A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Teens can learn to organize and communicate ideas, represent part-whole relationships logically, and think critically about information. Born as a brainstorming tool allowing meeting participants to combine knowledge and produce new content collaboratively, mind maps are now digital creation tools allowing teens to use and apply technology to communicate with peers, teachers, parents, and college admissions officers. This sophisticated mind-mapping freebie could use some design tweaks to improve ease of use.
Ease of Play
Navigation, menus, icons, sharing, and synchronization all look slick but can be problematic or confusing, depending on device.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mindomo (mind mapping) is a productivity app best suited to the larger screen of a tablet -- Android or iPad. Kids can use Mindomo to create relatively simple "mind map" diagrams (aka webs or visual maps), a widely used organization and communication tool. While Mindomo looks really slick and it can make some eye-pleasing maps, the interface takes getting used to and has some inherent limitations. Kids might have trouble figuring out the navigation, menus, icons, and file management without adult guidance.
Is It Any Good?
MINDOMO is a visually appealing productivity app best suited to the larger screen of a tablet (as opposed to smart phone). It offers a lot of attractive features like design themes and layouts, integrated task tracking, presentation mode, and the ability to insert icons, hyperlinks, and images. To cloud share or email to teachers, synchronize with desktop application generated maps, or make maps public, teens can choose to create and sign in to a Mindomo account, which requires only user name and email. XML-based .mom files can be opened with the desktop version of the application. Though it requires some mental adjustments -- press and hold instead of point and click -- Mindomo offers tablet productivity with an attractive price tag (free).
On the downside, Mindomo is nearly impossible to use on Android smartphones, though it is "compatible" and will download. Basics like file and folder management, connectors, icons, and zoom in and out can be difficult and confusing, dependng on device. Font size sliders don't allow quick and precise adjustments, auto align smooshes topics together, topic size cannot be adjusted, and exported files cannot be previewed on Google Drive no matter what format. Although PDF files lose formatting, .png files come out perfectly. Considering the barriers, unless a friend introduces the idea, teens aren't likely to use Mindomo without prompting from a teacher or parent.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.