Mind mapping tools

My Plan Mind MapThere are are a myriad of mindmapping tools out there and it can be hard to know which one will do the job best.   As we know mindmapping tools are an excellent way to get our thoughts down on paper and organise our ideas.  Whether we use a mind map to help plan an essay, to brainstorm all that we know about a recent biology topic we have studied, or detail some relevant historical dates a mind map can play an important part in the learning process.  A mind map helps us, amongst other things, to summarise information,  to think through problems, to evaluate the relationships of key points and to see how the points are inter-related.  Mind maps play an important part in the memorising process.

So how do we chose which one to use?

ithoughts – Mind Mapping for the iPad and iPhone  has been designed expressly for Mac, iPad, iPod or iPhone so it is instantly accessible.  Some of our students here are already using this and finding it a really useful tool.  It creates some rather fantastic looking mind maps.  It comes with a handy you tube video guide on how to use it and some easy to follow instructions.   It has lots of flexibility in terms of colours and icons that can be added and the topics created can be moved around with ease.  The mind maps can be quickly imported and exported to your different devices, can be sent by email and saved as a pdf.  All sound too good to be true?  Well, it does have one drawback which is that it costs more than £5 for the iPhone version.

Coggle – unleash your creativity This mindmapping tool is free and easy to use.  Coggle is a web-based application that is really quite intuitive.  This does mean that you cannot access your mind map on your ipad other than through the internet but it does have other benefits. They claim on their website:

“Our mission is to change the way that people work and collaborate forever, to make you more productive, and to make it easier to share information with others, and to do it in a way that’s beautiful, and a pleasure to use”

In fact, it may not look as slick and beautiful as some of the others listed here, but it is really easy to use and it has the added benefit of allowing you to share your work with others.  You can get your students to participate in some real-time collaboration and work on the same mind map.  When the mind map is finished it is easy to share at a click of the button and it is possible to download your masterpiece.

Popplet has, like Coggle, a user-friendly interface and like Coggle it is free and can be used collaboratively in real-time.  Unlike Coggle, however, it is also available for free on iPad.  This version is called Popplet Lite and allows you to create just one Popplet on the iPad.  Conversely,  on the internet, there is no limit to the number of Popplets you can have.  For me, one of the great advantages of this tool is that each note you make (they are called Popples) can contain as  many or as few words as you want.  In addition you can add links to other websites or you can insert pictures and videos so in that respect it is much more flexible.

So, three good mindmapping tools.   Choose one (or more), have a go and let me know what you think.  Which is your favourite?

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