Ran a session today for Blackpool and the Fylde College on “The uses of concept mapping in education”, which went pretty well. The first half of the session we looked at Inspirations which is the concept mapping software that they have, and most people were very impressed, including one tutor who during the course of the session was converted from being a sceptic, to loving it – not bad in a couple of hours!
The second half of the session I looked at bubbl.us with them, as a free web-based collaborative concept mapping tool, which some thought was OK, but a few weren’t as keen as bubbl doesn’t have any where near the full functionality of Inspirations, so the staff were a little disappointed with it. On reflection – next time I run a session like this, I’ll do the bubbl training first and hopefully get people excited about some of the concepts and benefits that it can bring to the learning experience – then move up to the Inspirations training.
A couple of attendees had used Mind Genius previously and agreed with me, that although Inspirations has some good features, and out performs Mind Genius (my weapon of choice) in some areas (images in particular, and the ability to drag branches to any position) – overall Mind Genius was the more versatile and powerful of the 2
Towards the end of the session, one of the attendees through the wonders of del.icio.us found another collaborative concept mapping tool, that I hadn’t heard of called MindMeister – on initial inspection it looks pretty good – has the benefits of being web based and collaborative but much closer to the functionality of commercial packages than Bubbl. With MindMeister you can create up to 6 basic maps for free – after that you need to pay a monthly licence – which although very cheap, most people won’t want to do.
All the same the exciting thing is that computerised concept mapping is starting to become mainstream, which is great, and hopefully as more and more free tools come along, more people will use them, and the commercial providers will look at their pricing structures to make sure that they remain competitive.
If anyone is interested in a presentation on the uses of Concept Mapping in education, then one can be found on my website