Study Better with Visual Thinking at Biggerplate Unplugged Utrecht


Thanks to Liam Hughes and the Biggerplate team who invited me to introduce my method : Study Better with Visual Thinking.  It was in Biggerplate Unplugged in Utrecht, on Wednesday the 9th of October.

I already published an article about my five step method “How to study better with visual thinking“.  But the wonderful Biggerplate team invited me to introduce it during the Biggerplate Unplugged event in Utrecht on Wednesday the 9th of October.

I made a prezi presentation about it, I hoped it was good enough to make a nice talk and I sent the package to Liam Hughes.

So on Wednedsday, I was right in front of a panel of mindmappers from all over Europe :  from Spain to Scotland through Belgium, France and the Netherlands.   And I showed them this :

Of course, I was not the only speaker that day : find the other very interesting speakers of that Biggerplate Unplugged Utrecht on the Biggerplate Unplugged Utrecht page.

Next appointment : San Francisco in March 2014.  See you there ?

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Search and summarize all your web pages with XMind Summarizer (tutorial)


Context Discovery has created XMind Summarizer, a new extension to XMind: a great tool for searching on the Internet!

Lisez cet article en français !

How to summarize a web page quickly? How to find material relevant to my work on the web without losing too much time to read everything?

Context Discovery has found a very satisfactory answer to this question: XMind Summarizer.

 We already knew Web Summarizer, the online device that summarizes web pages as mindmaps. But Context Discovery, the Canadian company specializing in automatic text summaries, has taken a step further by proposing an extension for XMind.

(Click on the picture to make it bigger.  You can also download that XMind Mindmap and many others from my Profile on Biggerplate).

Xmind mindmap showing how to use the Smart XMind Extension to summarize any web page
How XMind Summarizer works

This is the Polish company Smart XMind Extensions which broadcasts on the web: it is also the designer of XMind extensions for Outlook or systems time management and project that I will have the opportunity to talk.

In the meantime, here’s a tutorial on XMind Summarizer:

An automatic summary of interesting web pages

What is the XMind Summarizer extension ? It runs a web page, marks the relevant keywords, copies the sentences in which these keywords appear and organizes all in a mindmap.

With the smart extension XMind Summarizer, all this happens automatically in XMind, as summarized in the video below.

To install the extension XMind Summarizer is very simple: go to the XMind Summarizer page and sign up for the 30-day trial license: it’s free, but mandatory. Then, if the product appeals to you, there are several possible starting at $ 2.99 per week subscriptions.

Finally, download the small program. Start your XMind, and you now have two more icons in your menu bar at the top of your screen: Summarize by topic, which takes the form of a red W in and white square and Summarize synthesized by a simple red W .

Summarize a Wikipedia page with Summarize by Topic

The first icon allows you to automatically summarize any Wikipedia page. You type the keyword you are looking for as a central topic of your XMind map.

Then click on the icon Summarize by Topic or right-click your mouse at the bottom of the menu, click Summarizer and then Summarize by Topic, as shown in this video:

Summarize any web page with Summarize

The good news is that XMind Summarizer works in several languages, including French: so you can summarize any web page in English, French, German and Spanish.

Let’s do the experiment with two web pages in French on content marketing. I open a new XMind map and I type “Content Marketing” as the central subject.

But this time, I do not click the “Summarize by Topic” icon, but on the other icon: Summarize.

XMind Summarizer shows me a dialog with a field. I stick the URL of the first page that interests me. And XMind Summarizer starts to search. After a few seconds, I have a first branch on my mindmap with a series of keywords that match my search.

I repeat the process with a second page and I get a second branch on my mental map XMind, with a different set of keywords for the page.

When and how to use XMind Summarizer?

Please do not use this XMind extension to study! I wrote several articles on the subject and I am convinced that what facilitates learning by mindmaps, is the act of building the map itself. Because it uses different cognitive skills.

If you use XMind Summarizer to do this job for you, you have no chance to understand and / or remember anything!

By cons, this extension seems very interesting if you are a researcher, librarian or student. And you need to research on the web.

Because, as I showed in the videos of this article, you can quickly access content from Wikipedia and other pages. And more, XMind Summarizer synthesizes the page content as keywords for you!

It therefore seems very promising for those who must synthesize large amounts of information, which should conduct research on keywords, or should organize knowledge bases.

This application does not summarize either a text or a course in your place. To do this, you should also summarize yourself with a mindmap. But this extension will provide a working basis on which to build your resume. And that’s a lot!

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XMind 2012 : with the revisions, you always know where you are !


XMind 2012 comes with interesting new features.  Revisions are one of them.

This brand new feature shows you every step of your mindmap drafting.

You always know where you are.  You can always go back.  And for collaborative work, it is important to trace back the changes made by members of your team…

In the previous article, I wrote about the brand new Gantt Diagram which turns XMind 2012 into a more business oriented software with great project management tools.

Today, I will emphasize another great feature of this new XMind version : the revisions.

A history of your mindmap drafting

Revisions show you the drafting of your mindmap step by step : like a photograph of each step of your mindmap.  It is a very interesting feature if several members of a team or of a class are working together on the same mindmap.  Each of them can see what the others have changed.

Here is the final mindmap of the Calix Project we have used in the previous article.  (Click on the picture to enlarge it).

Example of project management with the new XMind features
Project management with XMind

But what were the steps of this mindmap drafting ?  How did I get there ?  Wasn’t there a better version of my mindmap ?  Or was there a step I finally dropped, but I could use somewhere else, in another mindmap ?

Review every step of your mindmap !

The Revisions tool allows me to review each and every step of my mindmap.

For this Calix project – which was initially written in French – I added, at the fifth step – a topic “Objectifs”  (Goals) with a picture.  Finally, I decided to discard it to simplify my mindmap and to focus on my main topic : tasks management.  Here is this discarded step, visible again thanks to the revision feature. (Click on the picture to enlarge it).

How to review your previous work in Xmind ?  By using the Revision features !
Revisions in XMind 2012

This is a very interesting feature for team work but also for students who want to rebuild the reasoning from scratch, for instance.  I am pretty sure you will find new applications for this amazing tools !

Do you want to mindmap with XMind too ?  Then visit the download page and get it for free !

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XMind 2012 : still more efficient !


XMind 3.2.1. had already improved a lot compared to previous versions.

XMind 2012, the latest version, comes with more good surprises !  A more business oriented Mindmapping program ever.

Check out here !

XMind is cheap, powerful and user friendly : that’s why we love it so much !

Today, it comes with the new 2012 version : not a great revolution, but some powerful and very interesting features.  And above all : business oriented features !  But features equally interesting for students, projects leaders, and so on.

Themes and templates opening with the new page

So the days of the sad blank page with the bluish central topic are over !  Now, when you open a new page, you automatically get a set of themes and templates.  Which saves you a lot of time !

Themes and templates open automatically with the new page in the new XMind 2012 version. A good way to save time !

So now, you can define the background colour, the type and thickness of your branches, the shape of your topics before you start drawing your mindmap !  You can also choose to start with a mindmap, an Org Chart, a SWOT analysis, a Time Line, etc.

The button on the left inferior corner of this window allows you to add your own themes and template : this will save you a lot of time on page layout !

You can also open a existing document from this dialog window : this is much more ergonomic than before : all commands are gathered in a single, manageable area.

A new Gantt Diagram

This is an amazing feature for business owners and project managers : before, the Gantt diagram was a little bit too basic.  The new version is much more complete : it is now a real project management tool !

Here, I made a simulation of an email campaign project with task distribution for a team of 4 colleagues.  I combined the mindmap view with the Gantt view so you can see the relationship between both.  I drilled down the mindmap so we can focus on the topic “email campaignand its subtopics. (Click on the map to enlarge it).

Gantt view

For instance, Juliet – the long red line on top of the diagram – has to encode the names of the subscribers in a list.  She started on the 12th July.  Her deadline was the 31st of August.  She achieved 76 % of her task.  Marc – second line on the diagram – had to write the text of the letter before the 27th of July and didn’t finished before the deadline either.

New Tasks relationships

Both tasks are displayed with a danger triangle board.

Another very interesting new function is the possibility to link two tasks : the second one cannot start as long as the previous one is not completed.  For example, in the picture below, Marc had to put links in the newsletter after having written his text.  But the text has not been finished and the tasks ‘links” cannot begin !  If I click on the yellow icon, a text in a bubble warns me that this task must be postphoned, since the previous one has not been achieved. (Click on the picture to enlarge it).

The panel on the right tells me that there is a “Finish-to-start” relationship between the predecessor ‘Writing” and the present task “Links”.  “Writing” must be finished so that “Links” can start.  Now, the tasks function allows you to program not only the date of a deadline, but also the number of days and even hours that you estimate which are necessary to achieve this task.  That makes this new version of XMind, a real project management tool !

And the XMind teams promises to go further and to improve the Gantt chart in the future.  XMind is thus more and more business and project management oriented !  It is a new position on the market of business mindmapping programs.

In future articles, we’ll speak about the pricing and some other interesting features for all the XMind users !  Stay tuned 😉

If you want to download XMind 2012, it is free !

Revolution in Education : a new blog for the Lingua Franca Academy !


Welcome to Revolution in Education !

What will you find here ?  Read further and find out what we are cooking for you !

We didn’t publish any English blog for a while.

We were busy changing the structure of the Lingua Franca Academy.  We were searching for opportunities, designing new tools and projects, making new contacts throughout the world.

Now, all this has been settled down and we are ready !

Ready to offer you the best in education, in work life, in job search…  Just have a look on this mindmap : it shows you what this new blog is about.

A XMind Mindmap to show you the content of our new English blog : Revolution in Education
Our future blog content !

So we’ll talk about :

School and Education : a lot of students come to us, asking tips and advices to learn better.  We developed a learning method in five steps.  We’ll talk about that profusely and we’ll give you tips, advices and information about our student coaching and Learning to Learn Workshops !

Visual Tools and Thinking : we are fond of mindmapping – did you notice, already ? – and visual thinking.  We will provide you the best examples from all around the world.  We’ll give you tips and information so that you build your own tools, mindmaps, concept maps, and so on.

Work : job search has never been so difficult.  We’ll provide you the best pieces of advice and information about your strategy, your marketing tools – resume, application letters, job interview prep, etc.   We’ll give you mindmaps and visual tools – how surprising, isn’t it ? – to assess your skills, your tastes, to plan every step of your job search to get the best results !  Never thought of working abroad ?  With our broad network of contacts and partners, we can help you find a job elsewhere.

Business : you want to set up a business, but you are not sure where to start.  We offer you the tools and a method to think about your project, to design your business plan, to avoid the usual traps.  You have a business ?  Then, we can give you some managing tools and advices as well !

Train the Trainer : as trainers, we trained a lot of people.  And trainers.  We can offer you training sessions, workshops and e-coaching.  To get the best of the training practices.

Study abroad : and last but not least, we propose you to get some fresh air and go study abroad !  Under the sun of Malaysia or in the green valleys of New Zealand, thanks to our international partnership, we are now able to accompany you to the learning destination you are looking forward to.

Stay tuned : there is much more to come ! 😉