Communicating our scattered thoughts in a logical and coherent manner is a challenge for learners of all ages. Perfecting the art of putting thoughts on paper (figuratively speaking) is not only an effective skill to share ideas, it is also an important process for refining and perfecting ideas themselves. Mindmeister is a mind mapping tool that you can use with your students to make this process fast, effective and collaborative; as well as aiding and enhancing their visual thinking skills.

MindmeisterName: Mindmeister
: Free
Compatibility: Browser / iOS / Android
Access: Email signup
Privacy: Customizable (Privacy policy)


A Quick Look


In Practice

1. Model a simple task or structure

When introducing your students to Mindmeister and the concept of mind mapping, try to start with something simple. This could be asking your students to map a process they are very familiar with, such as a favourite recipe; or a structure they know well, such as their family tree. By starting with familiar concepts students will have the opportunity to grasp visual structures before they progress to modelling more complex maps and problems.

2. Collaborative brainstorming

With Mindmeister there are a number of ways students can mind map together. Students can share devices and work together off the same screen, or they can use the built-in collaboration feature to work from individual devices. If you are still starting out with mind mapping, I suggest collaborating as a group with a shared mind map projected in front of the class. This way students can pool and share their ideas while their teacher maintains control of the collaborative map.

3. Part of the creative process

When you get to a point where students are producing mind maps comfortably on their own, it’s time to encourage them to use the tool as part of their own creative process. This means they can use mind maps to brainstorm ideas, take notes or plan and structure projects or essays. This can be of great value to teachers too, as maps can be reviewed through a historic timeline where each step in the creative process can be analyzed and assessed.

4. Integrate with Google Docs

One neat feature of Mindmeister is the option to connect the tool as an add-on to Google Docs. This allows students to take down their ideas in note form and transform the bullet points instantly to a Mindmeister mind map. This can be a great way to visualize lists and enrich documents with a graphical overview.

5. Presenting ideas

Mind maps are one of the best ways to share and express ideas. Try offering Mindmeister as an alternative to PowerPoint or Keynote where students can use presentation mode to traverse the nodes of their map in a slideshow fashion. This gives a fresh and engaging take on formal presentations as well as adding another useful approach and tool to their digital toolbox.


Links and Next Steps


Feature image adapted from image courtesy of Flickr, torres21.

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