Posted by: Clive | June 17, 2008

More questioning

A couple of weeks ago I posted about the importance of asking questions in developing understanding and moving your project along. In a recent post Katy responded by composing 20 questions around her emerging interests for her independent study. The idea is to generate ideas and then to tease them apart looking for connections and links. One way I find useful to do this is visually: spidergrams, charts, scatterdiagrams, network links etc. An interesting tool that harnesses the power of wikipedia to provide a visual mapping of connections is wikimindmap. You enter a topic, choose a wiki, and the engine visualises the connections contained in that wiki. This can be useful for gaining an overview of a particular area. It can help in knowing what not to follow-up as much as what needs to be followed up. Here’s an image of one of the topics in Katy’s area of interest.

Playing around with this – expanding branches, moving topics from the periphery into the centre – can be useful in understanding the different angles that a paricular topic/issue can be approached from.

Working on mindmaps online may also be something you could use. Exploratree is one tool that stimulates thought (often where you imagine no thought could exist!) by providing alternative ways of developing ideas creatively. You can save your ideas to develop them or to muse over later on in the process. Here’s Katy’s topic again with some pointers towards those areas that would need to be investigated.

I often have to find techiques to keep myself thinking creatively. Hopefully these two tools can be useful now and in the future.

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