Review by Stephanie Trautman, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2014


Basic online mind-mapping tool shares easily to the cloud

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6-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Setup is simple, and cloud storage features are easy to use.

Cons: Image sizes can be rather sticky to manipulate, and features are limited.

Bottom Line: Easy-to-use mind mapping tool created for adults but simple enough for middle and high school students; look elsewhere for a more user-friendly experience.

Get students to start planning a paper or project, or outlining ideas. The cloud-based sharing feature for this app is limited, so to get kids to collaborate as a group, have them share their maps to Google Drive or print them out to share and discuss on paper.  

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MindMup is a free mind-mapping tool that lets students create and share mind maps. Users can save or share their creations either on MindMup’s cloud or through Google Drive.

The site includes a toolbar at the top along with a floating sidebar that lets users customize their maps. There are also preset hotkeys for user shortcuts, all accessible through a built-in user guide. Maps can be customized with branches called nodes (known as parents, children, and siblings); nodes can be color-coded, and images can be added near a node. A storyboard feature allows users to look at their mind map from a different view, but it's best used once the map has already been created. 

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The site is not specifically designed for educational purposes, so it's not flashy or colorful, and accessibility for a range of abilities isn't its main focus. The possibilities for mapping are endless with this tool, but the experience is only as engaging as students want to make it: There are no frills here. The design is simplistic, and the developer's motto of “zero friction free online mind-mapping” is true: It is straightforward and basic. The tool is good for exploring options before beginning a project or organizing ideas before starting to write.

Some of that simplicity makes the site hard to use. For example, to resize images, users must numerically input height and width and can't use the mouse to make adjustments. Students must also jot down the URL of the mind map they are working on if they’d like to easily find it once it has been stored in the cloud. Overall, this is an okay tool for creating mind maps in a hurry, but look elsewhere for more powerful creation and customization features.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Students may not be reeled in by this tool geared toward adults, but they may enjoy its capabilities for mapping out as many ideas as possible.

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

Students take an active role in building their knowledge, brainstorming, and connecting ideas. The mind map adapts based on how many parent, children, and sibling nodes are added.

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

The site boasts a blog, which offers detailed news about the mind-mapping tool as well as communities on various social media sites to help users. Keyboard shortcuts and simple design make features mostly easy to use.

Common Sense Reviewer
Stephanie Trautman Classroom teacher

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Featured review by
Randi D. , Student
My CommonSenseReview Artifacts, 2

It really helps get people to think and brainstorm. It is also a great way to visualize concepts and share ideas. We were also able to play around with how we wanted the mind map to look, but the free version was limiting as to what you can do. I didn't want to have anyone have to shell out money $2.99 per month or $25 per year. I liked that the mind map could be saved in a Google Drive folder and you can also choose to share with the public or with certain people.

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