FreeMind is an open-source mind-mapping software, which means it is a tool that people use to write down their thoughts in visual space, and link ideas together. There is actually a large genre of this software; I use the proprietary software Tinderbox, but FreeMind is the most famous and successful free software that performs this function.
1. It allows students to visually organize their thoughts. Usually, students write in a notebook, and their flexibility of thinking may be limited by the fact that once they write something, it says in one place. Being able to “move” one’s thoughts in space can allow students to notice new patterns and develop ideas.
2. Thinking about how to organize information may improve retention. Also, creating a mind-map takes some time, so this might reduce the overload when trying to learn new material.
3. Maps can be published on a website, and thus can be shared with classmates.
1. Using this software requires a certain level of maturity among students because the software itself provides little guidance as to the “proper” way of organizing information.
2. I don’t particularly find the interface particularly intuitive, and I’m pretty tech-saavy. It works, but students may get impatient.
3. It’s too clunky to use on a casual basis; I think Tinderbox could be used for day-to-day note-taking if a student has experience, but I think FreeMind can only be used in conjunction with specifically crafted assignments.