Concept Maps with Technological Versatility

I have facilitated a workshop for teachers on using technology in the classroom for teaching English Language Arts. When I was preparing the workshop, I wanted to have the teachers create a concept map to collect some of their ideas.  This idea made me go looking for what online tools are available to use.
 
Concept maps are are a great way to graphically represent thoughts, ideas, knowledge and ideas in an organized fashion. Usually the main idea is in the centre of the page and then there are lines moving outward linking other ideas to the main idea. Kathy Shrock put together a website page called Concept Maps in the Classroom that has a variety of links to dig deeper into concept maps.
 
Concept Maps are a great way to:
  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Organize research notes
  • Prepare ideas for writing
  • Storyboard
 
I enjoy creating concept maps by hand using a paper and a variety of coloured pens, and with my iPad using the app Paper which allows me to use the apple pencil as my coloured pens and the iPad as the paper.  I regularly use this app to do my brainstorming for a session or workshop that I will be facilitating.
 
For the workshop, I wanted a concept mapping tool that could be used on a variety of devices. Here are a few that I would like to share with you. The majority of educators are looking for tools that are free because they are working on a tight budget. The following concept mapping tools all have free versions that offer a diversity of abilities to meet the needs of what you are hoping to accomplish.
 
Here are 4 tech tools that are strong candidates for creating great online concept maps. Students are able to easily use and manipulate each of these online concept maps.
 

Coggle offers itself as a simple mind mapping tool that offers the ability to collaborate with others. The free version offers the ability to have:

  • 1 private diagram
  • Unlimited public diagrams
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Icons
  • Ability to upload images
  • Ability to download as a PDF or image and to export
Mindmup boasts the following abilities:
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Interface ability
  • Conversion to PDF, and PowerPoint, and outlines
  • Publishing ability
Padlet impresses many teachers who work with young students. On Padlet you can:
  • Type
  • Record voice
  • Add hyperlinks
  • Upload documents
  • Include a picture
Bubbl.us is an easy to use web based tool offering:
  • Ability to collaborate with others
  • Variety of colours
  • Ability to save your concept map as an image

Have fun creating concept maps in whatever format you choose!