I’m a big fan of mind mapping as a method for organizing thoughts, connecting concepts, and visualizing the big picture of concept. In fact, I think that the mind mapping process is so valuable that I created an entire workshop about it. I’ve tried a lot of mind mapping tools over the years. Here are five like I have installed on my iPad right now.
Idea Sketch is a simple app for creating mind maps on your iPad. One of the features of Idea Sketch that stands out is the option to flip back and forth between a web format and an outline format. This makes the app a good choice for students who occasionally prefer to a linear outline instead of a web layout. Creating a mind map on Idea Sketch is a simple process. To get started tap the “Ideas” button then tap the “+” button. All mind maps start on a blank screen that you fill up by tapping anywhere to add a text bubble. You can change the colors and sizes of each bubble. To add a new connected bubble just tap, hold, and drag a bubble into place. To switch to a linear outline format tap the “list” icon in the upper, right corner of the screen. Tap that icon again to switch back to the web format. Completed mind maps can be exported as images or shared via email.
Inkflow can be the perfect app for people like me who like to sketch out their ideas before sharing them in presentations, in writing, or in video productions. Inkflow is also great for people who like to take notes in a free-hand format in which they can easily include little sketches and diagrams along with their written words. Inkflow is an iPad app that can be used to sketch mind maps, draw pictures, write free hand, and just about anything else you might do with a pencil and paper. All of the pages that you sketch on and write on can be organized into little books that include page-turning effects.
Popplet makes it easy to quickly create a mind map to connect your ideas about a topic. To start a mind map with Popplet you just have to tap the “make new Popplet” button. You will be given a blank page on which you can tap anywhere to add a thought box. Each thought box can contain text, a drawing or sketch, and a picture. Altering the size of a thought box is only a matter of pinching the edges of the box together or spreading them apart. To connect thought boxes just tap the small circle that is next to each box. Popplet is available in a lite version to try before buying the full version. The full version gives you unlimited projects and space. The full version also allows you to work online to share your mind maps.
BigMind allows to create mind maps by using one of their eight templates or by creating a mind map from scratch. Whether you work from a template or start with a blank canvas, the features of BigMind are the same. To add a bubble to your mind map just tap the screen. Each bubble can include text and pictures. Double tap on a bubble to open the menu for inserting pictures. While you have that menu open you can also change the colors and borders of a bubble in your mind map. Adding related (child and sibling) bubbles is just a matter of tapping the up, down, or side arrows next to each of the bubbles in your mind map. All of your BigMind mind maps can be password protected. BigMind mind maps can be saved to Google Drive, Box, or Dropbox. BigMind mind maps can also be saved as images on your iPad. Big Mind is currently priced at $4.99.
Lucidchart is a mind mapping tool that I’ve used off and on for a few years. Now you can get the same features on your iPad. Recently, Lucidchart launched a free iPad app. The app is easy to use to create flowcharts, mindmaps, and graphic organizers. Lucidchart offers a simple drag and drop interface for creating flow charts, organizational charts, mind maps, and other types of diagrams. To create with Lucidchart just select elements from the menus and drag them to the canvas. You can re-size any element and type text within elements on your chart. Arrows and connecting lines can be re-sized, repositioned, and labeled to bring clarity to your diagrams. Lucidchart on your iPad includes the same collaboration features that are available in a web browser. The collaboration aspect is excellent for students to use to plan group projects and or create study guides together.