There are many concept mapping tools on the market. I mentioned MyStudyBar on Day 3 – part of the bar comprises XMind which is good.
I want to concentrate on Inspiration though as it’s my favourite.
Inspiration has multiple functions:
You can create a mindmap or a spider diagram.
You can use lots of colour – I love colour coding – I would colour code my friends, my students and shops if I could.
You can add in pictures, videos and hyperlinks.
It has many templates for many subjects – from cell comparison in Science to comparing and contrasting characters in a novel for English Literature.
Once the essay and spider diagram/mind map is complete, you can then transfer it into word or make it into a presentation – it does the structure and order for you which takes away a lot of the laborious parts.
What this does for me is take away the repetitiveness of writing an essay. If I plan, I don’t want to then write it all out again for the essay and I definitely don’t want to write it out a third time for the powerpoint so often asked for.
Structuring thoughts into a cohesive and sequential order is very hard for some students; they may not be natural writers who can link ideas and write flowing essays. This helps – it takes away the stressy bit.
Students who say ‘I know what I want to say and just can’t put it down on paper’ will find this software liberating.
(for younger students there is also Kidspiration which is a child-friendly version – you can download either of these for a 30 day free trial).
The photos are from a lite version on the iPad but I tend to use my laptop when using Inspiration.