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 Bubbl.us 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 Bubbl.us 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.