Monday, September 12, 2011

CEDO 525 Week 3:

Online Mind Mapping Review:
I reviewed the following 3 Mind Mapping apps from the course list but as I found all of these lacking in one way or another, I did some other searching as well.
  • MindMeister
  • CMAP

Available for Chrome Browser/App Integration from: (some can be used in other browsers outside of Chrome/Google account)
  • Concept Board
  • MindMapr
  • Mind 42
  • Connected Mind (
Pros: Very simple to use, can have more than one central idea, can connect bubbles to desperate other bubbles, can create a map without an account and print (but not save)
Cons: only text entry - no images, collaboration only with other members, free account limited to 3 maps
Best Use: Simple text/URL only maps and webs if you need more than one central idea.

Pros: Can create very polished design, add multiple different media types, signing up for an account after being invited to collaborate is very simple, can sign up for account with various OpenID’s
Cons: free account limited to 3 maps and basic features
Best Use: Creating nice looking media rich maps. Middle school/High school use for advanced features. Pay for premium for more features.

Pros: It was hard to tell?? Non-linear concept webbing. It may very well be a good program but see the cons.
Cons: The home page and navigation using an example of itself was hard to look at and understand what you could do with it - a very cluttered and confusing example violating one of the basic tenents of website user design: make your site so that people can easily and quickly find and navigate to the information they want. It took me a long time to find out that this is a client/server program that must be installed. I could not find any provided demo to try it out (perhaps it is there but camouflaged in the thicket of snippits buried amongst it’s broken sentences and multiple links to more snippits).
Best Use: If you need to create a complex concept web and have IT infrastructure to support its implementation.

Concept Board not strictly a mind mapping app but can be used as one.
Pros: Doesn’t require Chrome to use, can invite collaborators who can collaborate as guests without an account, has discussion/comment boxes that keep track of who added comments, can import .pdf, MS & OO documents and images, participants may take control and present information while others follow as read only, great for collaborating and discussion.
Cons: If you want a mind map, you need to manually add and connect everything, cannot add any other media types or links.
Best Use: Collaborate, comment & discuss ideas - import advanced organizer docs to comment on.

Pros: Very easy and quick to use for basic mapping and ideas
Cons: No collaboration, no additional media, only save to local disk.
Best Use: For a quick, easy and simple map. Great for younger kids because of its simplicity.

Mind 42 Very-very similar to Mindmeister
Pros: Collaborative, free (unlimited?)
Cons: can’t change the background color like in Mindmeister.
Best Use:

Connected Mind
Pros: A more free and distinctive graphic design of maps /webs.
Cons: no collaboration, tricky getting used to drawing the branches in the freeform style.
Best Use: For those desiring a more free looking design to a map/web

***Editor’s Pick For Education***
MindMapr: for elementary students
Mind 42: for middle school & high school
Concept Board: for collaboration & discussion

Learning Topics:
Once again I am frustrated that I cannot yet begin using any of thee wonderful tools and strategies. I hopefully will be soon because I’m still working at my old school but on administrative thing at the moment and our computers/network/Internet are not set up yet but I’m doing my best to move all of that along. When the crazy rush of the first month of school is over and we’re set up, I hope to be able to start training our teachers in all of this stuff.

Cues, Questions and Advance Organizers
This is something I’ve never really done and hope to get a chance using it. I think I’ll be trying it as I train our teachers in using technology.

Non-Linguistic Representation
Love it. Used it all the time teaching ESL. Will try to promote it’s use more with the teachers I work with.

Summarizing & Notetaking
I tried a couple of years ago to teach some mdidle schoolers about note-taking but not with a lot of sucess. I really like the the subtractive method mentioned in the book where students work on a text, strategically whittling it down until the bare bones necessities remain. I’d like to try this. I’ve done something similar but in the opposite direction teaching reading to ESL students. I take a reading and black out all the non-essentials and just leaving the parts/phrases that I know they will understand. Too often struggling readers are daunted by trying to read something that contains a lot of stuff they don’t understand. By reducing the reading to a minimum that contains essential information, I show them that they can understand the main ideas. I then show them how to block out/ignore the things they don’t understand with the whole text. Then I teach them how to guess about what some of the words might mean such as a word preceding a noun is very often an adjective. Don’t worry about it’s meaning this time. Just remember that it’s an adjective. If you see this word a few more times, then look it up. So, this summarizing/note-taking strategy I guess is a bit like this in reverse.


  1. Curtis - I am excited to check out the other Advanced Organizers you found. I wasn't too impressed with a lot of them we were given either. It sounds like, even the new ones you found, don't offere everything in one package! You would think there would be something out there that would be easy to use, you could collaborate, and have lots of functions. Overall, I think these Maps are a great way for students to retain learning and think critically, but I feel like a lot of them aren't user friendly for younger kids!

  2. Thanks for finding the other tools. It's always nice to have more options. I wish more of these were types of services were free to use without having to create an account. I don't know how many of various services that I belong to that I will never visit again. I think has the best approach. You can just start using it right away and do everything, but save (which obviously needs an account.) is an okay tool for this type of thing as well.

  3. Thanks again for adding all of the additional tools. Conceptboard looks interesting and it is helpful to see even more for comparison sake. Mind42 looks impressive for being free. I wonder how many sites/tools like this pop up, free at first to see if they stick and as a "beta" of sorts but then plan to convert to a pay model later on down the road.