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Text 2 Mind Map: https://www.text2mindmap.com.

What is it?

Text 2 Mind Map is a free to use website with which you can, as you can probably guess, create online mind maps. There are subscription levels available for a small fee but, for the basis of this review, I will cover the features of the freely available offer.

What can you do with it?

Text 2 Mind Map is easy-to-use and simple, with a clear interface that makes how to create your mind map fairly obvious, and straightforward. The home page greets you with basic instructions for getting started, and you can get going without creating an account or signing up, which is a rarity.

You can create your mind map using a text box, much like the tool in Microsoft Word, from which you can add your initial central concept and then build branches and sub-branches by levels of tab/indent. Having added my text to the text box, clicking the 'Draw Mind Map' button then creates your map, as you can see in the screenshot.

Once you have seen what the map looks like, you can continue to add, delete and modify the text within the text box, and re-draw the map with your changes. A nice feature is the option to be able to label the connection lines with text, simply by adding text in brackets before the element you want to label.

You can also zoom in/out and move elements of the map by clicking and dragging on specific, individual nodes to adapt the layout. You can also modify the look of the map by choosing the 'Options' tab at the bottom of the text box, and here you will find some basic options to personalise and format the text, colours and lines of your mind map.

When it comes to saving your work, you just need to add your email address and you will be given a unique URL for your mind map, which allows you to go back to it and edit it further at a later date. You are also given a link for a view-only version of your map, which you can then copy and share/email to others. Having tested this, anyone with that link can edit the map, but the edits they make are not permanent as they are not able to save them except as a new map.

I also tried the option to share the links to the map I created by email, as well as the option to be reminded of my maps by email, but neither of these options seemed to work, with no email being received at either of the two email accounts I tested it with. So as a word of warning, make sure you have the URL copied and/or saved somewhere, rather than relying on the email reminder/share option working.

One further option for saving your work, is the choice to download your map as a .pdf or .jpg file. This, of course, is a useful function to allow you to save your map 'locally', and reuse the map in other files/work.

Strengths

* Simple interface

* Control over the layout of the mind map (in contrast with, for example, 'smart art' tools in Microsoft Powerpoint/Word)

* Options for downloading

* Ability to share online

Limitations

* Email functionality doesn't work

* Maps have a public URL, on free account (though this is probably not a problem unless you share that URL)

Summary

Text 2 Mind Map has a range of functions which make it a really useful mind mapping tool for staff and students. It is straightforward and very easy to use, and so would be something that can be used by secondary school pupils of all ages, and I would think most junior school aged children too. It would be something that can easily be used in lessons for group work, teaching from the front to map out ideas with a whole class, or individually.

John Iona, Subject Liaison Librarian: Psychology, The Sheppard Library, Middlesex University
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Title Annotation:DIGITAL
Author:Iona, John
Publication:School Librarian
Article Type:Website overview
Date:Sep 22, 2017
Words:668
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