What is a Mind Map?
Mind mapping, also known as concept mapping, is a way of visually organizing information around a central concept or idea. The process begins with a central concept, the “big idea” that stays in the center of your map. That central idea is surrounded by connected branches of associated topics. The connected topics contain explanations, details, and facts about that topic as it relates to the central idea. The information is visual, in the form of images, keywords, and short phrases, and color is employed to clarify the relationships. Mind maps created with computer software can even include short video clips and web links. The easiest way to understand a mind map is to see one, so I have created this simple mind map about summer.
Mind mapping benefits students in a number of ways. First, mind maps organize information the way your brain stores memories – by linking new information to the things you already know. Mind maps are clear and easy to understand. The main concept is usually in the center of the map. Mind maps are flexible; they help you understand the connections between concepts, and improve your ability to recall information.
You can create a mind map easily with a pencil and paper, but it can be difficult to make changes and add or delete information. Using computer software gives you more flexibility and helps you keep your map neat and orderly. There are a number of free mind mapping programs online, and mind mapping apps are also available.
Text 2 Mind Map is an online mind mapping tool that lets you create a mind map from an outline, and is very easy to use. To create a mind map, simply type (or paste) your outline text into the text box provided. The site will not recognize your outline formatting, so you will have to use the Tab key to indent and Shift + Tab to out dent. Once your text is formatted the way you want, click on the Draw Mind Map button and Text 2 Mind Map will create your mind map. You can reposition the elements by moving them with your mouse, and you can use the options panel to change some of the elements. Then, download the map as a PDF or a PNG image. That’s really all there is to it.
Anyone can use the free version simply by going to the website. It’s very simple to use, has options for configuration, and all the maps you create are downloadable as a PDF or PNG (image) file. You can also save your map with a title. You won’t have immediate access to your map, however. The save feature is there so that the company behind Text 2 Mind Map can email you the map if you lose it. Still, if you don’t need to save all your maps in a collection online, the free version should be all you need.
I think that Text 2 Mind Map is a terrific tool, and I am completely satisfied with the free version. I don’t have any need to store the maps I create in an account, and I don’t mind seeing ads. When I tested the site it was very clean and there weren’t any ads visible. I find using this tool very helpful when I want to distill my notes into non-linear, linked elements. The ability to easily go from my text outline to a visual mind map makes it easier to check my understanding of new material. Text 2 Mind Map is the only tool I have found with the text-to-map capability which should make it useful even to people who are unaccustomed to creating mind maps.