How I Use It
I've used this for the visual organization or mapping of my own ideas and thoughts, but I wanted to see what elementary students would do with it. 5th grade students used MindMeister to develop a deeper understanding of our schools "6 Pillars of Character". Students captured main ideas quickly then revised and augmented collective responses. Students then improved the appearance of their map by changing font colors, even attaching pertinent images and videos. The fairly steep learning curve for this particular age level was mitigated by their engagement level and persistence. The students really stuck with the task and truly took their learning more seriously as they saw their map expand before their very eyes.
The depths of the app are well beyond the skills of an average 5th grader, but it's intuitive enough that students were able to map out thoughts, then elaborate on and restructure their ideas in a much more systematic way. Note-taking is often daunting to students and Mindmeister made students feel that its okay to have scattered thoughts and that its more important to get ideas "out of your head" so you can really see them graphically. In the free version there are limited bells and whistles, but there is more than enough to engage the students. I want to try this with multiple classes so that they can use the thumbs up or down feature as well as the comment or response features.