My Favorite Apps: MindMapping

  • Mindmapping is a great tool for helping students view how concepts relate to one another. I prefer mindmaps over outlines, because the branching that occurs with mind maps tends to allow more flexibility for adding topics. You could say, it’s the outline for the non-linear mind.

    Mindmaps are great for helping stduetns view related concepts. You might consider using them for:

       - Plotting concepts in a book chapter
       - Planning a research paper
       - Brainstorming

    My favorite apps for mindmapping are (in order):


    Cost: 4.99 full version/ free lite version


    Popplet is both a web-based and an app-based tool- this makes it extra handy for transitioning between devices and for access at home or school. You can add text, drawings or photos to boxes. Popplet allows you to export as a PDF or JPG. Popplets can be shared or private. The web-based tool requires an e-mail login and limits you to three popples for the free account- but that's enough to experiment and try out.


    Idea Sketch Idea Sketch

    Cost: free

    Two reasons idea sketch is on this list: 1) It's simple.  2) It's free.

    If I need a quick and easy mind map, this is the go-to tool. You can color code, customize shapes and fonts. You can flip between the concept map and an outline format- this is nice for students (or teachers) who might be accustomed to a more linear format. You can export the mindmap as an image, so it's not editable outsite of the app, but that's okay. Since my use is for a quick brainstorm, it serves that purpose very well. Also available in the Windows Store


    iThoughtsHD IconiThoughts HD

    Cost: $9.99

    This is truly the pro tool for Mind Mapping. It provides a fully functional, exportable mind map. The feature richness does make it a more complex tool, so not as new-user friendly. That said, if I want a professional polished mind-map this is my tool of choice. That said, sometimes less is more and I find myself using the other two recommendations here more frequently. 


    About the "My Favorite Apps" Series

    This blog series runs weekly and will review 2-4 apps in a select category. The selection of apps reflects the author's preferences and opinions. By posting a review of the app, the author indicates that she has downloaded, purchased, and used each of the apps found in the review. If you have suggested topics or apps, please feel free to contact the author.