I've always been a big fan of mindmapping in the classroom. Mindmapping and other kinds of data visualisations can really help students grasp a concept, order their thoughts, sequence ideas and so much more. Over the years my experiences with mindmapping has encompassed different forms and media - from large sugar paper sheets to apps like Popplet and Simple Minds on the iPad. Once I even had staff create a giant mindmap across a huge Idea Paint wall:
So when I heard that a VR mindmapping app called Noda had come to the Vive (and Oculus) I was eager to test it out.
I wasn't disappointed. Take a look at Noda in action:
Even though it's still in early access, Noda is already a powerful VR tool and one that I will definitely be trialing with students in the new school year. I would love to see them add the ability to collaborate with others though as this is one VR space that is begging to be shared. Being able to insert video links would also be most welcome.
Here's another clip. In this one I build another mindmap on a different theme but take a different starting point which itself opens up a range of activities in the classroom...
Ideas for harnessing Noda across the curriculum
Here are just a few areas of the curriculum which I could see enriched using Noda -
Science - Students could create food chains or webs.This could take the Bilbo Baggins approach seen above - give them access to a batch of images of organisms and let the students make the connections. As such it could even work as an assessment of learning.
Languages - students could build a vocabulary bank for a specific language with separate wings dedicated to different topics. Being able to save and return to a Noda project means that this could be a working document.
History - sequencing events from a time period is an obvious choice. the 3D nature of Noda means that it would be easy to build parallel timelines e.g. to show what was happening in the USA, UK and Germany at different dates during WWII
Computer Science - Students can use Noda to build algorithms in sequence. A great planning tool to build computational thinking skills.
English - Character mapping, story structure, sequencing events from a non-linear narrative - the possibilities in the English classroom are endless!
Maths - A little unorthodox perhaps but students could use Noda to build mathematical data visualisations such as ratios, proportions and fractions.