Mind42 is a free online web application that has an incredible collection of features.  You can collaborate with multiple users in real time, and see what people are doing right on the screen in front of you.  You can communicate with them using a chat feature.  The interface is relatively simple.  You can grab images off the web and easily insert them in your work. 

These are all the options, it seems to me, you’d want to include in an ideal application that, for example, “sister classes” separated by a wide geographical distance could use in joint projects.

However, there is one problem.

I can’t quite figure out what students would create that would be useful.

Mind 42 is what I guess is called a “Mindmapping” tool.  Believe me, I have my students, both mainstream and English Language Learners, use graphic organizers all the time.  They’re great.  I just don’t quite understand what is gained, though, by doing this stuff online. 

I’ve posted about Gliffy, another online mindmapping tool.   My English Language Learner students have been able to use that tool to create nifty floor plans, at least, but you can’t do that with Mind42.

The only way I could think of using it with my students would be as a communication tool with a sister class we hope to have in our study of government.  I can see my class and a class in another country using Mind42 to create diagrams of how our respective governments operate — that could be fun and educational.  Other than that, though, I’m stumped. 

I’m more than open to ideas, though.  As I wrote earlier, the “parts” of Mind42 are great for online collaboration.  I just have some questions about the “whole” that’s created.

I’ve placed the link on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Mindmaps.