5 Free Web 2.0 Brainstorming Tools

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Call it brainstorming, concept mapping or mindmapping, collecting and organizing thoughts using web 2.0 is a snap. Let’s take a peek at several free options.

Bubbl.us has a wonderful user interface and is easy to use. This is classic concept mapping. Start with a central idea and branch off to other ideas. Connections to other thought bubbles can be easily created or deleted. For text only mindmaps, Bubble.us works great. If you need to add images or videos, check out some of the other tools below.

mindmapMindomo.com includes many more features including a clipart library and the ability to import images from Google images or Flickr as well as video straight from YouTube. The interface looks similar to Office 2007 with a ribbon and tabs for the various tools. Exploring these tabs reveals a large number of options and formatting tools. Mindomo works well if you need more than just text bubbles and has all the power of an installed application.

Wisemapping.com offers a bare bones user interface but includes everything you need to create a mindmap. Start with a main idea and branch from there. You can add icons and adjust the shape and color of your content. Completed maps can be shared or exported as several formats including PDF.

Mindmeister.com is a nice blend of features and usability. Double click anywhere to add content. You can also include icons and images, either your own or from the clipart library. In addition, mindmaps can include notes, links and even attachments. Keep in mind the free version scrolls through ads at the upper right-hand corner and you can only create three maps.

Mind42.com is simple and gets the job done. Like many of the others, start with a main topic and quickly add new nodes. Content can be moved and regrouped by dragging and dropping. Images and links can be included as well.

What’s the bottom line? It depends how many features you need. The more features, the more complicated the application. By far, the easiest to use is Bubble.us. Give it a try first and then try the others for comparison. Also, be sure to try Popplet.com which is featured in a companion article.

If you have other suggestions or comments, be sure to comment below! Thanks for reading the educational technology blog Teach Amazing!

 

 

35 Comments

Jill 16-01-2012, 00:57

Hi Mark,

Another online mindmapping software is MindJet. They offer a free 30 day trial and then there is monthly fee. Thanks for sharing these resources, I will definitely give them a try.

Jill

Reply
Faba 16-01-2012, 23:23

Hi there,

Another good one is spiderscribe.net It’s very easy to use. Thank you for all the materials you share.

Reply
Larry Lugo 29-01-2012, 00:09

CmapTools and CmapServer (free) are great too. You can create Cmaps in a collaborative way and make your own repositories both on your server or on public ones: http://cmap.ihmc.us/. Greetings and thank you for your very interesting and useful posts.

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André van Garderen 08-03-2012, 07:59

Hi Mark.

I’ve 2 free programms but not tried yet.

Freemind and freeplane (simply google them).

friendly regards,

André

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Mark Brumley
Mark Brumley 17-03-2012, 10:37

Thanks for the tip!!!

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Jim Rowley 31-05-2012, 17:09

One thing that is becoming even more important to me as my students have access to more tech is the ipad/ iphone ability. Some of the mindmaps do not work on these devices. Mind42 is one that does. I think that this is something to keep in mind as I make more of my curriculum around mindmapping tools. Thanks for the post.

Jim

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Ruth 26-04-2013, 05:25

I just discovered MindMup. Easy, open source, Chrome-integrated app.
http://www.mindmup.com/

Reply
HP 25-06-2013, 04:31

When we brainstorm with our team + remote workers we often use the Gmail chat / hangout. We love how simple and fast chatting is, but it lacks clustering, etc. As a result we developed our own realtime chat brainstorm app. Which is still very very beta. We want to make ik perfect in simplicity, so not to many bells and whistles.
We’d love to hear what you think!

http://www.chatvis.com/?ref=teachamazing.com

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