Bubbl.us is a mind mapping web application to create brainstorming graphic linking idea bubbles. Mind Maps can be shared with many users at once and using different sharing settings to work collaboratively.
HOW IT WORKS
To use Bubbl.us you need to create an account using your email, Facebook, or Google+. Once you are signed in, you can start to create mind maps, save them and manage them in the “Mind Maps” box. (Max. 3 with free account) You can click “Add Contacts” and enter mail addresses or Bubbl.us usernames of people you want to share mind maps with. You may manage them by group or classroom in the “Contacts” box to be able to share easily (using “sharing” button in contacts box) with all members of a specific group at once. While sharing you choose if others are allowed or not to modify it.
Bubbl.us has a really useful interface and functions. It has a “undo” button, a “select” function to choose many bubbles at once and move them, change their options, copy/paste them or delete them. Another interesting gadget is the “Fit” zoom option that gives the zoom the proportion that with fit your map bubbles. You can give bubbles any color you want with a full color pallet. The interface includes little tab that allow easy management, sharing and organization of different mind maps at the same time. You can copy bubbles from one mind map tab and paste it on another mind map on another tab. The “share” button allows to get a URL to share with anybody, members or not, in read-only mode, to access the mind map. (Just like I did here with mine). The free account does not support to export or import files, but you can save the mind map in .png format image file.
HOW TO USE IT FOR THE CLASSROOM
Pedagogical possibilities of bubbl.us have been approved by many teachers. By itself bubble.us is concept organizing. Mind maps, in a web application or on papers are always useful for learning. Mind maps can always be used as a first step, to plan work or thoughts. This type of planning requires abstract thinking or help to “connect the dots” depending on the level of the learner. As the mind map creator is easy to use and really fast, students can follow their train of thoughts and insert elements as they come through their mind. Afterward, you can help them observe their thinking process as a whole and understand and learn the links now visually represented.
The option to share allows more than just sharing a mind map as it is. It allows collaboration. You can ask different students to cooperate in small team projects, analysing a part of text and create a mind map of different elements, then in whole group, ask them to explain what they got and combine it with other’s part to have a complete analysis of a text. This way, every team feels involved and apply themselves and, so, learn actively.
As a teacher, you can also use bubbl.us to create a visual representation of abstract or complicated elements. (e.g. short story elements) This way you structure your explanation, have a visual support and create a reference tool further available for students.
Free, great, easy tool