Thinking Skills are becoming increasingly important in Primary education. Mind Mapping, Brainstorming, Thought Explosions…call it whatever you like, it’s something that we are all using more and more in the classroom. Finding applications that are suitable to use with primary age children (and straightforward enough for them to us independently) can be a challenge. There are a lot of web based ideas and applications available online; some free (we’ll come to those later) and some incurring a charge, and it can be difficult to know what to choose. 2Simple’s solution to this is the brand new 2Connect. The application has a number of great features I’ve not come across in a mind mapping tool before and it’s well worth finding out about!
One of the most positive aspects of this software is the ability to import images easily: although you could do this using other ICT based methods they this program has the simplest method I had come across. There’s also a thumbs up for the additional clip art that was included in the package.
Then there are the notes and attachment features: children can choose to attach relevant website links (see the image below) to their ideas or add a little note giving more information. The word bank feature is also fantastic; allowing you to use the mind map to assist in your word processing – how clever and inclusive!
Of course this solution might not be for everyone. It’s not as colourful as some other mind mapping tools, like bubbl.us ,but the ability to include illustrations, notes and weblinks made up for this! That said, if you’re looking for a free mind mapping tool bubbl.us is an excellent alternative. Mind maps are saved online and you just need an email address to register for an account. Dabbleboard and MindMeister are also web based application that are worth looking at.
I have to say that,I am looking forward to introducing 2Connect to others. I think it will become an invaluable tool in the classroom for many people and will greatly enhance thinking skills activities.