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Here are a list of what seems to me the better mind-mapping and flow chart tools (all free and all accessible to English Language Learners), and sources for hard-copy graphic organizers, out there:
MINDMAPPING & FLOW CHART TOOLS:
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. Nevertheless, I still did include it in The Best Online Tools For Real-Time Collaboration.
Slatebox is a new and easy mindmapping/visualization application.
Creately is a new online diagramming web tool that just opened to the public. Tech Crunch has a detailed explanation about it, so instead of “reinventing the wheel,” I’m just going to suggest you read their post.
Coggle is a new mindmapping tool.
Maps of Mind is a new mindmapping tool.
Zen Flowchart lets you easily create flowcharts.
Plectica lets you create flow charts and mindmaps.
Whimsical Mind Maps is a new…mind-mapping tool.
Know Flow is a new mind-mapping tool.
I’m not quite sure what Mural is, but it seems to have a bunch of visual ways to organize information.
Quick Diagram lets you create…diagrams.
Circly is an online graphic organizer.
I find graphic organizers to be indispensable in helping students learn how to write, though neither my students nor I have found it particularly beneficial to use them online.
I believe the best writing curriculum out there is, by far, the one offered by the WRITE Institute. It’s focused on English Language Learners, but we’ve certainly used their materials successfully with mainstream students as well. Their curriculum, however, is only available to schools who’s Districts have an official “partnership” with them. The use of graphic organizers is a key element of their units.
In addition to the graphic organizers in The Write Institute curriculum, here are the sources of other good ones. Some you can actually use online, but you can also print all of them out for use by students away from computers. They include:
Read Write Think also has a helpful collection of graphic organizers that can be used online or printed-out.
Graphic Organizers is the title of an excellent article by Tracey Hall & Nicole Strangman. It gives an overview of graphic organizers and research study results on their effectiveness.
Holt has a nice collection of graphic organizers, thought you probably won’t find any that aren’t at other sites on this list. What it does have, though, that the others do not is an excellent list of teaching notes for each individual graphic organizer listed. That’s a real find, especially for teachers not familiar with using them.
Here’s some research on the use of graphic organizers:
Enhancing Learning Through the Use of Graphic Organizers:A Review of the Literature is an excellent recent review. Thanks to Bjørn Helge Græsli for the tip.
I learned about TUZZit from Carla Arena. It’s a free online graphic organizer tool that provides lots of different options of organizers (you can also create your own); lets you paste online images videos, virtual post-it notes and more onto them; and then you can share your creation with online collaborators.
Help Students Analyze Complex Social Issues with this Great Graphic Organizer is by Steve Zemelman.
— Jed Record (@JedRecord) August 28, 2016
I Heart Venn Diagrams lets you make…Venn Diagrams.
The Great and Powerful Graphic Organizer is by Jennifer Gonzalez.
25 FREE Google Drawings graphic organizers — and how to make your own is from Ditch That Textbook.
You can make free charts at Charts Factory.
When Students Need Structure: Utilizing Graphic Organizers is from Writers Who Care.
This is a nice collection of graphic organizers.
Common Core Correlated Graphic Organizers:
Develop Thinking from The Chicago Public Schools
Common Core Resources from Spartan Guides
GitMind – A Collaborative Mind Mapping and Outlining Tool is from Richard Byrne.
Here’s a new study demonstrating the effectiveness of graphic organizers.
As always, feedback is welcome.