One of the web tools I use often with students is bubbl.us. It is an idea mapping site that lets students quickly and easily create webs of their ideas. Many schools feature Inspirations software on all of the computers, and it is a very powerful mapping tool, but I find that students get distracted by all of the graphics choices and their final products don’t convey their ideas as well as a simple web would. Enter bubbl.us. Bubbles are created with a simple set of key strokes, they can be relinked by just dropping the bubble on its intended parent, and the maps are saved locally appearing as tabs on the web page. All of this is great until inexplicably, the webs are lost. I am sure I could do some sleuthing to find out why this happens, but it is a real downer to the students. I need to find a better solution with as simple and elegant an interface or set up student accounts with empty emails so that they can access their work anywhere and not have it lost on an individual computer.

What do others use? I am thinking of trying out FreeMind, XMind, and MindMeister. Any other suggestions?