Mind mapping has become quite a big thing in recent years, whether it’s to gather ideas for a project or an essay or to provide an outline for a lesson or a topic. The number of programs available to enable you to mind map is quite mind-boggling (if you can excuse the pun) – just look at this site to see what I mean. Most of these are paid, a few are free, and most need to be downloaded to your computer. Up till now MindMeister has been the main contender in the web-based arena, and even the free version offers quite a lot for education purposes. But the drawback about many of these programs is their rather static nature – even good old bubbl.us, which I used to fall back on a lot, isn’t exactly dynamic. Which is why Spicynodes, still in beta mode but seemingly near full release version, is an interesting new proposition.
It seems to be intended as a tool for mapping the content of a website, but it lends itself to the usual mind mapping functions, with the added bonus of being nicely interactive. Its key trick is that as you move out to focus on one branch of the content, that branch becomes the central focus on the screen. It’s attractively presented, even in the free version (paid accounts offer more formatting options) and I thought I’d give it a go in presenting the Perfect Tense in French. My hasty attempt is linked from the image above and is best viewed full screen. I’m not sure I’ve got the best out of it, but I think Spicynodes will prove a useful new entrant to the mind mapping market.