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Posts Tagged ‘map

It is one thing to advocate that we think outside the box, it is entirely another to operate outside it.

But operating outside the box does not require a total rejection of existing ideas. In the example above, thinking outside the box is operating outside the boxiness of the old design.

The improvements are that the newer map is more pleasant to the eye, easier to read, and more geographically accurate.

One might start with spreadsheet thinking and policy making, but one should not end with it unless one desires tables and charts. People and their problems are curvy, nuanced, and messy. Sometimes it does not take much to incorporate that.

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Mind maps are useful for capturing brainstormed ideas, organising essays, or showing the relationships between concepts.

Every academic semester, I blow the digital dust off online mind maps for courses that I facilitate. I have tried many services and one of my go-tos was MindMeister. The operative word: Was.

I jumped on the MindMeister bandwagon when it was in its infancy. My learners (preservice teachers) and I used it a few times every semester. Occasionally, I would also use it for meetings or consulting gigs to present ideas or proposals.

My early efforts were rewarded. MindMeister gave me membership status for my use and it built up to a few years worth of paid subscription. This was a fair exchange for the publicity I generated by modelling its use with my classes.

Every now and then I would also receive notifications by email that an old map was updated — my former student teachers were referring to and editing old mind maps! Back then I hoped that they were conducting school-based professional development for their colleagues.

But now my efforts are wasted and my hopes dashed. The rewards scheme was long gone and my membership ran out. I also stopped getting the notifications. Now neither my former students nor I can access the mind maps.

Ransomed mind maps

I can see a long list of mind maps in my account, but the items are greyed out. I cannot even view my mind maps. That’s right, the mind maps and the work therein are MINE.

I am being held for ransom — I must pay up before I can access my property. I have to keep paying if I want access.

This is like renting a house only to be locked out. It seems fair that the landlord does this if I do not pay rent. But here’s the thing: I was invited to stay for free in the house because I attracted people to the neighbourhood. The terms have changed and I only ask to get in so I can pull my property out.

I would not mind paying for something that I used to get for free if there were options beyond a one-size-fit-all monthly subscription. My use is sporadic but strategic, not constant and blind.

Thankfully I had the foresight to screenshot or export some of my current mind maps. This is like having photos of my property that is locked in the house.

I now use those images to recreate the mind maps. But not in MindMeister. After all, no one wants to rent another place with the same landlord when s/he still holds the keys to your old place.

I have not played Minecraft in a while. This is because my son has not played the game in that time. The game is beneath him as he is into various Steam games now.

Our Minecraft server resides in a Mac in the living room, but the software has not been updated. I checked and saw that the Java files sit in a folder dated January 2016 and the actual JAR file is from May 2015.

The Minecraft app on my mobile devices updates every blue moon, but I do not launch them. There is also still a bit of Minecraft paraphernalia in my son’s room, but it is covered with dust.

Video source

Then along came this recent video by Vox about the artistic merits of Minecraft post-Mojang and dura-Microsoft. I was almost tempted to restart the game to see what was new.

Almost. I was dismayed to find out that Microsoft had restricted how Minecraft maps were used by others [video segment] [announcement].

Video source

What was previously open for modification and innovation (just like the sandbox that was Minecraft) became walled and gated. A few partner companies of Microsoft survived, but my guess is that they are the exception rather than the rule.

Microsoft can (and did) do this because they bought Minecraft from Mojang. It had to make money like their Office suite. The education version of Minecraft relies on subscriptions.


I still have rose-tinted memories of Minecraft. The edu-Minecraft videos I created a while ago remind me of the fun I had with my son as well as the breadth and depth of learning I experienced. The artefacts and memories are like a diploma that remind me of an achievement.

I have been fortunate to be approached to give advice about leveraging on Minecraft in education. But since these seemed to head down the same dark Pro Bono alley, I decided not to take them because I would have walked out poorer from being robbed of my living.

I heed the ominous warning from the video:

When you’re playing another person’s game, night could come at any time. And then it’s always survival mode.

My classes seem to be drawn to concept and mind mapping, particularly those of the Web 2.0 flavour. One group from each class has opted to present a FIT on

So here’s a useful resource: Below is an overview of what the site offers.

Click to see all the nominees!

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