Tech tools for clinical thinking and training

Whenever I present, I get questions about the technology I use. I work on a Fujitsu T Series Lifebook (T is for Tablet PC), and use MindManger by Mindjet for almost everything I think about or present. I'm happy to let people know what I use because I think they are tools that lend themselves well to the clinical enterprise.

I like using a Tablet for presenting or for taking notes when meeting with families because it sits in front of my like a pad of paper. For some reason, I am also able to listen better when I'm only working with one hand on a computer. It's hard for me to listen, write, and engage when I'm using both hands on a keyboard.

I first learned about MindMapping from a classic book on the subject by Tony Buzon. I use it for brainstorming, project management, and presenting. I'm still in the process of investigating the relationship between visual maps (mind-mapping or concept mapping) and learning complex concepts. I've done a partial lit review about it in the educational literature and it seems like there are a lot of theories (and, of course, few data) about why visual maps would promote learning different from plain text. For suicide risk, I think it helps to be able to visualize connections between concepts on a map because it makes complex material more accessible. I have a map of risk factors to consider that somehow enlivens discussion of something that could feel quite rote or overwhelming.

It may be that these tools are also effective because they haven't yet (and I mean yet) become mainstream. People are intrigued because they are different. I'm OK with that, but I hope that's not the only factor at play.