I really like Mind Maps and have already written about SpiderScribe, but there may be another contender on the block. Enter Coggle.it. A new, simple and free Mind Mapping tool. All you need is a Gmail to log in. Does it measure up? Does it cut the mustard? Does it make Omar smile? Will I switch from Spider Scribe to Coogle? Will I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch or leftover pizza? You need to click on past the break to find out.
As I mentioned earlier all you need is a Google account to sign up. If you are using Chrome (and you are signed into Chrome) all you need to do is click the Sign Up button and it will ask you for access and then you’re in!
To call this area minimalist would be an understatement. There are very little options here which makes it great for students. You will have your mind maps listed below, a giant Create button to the right and your account icon which you can click and make some changes.
Creating a mind map
Click that giant Create button and let’s get started. When it loads (which is very fast) you will see this in the middle of your mind map.
That’s nice. A little instructions on how to get started. When you move your mouse over one of those areas you will see a plus sign. When you click that plus sign you get another branch.
To delete a branch simply hold down the Alt key and the + sign will rotate and turn into an X.
Different branches from the main topic will be different colors (which is pretty standard for all mind mapping programs I’ve used).
In the top right hand corner of the mind map is a little menu.
The share button lets you share the mind map with others. One thing to note, is that once it is shared with a person, they can edit and make changes.
There is no view only option. There is a view only option. Making someone a Reader will do that.
To share it with a person you need their email address that is associated with their Coggle account or you can create a Private Link where they do not need a Coggle account
To change someone from a Writer to a Reader, just drag their name from the Writer list to the Reader section.
Once you add someone as a writer or reader they do not receive an email. Again, this is not true. They do receive an email inviting them to Coggle and the mind map. They just log into Coggle and the mind map will be added to their own list of mind maps.
You can download the mind map as well. You get two formats to download the mind map (PDF and PNG).
The problem is when I tried to download a large mind map, less than half of it made it into the file. I definitely don’t know why this happened but I do know that it is very disappointing.
Like a Google Doc you can go through the different versions of the document just click on the clock icon.
One really cool thing is that the very last entry on the revision list will have a copy icon. Click that and it will make a separate copy of that mind map in your mind map list on the dashboard. Pretty slick little feature.
The last option gives you the ability of chatting (just like in a Google Doc). It doesn’t save the conversation and every time you leave and re enter the conversation is cleared (even if others have been using it).
I tried this out with the podcast group (Omar, Tony, Cara and Preston) so how did it perform. Awesome. It was easy to see the changes being made in real time and never did I feel like that we were not being productive. We were able to create a large mind map in very, very little time. Check out the picture below (I had to zoom way out).
You can check out the whole thing by following this link.
Wrapping it up
I really like Coggle. It’s simple – no images, no YouYube videos, just ideas and branches. I really like how easy it is to get started and how easy it is to use. I am sure you can hear the preverbal “but” coming.
I wish the download feature worked. The mind maps I downloaded. It would make adding it into a project a lot easier. I also wish that we could embed it into a website. That would also be very nice.
I was very pleased with how it handled multiple users. This is definitely a great way for groups of people to organize a large project or presentation. Simple, easy to manipulate and it makes sure that everyone is on the same page. Just very cool.
Would I leave SpiderScribe to use Coggle? That’s a tough one. It certainly is easier to use and I like the clean and minimalist layout a lot, but many of the features I like about SpiderScribe are missing. Personally, I will stick with SpiderScribe. As a teacher, I will definitely use Coggle. It is just so streamlined, light and easy to use that it will be a no brainer. If you use mind maps check it out and let us know what you think in the comments.
By the way, I had the pizza. 🙂