Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cool New Tool: spiderscribe

I presented my new and improved mind mapping (etc.) presentation four times this academic year, and I always get the same question: "What about software?" I've blogged before in this space about my preference for making hand-drawn mind maps because I feel that I get more out of that process. For me, the drawing (and coloring) of a mind map helps me get to the synthesis, the deeper learning, and the flow of a concept easier.

That said, I do understand that mind maps can be used for other purposes: presentations, memory aids, organizing notes, and pulling together assorted media. Until very recently, I didn't have a favorite electronic way to organize this stuff. It seemed that since I started paying attention, mind mapping software has disappeared from cyberspace, has gone from free to not-free, and is just plain clunky. Tony Buzan's iMindMap is super, but you have to pay for it. I'm just not comfortable recommending an expensive tool like that (however snazzy and useful) to educators who will be using it with students.

Today in my inbox was an email from a friend with just a simple link in it: http://www.spiderscribe.net. This might be the one. I watched the short introductory video and then toyed around with it. It's simple to use, and can bring together photos, text, Word docs, and even maps easily. It would work an effective presentation tool, but without the established path function that Prezi has. There aren't many color, shape and clip-art choices, but the spiderscribe is designed to be visually apealling without those bells and whistles. There's not an embed option, so I can't plunk my sample into this blog. However, here is the mind map I created this morning to test out spiderscribe: Cape May Lighthouse. Maps can be public, private, or findable only if a viewer has the link.

I like it. I like how it reminds me of Evernote for organizing data and images but Prezi at other times when considering presentation. Try it!!

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