Free MindMapping Software, K-12
A Beta version of some interesting graphic organizer software is available. According to Wikipedia, “A mindmap is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing.” In other words, mindmapping is a very useful image-based method for brainstorming that can be used across all grade levels and content areas.

What are the benefits of mindmapping for students?
• Ideas can be linked using the same shape for their boxes or the same color for the branches.
• Emotions can be conveyed, and importance stressed.
• Using text allows student ideas to be expressed accurately.
• Students can use their own language.
• Students can create a document from their mindmap.
• Others can easily read a mindmap.
• Mindmaps give the whole story in one picture.
• A concept can be presented on one page by making use of color, shape, style, layout, and fonts.
• A mindmap can hold a large amount of information in a small space.
• The act of making a mindmap around a problem helps students see possible solutions and helps them select the one solution that meets all of their criteria.
• A mindmap enables students to see, at a glance, what is important. As they work, their whole brain and all their skills can come into play.
• It helps focus students’ minds on the main issue. The main branches convey the overall picture, while the sub-branches give the key points or details.
• Students can see quickly how items are related and are inter-dependent.
• Mindmaps can bring clarity to complex material.

Because Mind42 is a Web 2.0 application, it enables and promotes collaboration between users. Brainstorming is not a single user activity. The more people who take part in a brainstorming session, the better the results will be. Every participant in a brainstorming session has an immediately updated view of all the collected ideas. Mind42 gives users the ability to add multiple files and notes to a single topic and Web links and icons to their map nodes.
Click on Comments and share your success stories in using graphic oranizers in the classroom.