Common Sense Review
Updated August 2015


Powerful mind mapper aimed at adults, simple enough for older kids
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • After registration, the dashboard offers power, flexibility, ease, and a bit of promotion.
  • Basic brainstorm template with the Vanilla theme creates a simple yet attractive map.
  • Easy-to-assemble presentations focus on elements within the map through numbered windows.
  • Sample maps support classroom learning.
  • Suggestions for how to use Mindmeister in the classroom abound.
With tons of features and almost-seamless navigation, sharing and presenting are a snap.
There are so many options that it can take a while to orient yourself, and an email address is required for sharing.
Bottom Line
Sophisticated productivity tool enhances learning and organization with simple dashboard and slick workspace.
Jennifer Sitkin
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Slick design with tons of options will appeal to a wide age range. Video integration and mobile device compatibility should increase student buy-in.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Create online presentations, collaborate on projects, and organize notes. A digital tool to support students who struggle with executive functioning.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 5

Mindmeister Academy offers training on all its features and best practices. Suggestions for classroom use can help boost students' organizational skills.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

An entry under the Education tab of the blog gives a nice set of ideas based on those of teacher Anthony Valentin, a world history teacher at Stuyvesant High School in New York. A semester outline/curriculum overview could be shared and presented in the first week of school displaying topics to be covered, exam dates, learning goals, and assignments, not to mention modeling one way to use the software.  As the article mentions, kids with editing rights could ask and answer questions directly on the map, creating de facto FAQs or a support thread. For group projects, students could create a map adding research notes, sources, or email links to interview subjects, chat in pairs or groups right on the workspace, and then turn the results into a final presentation.

Mind maps could also be used to analyze literature, brainstorm creative pre-writing, summarize informational texts, and take notes on lectures or documentary videos. You could use the site as an assessment strategy especially to gauge student understanding of overarching concepts. The final few sections in the blog entry provide links to uses ranging from ways to create quizzes to teaching and learning with both sides of the brain.

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What's It Like?

MindMeister is a mind-mapping website (and Chrome app) with some great bonus features. Its dashboard immediately catalyzes creativity with pre-made sample mind maps and templates that range from basic brainstorming, to-do lists, and pre-writing to SWOT analysis, website planning, and meeting notes. In the workspace, you can choose a main theme, then create child or sibling nodes and add notes, images, icons, links, attachments, and formatting. You can also associate tasks, icons, due dates, team assignments, and email reminders with any node. Sharing and chatting on the workspace screen with team members is a snap via email address invitation.

Save is completely automated. Presentations that capture map sections are super easy to create and show, and replaying the creation process or restoring older versions is possible using the revert function. Digging deeper, there's a huge library of (Google-based) public maps you can browse for ideas and interesting information, professional video tutorials, and a list of keyboard shortcuts for aspiring power users. A free trial allows you to create three maps, and an Edu Campus plan for schools and universities is reasonably priced.

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Is It Good For Learning?

MindMeister packs tons of mapping and sharing functionality into a sleek, simple interface easy enough for upper elementary kids through adults. Just when you think you've found all the cool things it can do, you discover another one. MindMeister lets you log in with Facebook, Twitter, and Google, and exporting to PDF, Word, and PowerPoint is easy. Other new functions that will benefit the classroom include comments and votes, calendar integration, videos, task management, mobile apps, and an emoji library.

In addition, MindMeister has the potential to be a great tool to support students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, executive functioning disorder, and autism. Mind mapping lets users see what they are thinking and helps them organize their thoughts graphically, marking out how each step progresses to the next. MindMeister is a powerful productivity, creativity, collaboration, time management, and presentation tool for kids and adults alike.

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See how teachers are using MindMeister

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