The Power of Mind Mapping
Mind mapping is a technique of note taking using colors, shapes, patterns, keywords and images so that the information is rendered holistically. Mind mapping uses the whole power of the brain and uses  both sides of the brain to study subjects usually only studied with left brain.
from Neuro-Linguistic Programming
The pedagogical strengths of concept maps
  • Provide students with nonlinear visual ways to understand, produce, and represent knowledge.
  • Help develop higher-order thinking skills including analytical skills.
  • Facilitate the recall and processing of information.
  • Help students externalize their knowledge and show their understanding.
  • Make explicit structural forms of knowledge and relationships between concepts and therefore enhance students comprehension.
  • They attend to different learning styles.
  • They engage students in meaningful learning activities.
  • They are effective organizational tools students can use to organize their knowledge.
  • Visual representations of knowledge is proved to both stimulate and increase brain activity (Marzono, 1998, cited in Birbili, 2006).
  • Boost social interaction, communication and collaborative team work.
  • They can be used in different content areas and with students from different grades.

Below are online graphic organizer programs, downloadable templates, notetaking tools, and visual thinking tools. Even if your school has Inspiration these tools enable students to use free graphic organizers outside the classroom. 

Graphic Organizers/Concept Mapping Programs
  • Cacoo an online diagram maker with an extensive library of shapes and icons, added features such as shading and gradients, and the ability to collaborate in real-time
  • Gliffy Similar interface for those who are familiar with Visio. Nice variety of text box shapes. You can share your concept maps with others online. Text boxes on links are not automatic, so you have to place a regular shape on a link. The premium version has a fee.
  • Mindomo -  also let's you collaborate, comment, multimedia, text on links and add audio.
  • Exploratree - A great visual site for creating a mind map with numerous of templates for different applications like opinions and cause and effect and more.
  • Editable Graphic Organizers
  • Double Bubble Maps - Guide and video

    Class Tools Hexagons Generator lets you create an online hexagonal learning activity to share with your students. To use the template just enter a topic then a minimum of five terms related to that topic.

  • ExamTime offers a free tool for creating mind maps. Their mind map tool supports the use of text and images. video
  • Spider Scribe is an online mind map creation service. Spider Scribe can be used individually or be used collaboratively. What jumps out about Spider Scribe is that users can add images, maps, calendars, text notes, and uploaded text files to their mind maps. Users can connect the elements on their mind maps or let them each stand on their own. video tutorials
  • Text 2 Mindmap -This website allows you to organize thoughts. In order to encourage the use of mind mapping, Text 2 Mind Map has provided a free and simple mind mapping tool online.  The easiest way to learn Text2MindMap is to play with it and you will see that your students understand it fast.  Some tips:

    Write some text in the text area, use the TAB key to indent text lines, and click the "Draw Mind Map"-button to see what happens. Each text line in the text area will become a separate node in the mind map. Indenting the text (using the TAB key) starts a new branch of nodes in the mind map. Also, have a look at the Options to style your mind map.

  • Edynco  a site for creating Learning Maps.  This site reminds me of Prezi in that it allows educators to create a multimedia presentation that is "zoomable".  These Learning Maps can contains all types of media (i.e. audio, video, images) and are ideal for "flipping" a classroom or Guided Learning.  Best of all, a finished Map can be shared via a URL or embedded into a site/blo

  • Dabble Board
    Take the tour to see the possibilities. Web-based interactive drawing features. Good example of the interative potential of the Web.

  • Essay Map, as its name indicates, is a tool that helps students with their essay writings. It is an interactive graphic organizer that provides students with a step by step guidance through the process of developing a robust outline to their essays.

  • Best4C This graphic organizer has an excellent selection of graphics and linking options.

  • ProcessOn  designed for creating collaborative diagrams.  ProcessOn is very user friendly and allows users to add: shapes, bubbles, text, images, colors, etc.  Best of all ProcessOn is collaborative in nature and ideal for student's working in groups on the same project.  The social networking features allows users to share, collaborate, chat, and set privacy features all in real-time which is ideal for education.  Not only is this a tool for creating diagrams but ideal for brainstorming, mind mapping, and creating flow charts.

  • MindMup is a free mind mapping tool that can be used online, with Google Drive, and on your desktop. MindMup works like most mind mapping tools in that you can create a central idea and add child and sibling nodes all over a blank canvas. MindMup nodes can contain text and links. When you're ready to save your MindMup mind map you can save it to Google Drive, save it to your desktop, or publish it online. If you publish it online, you can grab an embed code for it to post it in a blog post or webpage.
    MindMup works in your browser and it can be integrated into your Google Drive account where you can then collaborate with other users. tutorial note how to add images and save to Google Drive

  • Graphic Organizer Includes online and offline templates. 

  • Editable Graphic Organizers

  • three dozen graphic organizers for students. In this collection you will find PDFs for things like "Think, Pair, Share" and "Who, What, When, Where, Why" activities. You'll also find templates for designing a stories and interviews.
  • TheBrain: Mind Mapping, BrainstormingIts a powerful information visualization and organization software for free. Simply type in your ideas. Drag and drop files and web pages. Any idea can be linked to anything else. Using your digital Brain is like cruising through a Web of your thinking. See new relationships. Discover connections. Go from the big picture of everything to a specific

  • Memofon Create mind maps from text. it is basically a text based mind mapping, learning and note taking tool.

  • Wikibrains is a website designed to help you brainstorm in a web format. When you brainstorm on Wikibrains you're also performing a basic Internet search at the same time. To create a brainstorm web on Wikibrains start by entering one word or phrase. When you enter a word you will be prompted to add more words by completing the phrase, "Makes me think off..." Each new word or phrase that you enter will be added to your web. As you enter words on the right side of the screen you will see links to search results about each word.

  • Slatebox allows you to create collaborative mind-map style idea visualisations. Perfect for embedding into a website or view on the interactive whiteboard

  • Coggle is a collaborative mind-mapping service that is very easy to use. To create a Coggle mind map just sign-in with your Google account and click the "+" icon to start your mind map. After entering the main idea of your mind map you can add branches by clicking the "+" icons that appear next to everything you type. To re-arrange elements just click on them and drag them around your screen. Coggle is a collaborative tool. You can invite others to view and edit your mind maps. You can also just invite others to view by sending them an email through Coggle. All Coggle mind maps can be downloaded as PDFs or PNG image files
  • CMap
    Free downloadable concept mapping program. More options than online graphic organizer tools. Even includes text boxes on links like Inspiration.

  • Creately
    In addition to diagramming tools, it has to capacity for collaboration

  • Pinball is a suite of fun tools for organizing ideas and generating new ideas. In Pinball you will find tools for creating mindmaps, outlines, and simple slideshows. Pinball also has tools to help you brainstorm and generate new ideas. Each one of the six Pinball tools provides options for including text and images in your mindmaps, outlines, and slideshows. If you're struggling to think of new ideas, each Pinball tool has a "lucky dip" button that will serve up a random image or bit of text to prompt you.

  • Mindmeister  Create, manage, and share graphic organizers online and access them anytime from anywhere. In brainstorming mode you can simultaneously work on the same mindmap and see each other's changes as they happen. You can also use Skype to toss out new ideas and put them down at the same time.

  • Exploratree*Wide range of concept mapping/graphic organizer templates from a site in the UK that you can edit. (Saving requires that you be logged in
  • Geni**Free family tree tool

Compare and Contrast Tools

Diffen - What uses in the classroom might you find to compare anything? After-all comparing and contrasting is a 21stcentury skill which would come under Critical thinking. At first you will just want to play and see how it compares. I am sure you will want to put in apples and oranges, cats and dogs, and rain and snow. You may even want to practice a little political comparison. What content area items could your students compare? How about making a lesson. Check out these two additional digital tools that could come in handy from the people at Read Write Think as described in their own words.

Venn Diagram - The Venn Diagram app allows users to compare and contrast information in a visually appealing way. Sounds like a 21st Century Skill useful from fine arts to applied science Also a website option

Compare & Contrast Map - This interactive graphic organizer helps students develop an outline for one of three types of comparison essays: whole-to-whole, similarities-to-differences, or point-to-point. A link in the introduction to the Comparison and Contrast Guide can give students the chance to get definitions and look at examples before they begin working.

  • Language Arts Organizers for fr. 6-12
    Unique and well developed organizers. Includes notetaking organizers, Literature Circle organizers, conflict resolution and many character development organizers.
  • Exploratree
    You can access a library of ready-made interactive thinking guides, print them, edit them or make your own. You can share them and work on them in groups too. A great tool that is simple to use and creates wonderful results.
  • aMap
    Allows people to communicate various sides of an idea. The underlying structuring of aMaps is based around "informal logic" - this is the logic people use to argue in everyday life. This can be applied to the classroom by using their site to create student debates on various topics.

  • DebateGraph A visualization tool that lets you present new points and rate arguments. Share and reuse debates on and offline
  • Circle Plot Diagram
    The Circle Plot Diagram can be used as a prewriting graphic organizer for students writing original stories with a circular plot structure as well as a postreading organizer used to explore the text structures in a book.

  • Essay Map
    The Essay Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to organize and outline their ideas for an informational, definitional, or descriptive essay.

  • Story Map
    The Story Map interactive is designed to assist students in prewriting and postreading activities by focusing on the key elements of character, setting, conflict, and resolution.

  • Pinball is a suite of fun tools for organizing ideas and generating new ideas. In Pinball you will find tools for creating mindmaps, outlines, and simple slideshows. Pinball also has tools to help you brainstorm and generate new ideas. Each one of the six Pinball tools provides options for including text and images in your mindmaps, outlines, and slideshows. If you're struggling to think of new ideas, each Pinball tool has a "lucky dip" button that will serve up a random image or bit of text to prompt you.
  • Literary Elements Map
    Students can map out the key literary elements of character, setting, conflict, and resolution as prewriting for their own fiction or as analysis of a text by another author in this secondary-level interactive.

  • Persuasion Map
    The Persuasion Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to map out their arguments for a persuasive essay or debate.


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