There are several technology tools to help students and teachers create mind-maps (also known as graphic organizers). A mind-map is a great way to connect ideas together visually and is used for brainstorming, branching out into new ideas, structuring information, generating thoughts, and even studying. Back in the “old” days, teachers could print out mind-maps for students to use as part of an assignment. However, the students were limited by the space provided and the organizational structure the teacher had created. Digital mind-maps allow students more freedom to create their own mind-map structures.
One of my current favorite web-based tools for mind-mapping is bubbl.us. Users start by typing a word or text in a bubble and then they can branch out from there through just a click; they can create “child” bubbles or “sibling” bubbles. In addition to being able to drag and drop the bubbles around the screen, users have the ability to change the colors of bubbles or text or the size of the bubbles themselves. The mind-map can also be shared or exported as a .jpg or .png file.
My favorite part of bubbl.us is the sharing feature. It allows users to edit another user’s mind-map. This would be a great feature, for example, if a teacher would like multiple students to work on one mind-map together. When they’re finished, students can send the teacher a finished copy or share it with him/her.
Check out how I created the attached mind-map in bubbl.us using facts from a recent Pew Research Center article. If you’re a teacher currently using digital mind-maps with your students, let us know!