Mind maps are used for brainstorming and to visually organise information. They connect information around a central idea or topic and build branches (or nodes) around it.
Students can create a mind map to organise their thoughts before writing a story or creating a project. They can use them to takes notes in a non-linear way making it easier to see connections between concepts, or as part of a problem solving task to see the different parts of a complex problem to highlight a new and creative solution. Creating a mind map as a group allows everyone's ideas to be included effectively.
There are a range of free and paid apps available to create mind maps. Here are a few we have used:
MindMup is a free web-based mind mapping tool which integrates into Google Drive for collaboration with others. Add text and images, change the node colour and attach files and URLs. MindMup Gold subscription provides a premium service either per user, or per organisation. Edit your Drive Settings to more easily open your MindMup documents from Google Drive.
Coggle is another web-based tool which allows collaboration, but not as integrated with Google Drive as MindMup. Create colourful mind maps with text, images, icons and URLs. Upgrade to paid versions for more features.
SimpleMind is available as a free version, or the Pro version with more features. The interface is clear and easy to use with lots of flexibility. Pro offers 50% discount on VPP Store for Education.
Popplet is a widely used app in schools with its distinctive rectangles which can contain text, drawings or images. Popplet Lite is free and allows you to have one board only. The paid Popplet allows multiple boards and many other features, and offers 50% discount on VPP Store for Education. Note: as time of writing Popplet has not been updated to 64-bit which may cause compatibility issues with future iOS releases.
Other apps worth trying are Mind Meister, iMindMap and Total Recall Mind Map. If you decide on a free app without export, remember you can always take a screenshot.