Web-based Concept Mapping Tools for Learning

Do you use concept maps to show relationships among different topics/sub concepts in your classes? Or do you draw diagrams to brainstorm or organize your thoughts?

Concept maps (similar to mind maps, topic maps, or semantic maps) are a popular education tool to represent relationships between different ideas by visually connecting links through arrows, lines, and labels. In addition to words and lines, maps can be color-coded and include images, photos, and hyperlinks to other websites to support messages. Common uses of concept maps are include outlining projects, communicating abstract topics, presenting ideas, brainstorming and organizing thoughts.

Although proprietary mapping software has been in existence for quite some time (e.g., Inspiration), several different websites now provide interactive tools and interfaces to create these maps online – often free of charge and with an option to collaborate with others over the web.

Here is a listing of a few tools including the features in the free versions (in no particular order):

Minddomo (http://www.mindomo.com/):

  • Have up to 7 private maps / or unlimited public maps
  • Share and collaborate on maps
  • Import maps from Mindjet’s Mindmanager™ and Freemind
  • Export map as TXT, RTF and PDF
  • Print / Save maps as image PNG, JPG and GIF
  • Publish maps in blogs and websites
  • Free version includes advertisements

Gliffy  (http://www.gliffy.com/):

  • Professional look
  • Multiple applications (e.g., mind map, flowchart, etc.)
  • Have up to 5 public maps
  • Upload up to 2MB in images
  • Share and collaborate on maps
  • Export map as PDF
  • Print / Save maps as images
  • Access full shape library
  • Publish maps to blogs and websites

Flowchart (http://flowchart.com/): still in beta testing

  • Real-time multi-user online collaboration with chat.
  • Works with popular browsers. On any Operating System.
  • Multi page flowchart.
  • Embed Flowchart in your website.
  • Drawing Tools (Lines, Arrows, Bézier curves).
  • Extensive Clipart object library or Upload your images.
  • Record/Playback your Flowchart.

Bubbl.us (http://bubbl.us/):

  • Email / Print mind map
  • Save as an image
  • Share and work with friends
  • Embed your mind map in your blog or website

Mindmeister (http://www.mindmeister.com/):

  • Have up to 3 mind maps
  • Share and collaborate on maps
  • Import maps from Freemind and MindManager™
  • Print / Save maps as image / PDF / RTF
  • Publish maps to blogs and websites

Freemind (http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page):

  • Completely free / Open-source
  • Download required
  • Color-coding only (no images but icons)
  • Publish maps to blogs and websites

For more mind mapping & brainstorming tools, check out Learning Tools Directory provided by the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies or the Office of Instructional Consulting Delicious account.

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3 responses to “Web-based Concept Mapping Tools for Learning

  1. Pingback: Concept Maps » LSMT Help

  2. Pingback: Tools to Create Concept Maps » LSMT Help

  3. Pingback: Applying Hyper-Connected Critical Thinking in Higher Education - OnlineUniversities.com

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