Product Review of Mindomo (mind mapping)
Mindomo is an app that lets users create relatively simple “mind map” diagrams. It offers many features such as design themes and layouts, integrated task tracking, presentation mode, and the ability to insert icons, hyperlinks, and images. Teens can learn to organize and communicate ideas, represent part-whole relationships logically, and think critically about information.
Users press and hold in the workspace or on topics to access many functions. With a topic selected, users can format with layouts and themes and add notes, hyperlinks, images, icons, and task functions. You can place slide boxes in the presenter, share cloud-based maps, or export to email or Google Drive (though this feature wasn’t working at the time of this review). The home button provides access to file and folder management, Web-based help, and account sign-in for synchronization with desktops. A default main topic is available upon start, and maps are saved automatically.
Teens can use mind maps to develop writing projects, analyze texts, present information, and more. If teens create and sign in to a Mindomo account, which requires only a username and email, they can cloud-share, email educators, sync with desktop application-generated maps, or make maps public (XML-based .mom files can be opened with the free desktop version of the application). While PDF files lose formatting, .png files come out perfectly. Though the app requires some mental adjustments –- press and hold instead of point and click –- Mindomo offers tablet productivity with an attractive free price tag.
Unfortunately, Mindomo suffers from quite a few ease-of-use issues: Basics like file and folder management, connectors, icons, and zooming in and out can be difficult and confusing. It’s really best-suited to the larger screen of a tablet (as opposed to a smartphone). Font size sliders don’t allow quick and precise adjustments, auto-align smushes topics together, topic size can’t be adjusted, and exported files can’t be viewed on Google Drive no matter what the format. Considering the barriers, Mindomo would likely turn teens off to mind mapping without really organized guidance and prompting from a teacher or parent. While Web-based help offers a page of somewhat useful question-based topics, a video and a larger collection of sample maps would allow older kids to better understand how mind maps can be used.
Overall User Consensus About the App
The app has a slick design with good-looking layouts and themes. However, some kids might find the interface confusing, which could dampen enthusiasm.
Curriculum and Instruction
Teens can easily transfer organizational and critical-thinking skills they’ll learn here. However, there’s no introduction to mind mapping other than a few samples, and the app’s lack of flexibility could hamper creativity.
Web-based help is somewhat beneficial. On-screen pop-ups disappear too quickly and can be confusing.