Flow Charts and Mind Maps
When I was a student, I was never one for pre-planning anything out. I wish that I had bubbl.us and Gliffy back then. I always struggled with keeping my ideas organized when writing a paper. Teachers always encouraged us to take a few minutes to read an essay test question, and write an outline but no one ever really taught us how to really use them to our advantage. I really liked using Gliffy, it gave a little tutorial on how to use the application. I liked these flow charts because it gave the user the freedom to put the arrows to the boxes anywhere you wanted and to change it as my thought process changed. I didn't try flowchart.com because I didn't feel like waiting for the invitation. I think they probably loose a lot of potential users because of their wait time. For mind maps I really liked bubbl.us, it was very user friendly and great for brainstorming. I am also a big fan of all the changing colors of the bubbles. I think it adds a nice touch to the visual aspect of the mind map as well as being able to see ideas on different levels based on color.
I would like to teach elementary school so I think that these tools would be great to implement at a young age so when they get older they are able to use flow charts and mind maps on their own when they get into middle school and high school. Depending on what grade I eventually teach I think that this would be a great activity but need to be teacher directed, whole class type of a lesson. Using these with heavy scaffolding for upper elementary school students would be useful as well. After scaffolding with upper elementary school students, I think bubble.us would be great for brainstorming ideas about a group project that students would do. I think that these tools would work best in a small controlled setting for students to work with in pairs or in small groups after whole class instruction.