Free Mind is an open source program that allows you to make mind maps. I’ve recently discovered the program and, once I did, I realized the useful it can be for students and for teachers and I decided to implement it in my lessons.
Our school is immersed in an ICT project (Escuela 2.0, also called Abalar in Galicia) by which the educational government provides the students with personal netbooks, those netbooks work with a Linux-based operative system and open source software. FreeMind is one of the programs that comes in the computer image we are working with.
How do I use FreeMind in the classroom? The most common purpose is as 'a teacher tool' to explain a lesson, especially Science lessons, below I let you one map I prepared to talk about classifying animals in the second and third grades of Primary Education.
Taking into account this, another purpose comes by inversing the process, making students prepare their own mind maps to summarize a lesson and learn it better, but that would just be appropriate for higher levels and subjects such as science or history.
As I haven’t yet started to teach Science in English to the higher level students, I decided to ask them to make a mind map at the end of each of the ESL units. At the beginning, I had to spend some time teaching them how FreeMind works but now they find it very easy and they don’t need the teacher help. It might be good to give them a model to start.
Free time (Unit 1, model, saved as Flash object)
When students have their maps finished and corrected, they can export them to JPEG files or FLASH files and print them to study and review at home.
Examples of my students’ maps:
The Animal Kingdom (Unit 2, 5th Grade) by Nerea
Food from around the world (Unit 2, 6th Grade) by Chris
Food from around the world (Unit 2, 6th Grade) by Lucy
If you want to download the program, click on the following link: