A caucasian woman's hand holds a post it illustrating a concept map

Mind Mapping

Mind Mapping Tools

Mind mapping is a strategy that helps students visualize and analyze difficult concepts. Starting with a prompt or topic, students identify supporting themes or subtopics and illustrate connections using branches, color, and illustrations (or other media). Mind maps are great for organizing thoughts and ideas related to subject matter but can also be used to help analyze and critique material, encouraging deeper thinking and understanding of difficult concepts. Listed below are some activities where mind mapping can be effective:

  • Reflection 
  • Brainstorming
  • Project organization or outlining
  • Silent discussion
  • Argument planning
  • Note taking/ studying

Mind mapping is proven to help increase engagement, creativity, and collaboration amongst students (Rosba et al., 2021). Additionally, research supports that mind mapping can help students to understand long-term lessons, increase participation, and enhance peer communication, if working collaboratively (Lubov Vorona-Slivinskaya & Olga, 2020). 

There are a few free online mind mapping tools that can be used to facilitate independent or collaborative mind mapping. Listed below are two suggested mind mapping tools. Bothare web-based platforms and are mobile-friendly. View the chart below for a more thorough comparison of tools. 




(educator account)

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(educator account)

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Participants per board Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Board limit Unlimited Unlimited
Template library No* Yes Yes & AI tool to generate customized templates based on a prompt
Supported media Upload files from your computer, embed videos and photos from the web, record screen, voice, and video directly from a Padlet, add hyperlinks Upload files from your computer, embed videos from the web, add hyperlinks. Upload images and videos from your computer, share code blocks, embed videos from the web, add hyperlinks.
Embeddable Yes Yes Yes
Accessibility** Yes Limited Screen reader support and desktop app available, otherwise limited
Collaborative Tools Yes

View, comment, and react to collaborator posts; with permission, can edit/delete collaborator posts


Chat, reactions, view collaborator cursors, edit/delete collaborator posts, polling, screen record, talk tracks


Comment, view collaborator cursors, edit/delete collaborator posts, timer, polling, background music feature

Ideal for… – Silent discussions or project outlining

-Media sharing

-Independent or group mind mapping sessions


InSpace breakout sessions

-Independent or group mind mapping sessions

-Generating customized boards quickly

*While Padlet does offer a handful of templates, only the “Canvas” template can be used for Mind Mapping because it is the only template that includes the branching tool to connect posts.

** Accessibility statements are generalized in this table. These tools report WCAG 2.1 compliance in some capacity, but please review each tool’s accessibility capabilities for features such as alternative text, screen reader functionality, color blindness, etc.


Lubov Vorona-Slivinskaya, Dmitry Bokov, & Olga Li. (2020). Visualization of Learning and Memorizing Processes Using Mobile Devices: Mind Mapping and Charting. International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies, 14(21), 136–152. https://doi.org/10.3991/ijim.v14i21.18475

Rosba, E., Zubaidah, S., Mahanal, S., & Sulisetijono, S. (2021). Digital Mind Map Assisted Group Investigation Learning for College Students’ Creativity. International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM), 15(05), pp. 4–23. https://doi.org/10.3991/ijim.v15i05.18703