Sunday, March 28, 2010

Loving Mindmeister

When it comes to Web 2.0 tools, it seems so many come my way through Google Reader and other sources that it's almost inevitable that most of these remain unexplored. For me to really go and have a sniff I might need to hear about 4 or 5 times from different sources to be convinced that it is worth exploring.

Various concept-mapping tools are very similar. Where do you start? With so many options out there, all of which look worthy of investigation, which to choose? Until now I have used with my classes, largely because it is so easy to use. It is a simple concept mapping tool, it allows collaboration, is fun, but on the whole has fairly limited functionality.

But now I have been introduced to Mindmeister and I think there is no going back! Visually it is impressive, functionally it is easy to use, and it has a lot of extras that leave me wishing I had started using it a long time ago. One of my favourite features is the ability to playback the creation of the mindmap at a speed of your choosing, and as it does so it tells you who added what, and when:

You are also able to add notes to your ideas, plenty of space for this. In addition, there is the Wundernote button which will automatically add a note about that topic (for example, a definition of a word).

The downside? Well, it comes down to money... I have been using the Basic plan, which I am sad to learn only offers three mindmaps, and does not offer the ability to upload images or attachments as is possible on the other plans. Isn't it interesting that these days we (unfairly) expect everything to be free? Outrageous really.

The good-ish news is that Mindmeister have an Academic plan, which although not free, can get your class brainstorming for a year for $US18. I haven't signed up for this yet, and am still weighing up whether I should. Afterall, my students have got Inspiration software on their computers. This is very good, but I'll always prefer a Web 2.0 tool as it allows more continuity between home and school. And for my age level (8-9 year olds) maybe is sufficient. Hmmm. And I have to pay in $NZ, which makes it a bit more pricey!

Anyway, it is definitely worth having a look at their 4 minute intro video below:

If you have found any other concept mapping tool in the classroom, please tell leave a comment and tell us what you thought of it.


  1. Hi Craig!

    Thanks for the kudos. It's always interesting to see how people are using our software.

    In case you missed it, we've recently released our newest version (4.0), which includes a number of user requested features.

    One such feature that may be of interest to you is our account administrator 'stats and reporting'. These reports would allow you as the admin to see which of your students is most active with mind mapping, how many maps each student has, recent team activity, etc.

    A more complete list of our most recent additions can be found on our blog at:

    Thanks again, and Happy Mind Mapping!

  2. Webspiration is the online version of Inspiration, it is in Beta right now and free to download.