Free Online Mind Mapping Tools

 Mind Map

Mind mapping is a simple, powerful, and problem solving tool. It is a non-linear way of organizing information and a technique that allows you to capture the natural flow of your ideas.  Mind mapping is an important technique that improves the way you take notes and enhances your creative thinking.  By using mind maps, you can quickly identify and understand the structure of a subject and the way that pieces of information fit together, as well as recording the raw facts contained in normal notes.

Mind mapping involves writing down a central idea and brainstorming new and related ideas that radiate out from the centre. By focusing on key ideas written down in your own words, and then looking for branches out and connections between the ideas, you are mapping knowledge in a manner which will help you understand and remember new information.  Mind Maps provide a structure that encourages creative problem solving, and they hold information in a format that your mind will find easy to remember and quick to review.

The idea of mind mapping is very similar with concept mapping.  However, the mind map is based on radial hierarchies and tree structures, whereas a concept map is based on connections between concepts.  To learn more about mind mapping, you may want to watch a video shown below about mind mapping with Tony Buzan, a British popular psychology author, who has popularized mind mapping.

There are many software available for creating mind maps.  However, I like the Web-based mind mapping software that allows teachers and students to create and access mind maps online without installing any software.  Many of these services are free.   Here is a list of free online mind mapping tools:

About Dr. Steve Yuen

I am Dr. Steve Yuen, a Professor Emeritus of Instructional Technology and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi. This is my personal blog on the use of emerging technologies in teaching and learning. Hope you find this blog interesting, stimulating, and educational. Please feel free to social bookmark this page.
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12 Responses to Free Online Mind Mapping Tools

  1. vicgee says:

    Thanks for the mind-mapping.org link Steve.

    For people who like mindmapping and want it free, I’ve just pulled together in one place the details of all of the web-based ones, over at
    http://www.mind-mapping.org/web-based-mindmappers/

    This shows what’s free (and how much the subscriptions are for the others), what can import and export MindManager and FreeMind maps and, of course, where to find them. The subscription ones like MindMeister and Mindomo as you correctly imply have a free option for a few maps as well, and I’ve shown what the limitations are.

    Vic
    http://www.mind-mapping.org
    The master list of mind mapping &
    information management software

  2. Andrea Howard says:

    Oh, this is great! I am going to try it myself and with my students. I teach MCT remediation to 6th-8th grade students and I have found that the student’s major problem with their learning is their lack of desire to perform higher level thinking. They are so quick to give up and say “I don’t know” without any effort being made to do problem solving. I have recently begun having my students complete bubble maps, which are very similar to mind maps. They always seem to experience difficulty in getting the map started, I will usually begin the map by listing one word related to the core concept. Once I do that, the maps usually extend across my white board by the time they are finished. They never realized how much they knew about a concept until we put the concept into bubble map form. They all gain a deeper understanding of the concepts after we finish the bubble map exercises. I am hoping to gain more insight about using these sort of tools in the future.

  3. Shenetta Booth says:

    There was a psychologist that told me that Mind Mapping will help my dyslexic niece. Giving a little background on my 9-year old niece, she is dyslexic and cannot control the way she see things in front of her, especially when it comes to reading and writing. She is also gifted and is on an educational level as a freshman in high school. She is incredibly talented in math, science, and technology, her skills in reading and writing is not intact with her learning ability. She is very creative. She is a rare case, according to the psychologist and school officials.

    Dr. Livingston mentioned Mind Mapping at the time and I have never heard of it before. I researched it and it seems like a process that requires a lot of thinking and letting them create ideas for themselves. Now, I liked that idea then, but I didn’t know anything about it. So I stopped the research and never thought about it again.

    Now, I am being introduced to it again, thanks to Dr. Yuen, it is going to become a popular subject between me and her teachers. I am researching it more to see how she can benefit from Mind Mapping. Mind Mapping is a way for the student to organize information and capture the natural flow of their ideas. It enhances their creative thinking and improve how their learning style and ability. I watched the online video and learned a lot, but I still haven’t grabbed the concept yet, so hopefully I will be able to and can teach my niece and others about mind mapping.

  4. guoqiangcui says:

    I like the idea of mind mapping. Mind mapping is not a new idea and it has been used for several years. It is useful for brainstorming and collecting bunches of ideas. I have the same kind of habit that when I am trying to thinking out an idea, I will first write down all the ideas that come to me, just in case some of them will drift away later. Mind mapping is a really marvelous idea and it can greatly help people to gather their own ideas about some certain topics. It will make people become more productive and creative and it is exactly the reflection of the mind thinking process. According to the psychology author, the mind mapping also has its psychological basis and will greatly help the memory thinking process.

    The use of the branches, curves and the different color will definitely improve the thinking and creating process. You can just simply write down the central idea with some certain shape and color then extends to the other branched with different colors. I tried the mind mapping tool “Gliffy”, which Dr.Yuen recommended. It is indeed easy to use, you can just sign up for your own account and then log in to begin brain mapping. I only register for the free one but you want to have more diagrams, you still have to pay for it. If you get always get easy access to the internet and use the computer so freely, I think it might be a good idea to develop your ideas by the mind mapping tool.

  5. 陳旭能 says:

    阮老師在本文中提供許多有關Mind Mapping 之發展工具,其中不乏可供教育工作者或企業訓練師加以妥善利用之Mind Mapping 教學應用方法與軟體。有關Mind Mapping 在教育上之應用,我在多年前即已涉獵過,當時與任教於國中之好朋友共同開發有關利用「心智圖」作為學生學習工具之相關教育科技研究。其中,除一般課程用以發展討論、分析之用途外;經過實務上的操作,最特殊的是我們發現「心智圖」甚至可引薦給學生用來作為課前預習之用。我們請學生在下一次上課前,先利用心智圖表針對該課程主題與其既有之認知內容,進行分析與思考發展出其自己的心智圖,再於上課時由老師與同學就課程內容再一次繪出該課程之心智圖,結果發現學生不但分析能力增加,且對於所學習之課程亦有較高之學習成就表現。

  6. 秀敏 says:

    心智地圖的學習對於運用科技工具輔助其優點,但是重要的是對於學生如何對於所認知事務或是學習內容進行心智概念圖的分析與撰寫之訓練,才為重要的方向。如何判別概念與概念之間的原則與關係,如何將自己的學習簡化,讓自己的學習更又效率,更能延伸。此外,如何利用心智概念圖與同儕分享,相互合作學習團隊合作。

  7. 鴻如 says:

    Mind Mapping 如果用來組織個人的記錄,不但可以加深自身的記憶也可以創造個人更自由的聯想,應可啟發學生們在思考上更深入的探索,老師在教學上更深的省思,或是在教與學上帶給學生聽講之完整性,可更瞭解欲解說主題的發展始末,有一套參考其他文章介紹的免費線上心智圖http://bubbl.us/,介面很活潑,可以用拖拉的方式來隨意排版,而且可以設定分享的權限,更可以線上來共同編輯,輸出的格式有JPEG、PNG、XML、HTML,也提供HTML Embed code可以貼到Blog或網頁上,內容可以使用中文字型,但是存檔要用英文,雖然有優點也有缺點,不過基本上如果以部落格來呈現的話,我覺得更為漂亮及方便。

  8. maximumfiction says:

    Some thoughts on mind mapping and novel writing that may be of interest:

    http://maximumfiction.wordpress.com/2009/08/07/craft-notes-mind-mapping-my-work-then-and-now/

    The example show was made using the free application FreeMind.

  9. Hi,
    I’ve written a book about FreeMind with many examples for managing and teaching :boostez votre efficacité avec FreeMind Eyrolles publishnig
    On this website, it’s possible to find some ressources about mind mapping in French, even in English if you use Google translation or Yahoo
    Have you an idea if such book exists in English ? I ‘ve soon seen in German but not in English language.
    Best regards .

  10. 鄭伊真 says:

    第一次接觸到mind mapping是在大學的自然科教材教法上,當時不很清楚為什麼要畫或者畫這個有什麼好處,單純認為是一項自然組科目常用的學習策略之一.實際操作的感覺,maind mapping由於是很個人的產物,製作上並不困難,差別在於內容的豐富性.只是對於過去習慣問題-解答這種思考模式的人來說,需要一段適應期.後來更發現,有老師將它應用在作文教學上.

    為什麼mind mapping會如此被推廣與廣泛應用呢?從影片介紹可知,與大腦如何活動有關,大腦的運作由一點引發後向外分支,分支再向外分支,不斷地擴增與延伸,mind mapping市一種將思考歷程紀錄下來的技術,由於每個key word間有關聯存在而緊緊連結在一起,我們才能將各種知識記得牢且久.影片中還告訴我們另一項重要的訊息,顏色和圖片對於記憶量與記憶時間有加乘效果,從許多教導讀書術書籍和報紙上考取學生分享的學習筆記可得到印證.

    如文章所述,mind mapping能幫助老師培養學生創造性思考的能力.此外,我認為還可將總結性評量與之結合,傳統紙筆測驗所測得的往往是練習與背誦的結果,而mind mapping可以協助老師了解學生融會貫通與否.

  11. 郁茹 says:

    之前會跟學生介紹Mind Mapping的使用,但是只停留在用紙筆進行後,學生就只是收進他的資料夾了。後來我有找到電腦軟體可以使用Xmind,但是需要下載安裝,往往遇到電腦教室中有還原系統的,就很難使用了。老師介紹的線上免費資源,真的很棒,我試了一下,覺得Mindomo還蠻不錯,操作的界面跟一般文書軟體一樣,另外很多連結功能,包括影片和附檔都可以連結,再加上很多可愛的符號,會是學生喜愛的。
    我想,有了這樣的工具,學生在學習策略上的應用可以更加不一樣,他還可以進一步分享和討論,再修正,這會使得學習策略也升級了,我覺得科技工具的發展,會使得學習更容易,也可能影響學生學習策略的改變,也許以後學生的學習策略會少了背誦,而多了許多分析理解等因應科技發展而來的學習策略。

  12. Kim says:

    Here is one more free mind mapping service, which I found recently. The thing I liked about it, is that I can download the flash component it uses and use it on my own.

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