If you have not yet seen this interesting little tool, take a minute to check out bubbl.us
, a free, online, flash-based idea-mapping application. The "Features
" page does an excellent job of using bubbl itself to explain the basics of the bubbl interface, which is both minimalistic and intuitive. As with most technologies, however, it's best to jump right in and start playing around, which thankfully you can do without having to create an account first.
Bubbl may seem at first glance to be yet another instance of technology making a simple pen-and-paper process exponentially more complicated. But account creation allows you not only to save, print, link to, export, and embed your maps, but also to share and collaborate on them with other bubbl users, who may be given either read-only or full access. Unfortunately, the map is "locked" while one user is editing it, so users cannot collaborate in real-time, a restriction similarly imposed by most wiki platforms.
I can see bubbl having a variety of pedagogical uses, both individually and collaboratively, both inside and outside the classroom. From teaching brainstorming in composition courses, to having students collaboratively trace the genealogy of the novel, to providing a graphic representation of intertexuality or patronage networks to accompany a lecture or in-class discussion, potential mapplications of bubbl abound.
P.S. According to their blog
, the administrators of bubbl are working on adding features and modifying the user interface prior to a beta release in the next couple of months.
P.S.S. You may also want to look at Mindomo
, two other mind-mapping apps.