A mind map built over 3 sessions
In Agromechanical Engineering Technology, I teach a sequence of courses that extends from the 4th to the 6th session and that leads the students to become familiar with different tasks that they could perform when working for a distributor of agricultural equipment or machinery:
- Faire de la représentation commerciale (Sales representation, 4th session)
- Réaliser des activités de formation et information (Carrying out training and information activities, 5th session)
- Réaliser la gestion d’un département de pièces et de service (Managing a parts and service department, 6th session)
In each course, I ask my students to create a mind map to synthesize all the notions seen in class. Since the courses are linked to each other, the same map follows the students from one course to the next: the students work on the same map and enrich it from session to session. At the end of each course, during the final exam, the mind map is used as a memory aid for the students (they are not allowed to use other lecture notes during the exams).
In the 4th session, I introduce the students to the theoretical notions related to mind maps (what is a concept map, what is a mind map, etc.). Since this is sometimes their 1st experience creating a mind map (and often a 1st time using Miro!), I have them work in teams. I divide the group into 2 large teams, and each team creates a map collaboratively.
In the 5th session, I divide the teams created in the previous session into student pairs. I duplicate the map from the previous session to create a copy for each pair, and then each pair can enrich their map with the new concepts seen that session.
In the 6th session, students reuse their map from the 5th session and add to it, individually this time.
This mind map, which they reuse from one session to the next, is an ideal tool to help them make connections between the concepts of different courses and bridge the gap between courses. With a mind map, students can do this with brio.
The mind map of one of my students at the end of the last course
A collaborative board for project planning
My students have different projects to complete in my courses. In the course Réaliser des activités de formation et d’information, in the 5th session, I use Miro to help them structure their projects.
At the beginning of the session, we first complete a large group project where the students have to organize an activity for the school’s open house. This is an opportunity for me to teach them how to use Miro as a project management tool.
I create a canvas to manage the project on Miro:
- a section for assigning roles and responsibilities
- a calendar for planning the event
- an action plan (list of tasks to complete, in progress and completed)
- a detailed schedule for the day of the event
Miro is very easy to use. For example, it is easy to move tasks from the “In progress” column to the “Completed” column in the action plan section. You can also, with 1 click, make a label appear that assigns a task to the “content team” or to the “promotion team”.
Miro is an excellent means of communication for the management of a project.
Immediately after the open house, the students begin a more ambitious project: the Comparison Activity. This is a training activity offered to all students (and staff!) of the college. Students present a comparison of the features of 2 similar farm machines. (In the fall of 2022, these were 2 self-propelled forage harvesters: one manufactured by John Deere and the other by New Holland).
Again, the whole group works together. I provide students with the same outline as for the open house planning, but this time they must fill it out and work with it autonomously.
The 2022 Comparison Activity planning chart. de 2022.
Interacting and collaborating in the classroom
In the 6th session, in the course Réaliser la gestion d’un département de pièces et service, I use Miro to allow students to collaborate during class time.
- I ask the group questions and invite students to go to a common Miro board to write their individual answer on a sticky note.
- During a class session, while I’m lecturing on the material, I invite students to take collaborative notes in a canvas I created on Miro.
- I divide the group into teams and ask each team to formulate an answer to a question in a text box on Miro.
I use the same Miro board for all these activities. This means that students don’t have to look for the link, as it is always the same. Miro boards can be almost infinite in size, so you can put a lot of material on them! I can prepare my canvases on the large board and hide them until the week they are used.
The importance of training students
Before starting to use an application like Miro in the classroom, it is important to take the time to train the students. Explaining to students why a particular tool was chosen and how to use it will ensure that they are comfortable with it. It’s time well spent!
What about you, do you use Miro in your classes? Share your experiences in the comments area!