Collaborative Mind Mapping in Your Browser
Provided by IRIAN Solutions GmbH, Mind42.com is a browser-based online mind mapping application. This mind map editor supports keyboard shortcuts, drag and drop, zooming, bird view and branch hiding, without the restrictions of template-based forms and lists. It is currently supported on the following browsers: Mozilla Firefox 1.5 and above (Version 2.0 and above recommended); Internet Explorer 6 and above (Version 7.0 and above recommended); and Safari 3 and above. Pronounced "Mind For Two," this tool is meant to be easily accessible and collaborative in function.
Prop points: A "mind map" is a graphical representation which is used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central idea or keyword. Mind42's application has many node attributes such as icons, colors, images, text styles, links, that allow users to think visually through brainstorming. Mind42 does not require software installation, and because it is browser-based, it is accessible virtually anywhere. Mind42 also allows users to create graphical representations in a collaborative virtual space through simultaneous editing, publishing and sharing functionalities. Unlike other mind mapping editors, users are able to decide whether or not to publish their maps and make them available to the public, which would enable students and teachers to protect the students' privacy.
Drop points: There are a few drawbacks to this tool. For example, a user can show and restore older revisions of his or her mind map only if he or she is the "creator" of the map. If the user is merely a collaborator, the restore function is not available to you. In addition, Mind42 does not have a mobile browser version of the application. Also, as a technical issue, Mind42 does not support offline-enabling toolkits such as Google Gears.
Final score: I recommend Mind42 as a collaborative, browser-based tool that allows users to develop and manage ideas, share them with others for purposes of critique and assessment, and problem solve in a visual manner. It is easy to use, has many features that encourage collaboration, and its free. Below is a video tutorial on Mind42, as posted by Vimeo contributor Stefan Schuster.
Recommended uses: Mind maps are visualizations created to organize, structure and otherwise classify an idea. Such a tool can be used in the classroom and/or workplace to encourage a brainstorming approach to planning and organizational tasks, increase collaboration among participants, and engage visual learners.