couldn’t attend due to some unforeseen interrupt also cause a new task, e.g. asking for the meeting protocol or organizing a follow up meeting.
Tasks that have been completed are also deleted; in this case, no follow up activity is required. But very often tasks are only half ready. Then, I adjust the estimated duration and move the task back to the “Task Stack” hoping that I can finish it at one of the next days.
Finally, at the end of the day the day my “Today” node is empty and all meetings and tasks are either finished or moved back to the task stack. Then, the next business day can come and its work can be assigned again...
This is only a short overview how mind mapping can help you by organizing your business day. This simple approach can also be extended, e.g. you can assign priorities, end dates etc. to your entries as you see in the screen shots. More, it is also possible to merge it with the widely known “Getting Things Done” method, but this would be another story…
Jens Pipka- Bio
Working as senior consultant for IT Technology and Architecture since
more than 15 years, I am struggling with the pitfalls of software
development in all kind of projects. As a consequence, my focus lies on
improving software development processes as well as the underlying
development techniques. To break down complexity within my projects and
identify applicable solutions, I use Mind Mapping quite often. It gives
me a powerful technique and allows me to focus on the real important
areas within software development – namely interacting within a team
and managing technical complexity.
I had a chance to interview Richard so that you can learn more about the company and their fine software product, Goalscape. What follows is Part 1 of my interview with Richard Parslow a principal in Goalscape.
BSF: Tell us a little about the Background of your company
RP: Professional sailor Marcus Baur came up with the idea for Goalscape when he was preparing for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. He needed a way to communicate with his crewmate and coach about everything they needed to do in every area. Crucially, he also wanted to be able to identify priorities for all the work; and record progress. The original implementation was a hand-drawn version of the Goalscape goal map. Marcus always knew though that he wanted to implement the Goalscape format in a software tool to provide a proper rich display and enable dynamic updates.
BSF: How did you get started?
RP: We produced an initial Java prototype and used it to generate interest in some key markets: sports coaching, business consulting, life management. We sold enough copies to pay for the next stage of development (AS2 version) and progressed from there to the current implementation (AS3 on AIR).
BSF: Who are the principals?
RP: Marcus Baur, Richard Parslow, Emmett Lazich and Malav Shroff
BSF: What re their respective backgrounds? RP: Marcus Baur Managing Director, Germany Marcus is an Architecture graduate. He sailed the 49er skiff class professionally for 12 years, representing Germany at two Olympic Games. He also won 3 European Championships and medaled twice at World Championships.
Emmett Lazich Head of Development, Australia Emmett is another ex-professional sailor. He coached the 49er Olympic Gold Medalists at Sydney 2000 and has twice coached World Championship winners. He is also a software expert and built fault-tolerant systems for Hutchison Telecom in Australia.
Richard Parslow Marketing Director, UK Richard has a background in financial markets and corporate software. He is another World Champion sailor and coached the Team GBR 49er squad from 2001 to 2006, during which time two different teams won World and European titles.
Malav Shroff Director, India Malav was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and joined McKinsey as a consultant. He is a past President of the International 49er Class Association and is now a successful entrepreneur with several strings to his bow. He also competed at the Athens Olympics.
BSF: Tell us about your position at Goalscape?
RP: I work closely with Marcus on all aspects of the marketing: messages; customer communications; website and presentation text and images. I also negotiate deals with our major corporate customers, play “user from hell” in product tests and do first-line customer support.
BSF: Tell us about how you got started with Goalscape
RP: Marcus showed me the original Goalscape prototype at a 49er World Championship where he was competing and I was coaching. I had worked on software development and other projects and I immediately recognized the power and simplicity of the Goalscape display. Shortly after that we set up a company to develop the concept and market the software.
BSF: Who are the intended users?
RP: Anyone who has ambitious or complex goals! Individuals, companies, consultants (in any field), sportsmen, coaches, clubs and federations… even politicians (should they dare to be clear and transparent!).
The degree of motivation in any project depends on the quality of the goal. Putting goals at the center of attention and making them available for discussion increases the quality of such goals.
Good goals make you money, great goals make you happy, compassionate goals help others, but the best goals do all of the above.
BSF: What is the market you see for such a product?
RP: Goalscape is ideal for providing a visual breakdown of any information structure or project, so it is inherently a cross-market tool… Since human beings are inherently goal-achieving creatures, the market is everyone! For now though, we are focusing on Consulting and Executive Mentoring; Sports and Life Coaching; and Presentations.
BSF: Please share with us about the latest release of Goalscape
RP: Goalscape Desktop standalone software (on download) is on version 2.2.1582.610; and Goalscape Connect (for online collaboration) is on version 2.2.1596.173.
Features common to both Goalscape Desktop and Goalscape Connect include:
• Visual model of any information hierarchy, with unlimited number of levels and nodes (goals)
• Clear display and easy adjustment of Relative Importance (size of slice) and Progress (shading)
• Project work planning: Responsibilities, Timescales, etc
• Shows the overview in a single, easily understood image
• Captures detail as Notes text or attachments (any file format)
• Simple to understand, easy to use (no training or even manual required)
• Full video tutorials embedded as “infopoints”
• Simple restructuring using drag & drop
• Standard hotkey shortcuts
• Smart Search function
• User-definable text fields
• Full support infrastructure: as well as the integral ‘infopoint’ video tutorials there is a full online Help package and a very active customer forum.
See also the Full Feature list: http://www.goalscape.com/Goalscape-Tour
Desktop Goalscape Desktop: all features listed in 2.1.1 above, plus:
• Cross-platform: runs equally well on PC Windows, Mac OSX and even the latest versions of Linux
• Facility to ‘save out’ selected parts of a goalscape – for specific (personal) focus or privacy
• Export HTML reports and PNG images
• Dual language support (English and German – more to follow)
• Smart Undo (extends beyond last Save)
• Easy to download, install and update (standard perpetual licence includes unlimited free updates
Cloud Goalscape Connect: all features listed in 2.1.1 above, plus:
• Simple, easy collaboration by simply sharing project URLs: everyone can read and update the same model
• Browser-independent: IE, Safari, Firefox, Chrome, etc
• Upload goalscapes (.gsp files) created in Goalscape Desktop; download .gsp ‘snapshots’ as backup or for offline work
Corporate branding and other customizations are available for larger deals.
We are working on enhancements in lots of different areas:
• Calendar integration
• Changes in View for Goalscape Desktop (Timeline, Gantt chart)
• Tag and filter
• Enhanced reporting
• Direct print
• Synergetic and recurring goals display
• Budgeting tool (using absolute values rather than percentages, eg $ figures)
• Add platforms (iPhone, other smartphones and touch devices)
• Document history (facilities to compare versions, show latest changes, etc)
• Look and feel tweaks like full goal coloring instead of border colors
• 3D view! …and many more!
Users are also welcome to contribute their own Feature Requests in the public Goalscape “Make Goalscape even better” in Goalscape Connect:
I was introduced to mind mapping while working in the e-learning industry in the United Kingdom some years ago. I have been using MindManager on and off ever since. But using mind maps has really become extremely useful to me now that I am focusing on highly complex issues in nursing. In my nursing practice, being able to mind map helps me to see the big picture and how events are connected. The dysfunction of one organ often affects other organs and starts a cascade of complications and things to consider. And this is the reason why mind maps and MindManager have become so useful for me. It can be difficult getting a quick overview of a particular situation or disease if you stick to text documents. With MindManager I can easily create a mind map and I can quickly go back and review it when needed. Also, it is very easy to alter the mind map as new treatments are introduced. Computer-based mind mapping has proved to be a huge benefit as my library is growing. It is relatively easy to relate two or more subjects (maps or topics) or even combine them. (I have never really been much of a pen & paper mind-mapper).
On a more practical level, I generally export my mind maps as PDF files and upload them to Dropbox so I can visit them while at work (where we don't have any sort of mind mapping software installed). I have also installed Mindjet for iPhone on my iPod which I carry in my pocket at all times while at work.
As a nurse working in a fairly complex an intense environment, I have found that mind mapping has introduced a way to ensure a quicker way to get an overview of a subject or situation. This is for the benefit of the patient but also for me as I feel a lot more confident because I can be fairly sure that I won't forget something important, 4 AM in the morning.
I would also like to see some of the principles behind mind mapping used in medical documentation. It can sometimes be a bit of a daunting experience trying to find the right information in the medical notes as the files just add up. I think it would prove to be a huge advantage knowing exactly what branch to look into (for example a branch covering cardiac issues or a branch covering surgical interventions).
I feel that both my knowledge of advanced nursing as well as using MindManager have really accelerated my learning and retention of information.
Thanks Max for sharing how you use MindManager in the work you do in helping your patients and let us know how you make out with yourfree license for MindManager 9 which I know you will thoroughly enjoy! Thank you Mindjet for sending me licenses for this give away!
MindManager Version 9 Demonstrates Business Productivity Benefits of Mindjet’s Next Generation Software
Tight Integration of Visual Information Mapping with Microsoft Office, Web Services and Core Business Systems Helps Business Professionals Work More Efficiently
San Francisco – August 10, 2010 – Mindjet®, the leading provider of software and web- based applications for visually organizing and managing information and ideas, today announced the general availability of version 9 of its visual information mapping software, MindManager. MindManager gives information workers the resources they need to see the big picture and all the relevant details needed for analysis and planning, within a single, easily edited view. MindManager, already used by over 1.5 million business professionals worldwide, is taking a quantum leap forward with this new release of its flagship product. This latest version greatly enhances the usability of Mindjet’s award-winning application, allowing it to integrate more seamlessly with users other MS Office applications, web services and collaboration platforms.
Business professionals are inundated by an overwhelming amount of content, communication and information that stifles productivity and creativity. With new features including an enhanced integration with the Microsoft ® Office suite, one-click Outlook integration and ability to connect with Microsoft SharePoint®, MindManager provides a single environment that professionals can use to unify and organize diverse information. Mindjet continues to accelerate planning, development and creativity to complete projects more successfully, accomplish more and improve communication.
"For people who have never used mind mapping software before, MindManager Version 9 promises to be the easiest version of this program to use, ever. For corporate IT departments that can't quite understand why they should deploy a visual mapping tool like MindManager, the SharePoint integration is the coup de grace," said Chuck Frey, author of the Mind Mapping Software Blog.
With this new release, MindManager becomes the one-stop destination for working on any kind of project. Within MindManager, users have access to tight integration with Microsoft Outlook and Office to keep the constant stream of information for a project organized in one easy-to-access location, a visualization and dashboard tool for any SharePoint environment with MindManager Explorer for SharePoint and collaboration tools, real-time map co-editing and web based document storage with Mindjet Catalyst.
Key Features in MindManager Version 9 for Windows:
· Microsoft Outlook® Integration – Features more powerful integration with Microsoft Outlook tasks, emails, notes, calendar items and contacts to easily bring relevant information from Outlook directly into your MindManager maps for greater access and visibility into your projects and work. Synchronized branches of Outlook tasks can be added to maps and visualized in MindManager’s integrated Gantt chart.
· Microsoft PowerPoint® Integration – Users can now easily use MindManager to research and map out presentations and then export their ideas from MindManager directly into PowerPoint slides to accomplish more, faster.
· Interactive Slide Shows – Unlike ‘broadcast’ presentations, MindManager introduces a new way to present and collaborate on concepts, strategies and plans. Users can launch interactive slide shows directly within MindManager to review selected portions of their map, solicit feedback and update their map content directly in each slide.
· Gantt Chart and Resource Views – Individuals can view task and project plan timelines in MindManager’s integrated and synchronized Gantt chart. Updates can be made to maps by adjusting the Gantt chart or by making changes directly into a map. The resource views highlight when individuals are over or underutilized in both your map and the Gantt chart.
· MindManager Explorer for SharePoint (sold separately)– Visualizes SharePoint content in MindManager’s easy-to-use dynamic maps. With bi-directional SharePoint integration, users can more easily discover, aggregate and update their SharePoint content from one or more SharePoint sites.
“Mindjet’s users have always understood the benefits of visually organizing information, data, content and documents and how this drives innovation and increases productivity,” said Scott Raskin, CEO of Mindjet. “The latest release of MindManager Version 9 reinforces the idea that organizing information in a visual manner will dramatically improve an organization’s productivity, creativity and business output. MindManager is now evolving from a product that makes project management easier and more organized, to the must-have tool that businesses and individuals use to capture, organize and present all of the information needed do get the job done right.”
MindManager Version 9 for Windows is available in three languages: English, German and French, and can be purchased through www.Mindjet.com for $349 for new users or for a limited time, $149 for an upgrade.
Mindjet provides productivity software that helps business professionals visually organize and act upon ideas, information and resources to drive productivity, team effectiveness and business innovation. Mindjet products include industry-leading software and online services centered on information mapping, as well as applications that incorporate Mindjet’s innovative visualization technology to improve the usability of leading business applications, including Microsoft SharePoint and Salesforce.com. More than 1.5 million people around the world use Mindjet software to clarify thinking, efficiently analyze information, increase team productivity, and make better-informed decisions.
Used by business professionals in 44 of BusinessWeek’s 50 “World’s Most Innovative Companies,” Mindjet solutions dramatically boost productivity and team effectiveness. Surveys across several industries show that Mindjet can increase productivity by up to 25 percent by making meetings, common communications and project management tasks more efficient and effective. Mindjet products are available for free trial or purchase at www.mindjet.com/products/overview, through salesforce.com AppExchange, and through an extensive partner network at www.mindjet.com/community/partners/overview. Mindjet is headquartered in San Francisco and has offices throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.
Text 100 for Mindjet
# # #