Brainstorming and mind mapping are very popular teaching strategies and methodologies that can be used across a variety of curricular areas. Many will use the blackboard/whiteboard for a mind mapping/brainstorming session but what about a digital alternative?
Let me introduce you to Mindmeister.
Mindmeister.com is an online mind-mapping application. Users can create simple or complex mind-maps, containing text, links, images, tasks and files. Text size and colour can be formatted by the user, and a mind-map can consist of any number of interconnected nodes. The site features a WYSIWYG mind-map editor which is entirely browser-based. Mind-maps can easily be shared with others, and other users can collaborate on mind-maps as well. Users can export mind-maps in a number of formats such as a Word outline DOC file, a PDF file or an image file.
Competition to Mindmeister.com comes from sites such as Mindomo and Bubble.us. Mindomo is the most similar to Mindmeister, and is a paid service as well. Bubble.us does not offer as many features, but is a free application. Mindmeister and Mindomo allow the creation of more complex mind-maps with more elements than Bubble.us.The Mindmeister.com site has a very clean and uncluttered look and feel. The site is quite responsive, and page loads happen quickly. The browser-based mind-map editor is very responsive as well. There is a short learning curve involved with using the Mindmeister editor. Navigation of the site is intuitive, as are most of the controls in the editor. File transfer and import/export operations are quite responsive. There is no advertising displayed on the Mindmeister.com site.
Registration to Mindmeister.com is free and is required to use the site. The registration process asks for name, username, email address and password. Validation of the email address is required. A free basic account is limited to 3 mind-maps and allows the ability to share mind-maps and collaborate. A variety of premium services are available.Mindmeister.com is recommended to any individual or organization that needs a complete, versatile mind-mapping solution. The application offers the ability to create quite complex mind-maps, and the sharing and import/export capabilities are excellent.