We have found Inspiration and Kidspiration useful at our school but recently there has been a substantial growth of web-based (and free!) mind-mapping and graphic organizer tools. Here are a few tools to aid writing, planning, organization and the development of 21st Century skills.
1. Popplet – a Prezi-like graphic organizer and mind-mapping tool that is an excellent platform for students to demonstrate their learning. The presentation mode is similar to Prezi and useful for students to present their ideas in larger maps. Students must create an account to save their maps. Files can be shared as images files (.jpg or .gif) or embedded into a website or wiki.
2. Mindomo -another free site for building maps online. Students can sign up using a distinct account or use their Google, Facebook or Yahoo Account. Files can be saved as graphics or embedded into websites as Flash files.
3. Bubbl.us – a quick and easy way to mind-map and brainstorm with students. Students need to set up a distinct account which is quick and easy. Importing graphics from computers or the web is not available in the free version. Files can be exported as either image files (.jpg or .png)
For the record, Inspiration and Kidspiration are available in a web-based format called Webspiration but I found their content mangement system and tools useful but not worth the expense. In short, Popplet seems to be the most promising tool as it is a free, flexible and user-friendly mind mapping tool and its presentation mode makes it ideal for project-based learning.