Oh boy - I've found some scrumptious free mindmapping tools that I need to share with you!
Mind mapping is a way to visualize concepts by drawing out associations between your ideas. It can be extremely useful as a brainstorming tool and even for teaching. It combines the textual and visual cognitive senses we use to help us understand concepts.
Two absolutely free and absolutely easy to use mind mapping tools are:
(1) bubbl.us - you don't need to set up an account. Simply click on the "Start Brainstorming"button.
The controls are intuitive. For example, hovering over the first box allows you to type in text. You can hover over parts of that box to show crosshairs that allow you to reposition the box wherever you want. The other hovering options allow you to add boxes stemming from the original. You can change the color of the boxes.
When you're done mapping, click on the Menu button at the bottom right of the screen. You can export the map you've created as an image, XML, or HTML file. Below is an example of a mind map I created using bubbl.us:
(2) SimpleMind Xpress - this is a free app for your iPhone or iPod Touch. There is a paid version, but I find the free one does a good job. You can upload your final mind map to your iTunes and then download it to your computer as a document.
This presentation below gives some helpful pointers on how to maximize the effectiveness of your mind mapping exercises.
These tools produce such graphically appealing mind maps that you'll feel compelled to map out just about anything. Knock yourself out!