Spider Scribe: Concept Mapping

In my last post, I mentioned I was at the Pacific Northwest Assessment, Teaching, and Learning Conference. After my presentation someone asked me about concept mapping tools. (I wish I could remember who he was. He was very tall. If you happen to be reading this, can you send me an email, please?) I told him that I had recently read about a tool but I couldn’t remember in that moment what it was.

I’m afraid I still can’t remember what it was, but just a few days ago Richard Byrne of the Free Technology for Teachers blog wrote about the newly-released Spider Scribe.

I created this concept map in 15 minutes, including the 2 minutes it took to watch Spider Scribe’s introductory video. It is very intuitive, making it a great tool for students!

View this map.

After registering and creating a new map, you get a blank screen. At the bottom of the screen are 5 tools, which they call stencils: Text box, insert a file, insert an image, insert a map, or create notes with a time/date stamp.

To add a text box, just click and drag the text box stencil onto the map. Type whatever you’d like in the box. Want another box? Repeat the process. Click on one of your text boxes, and alter background color or text color by making changes in the “Properties” box on the right side of the screen.

Want to upload an image? Drag the image box onto the canvas and upload the image from your computer. Want to add another image? Repeat the process.

Want to resize a box? Grab the handle in the bottom left corner of any on-screen box and pull or push to change the size.

They’re still in beta (officially on 5/16/11), so look for the addition of new stencils and additional tools for each stencil, such as different fonts beyond the currently available serif and sans serif.

To link content, mouse over a box. See the circle at the bottom of the box? Mouse over it and it will turn into a + sign. Click on it to generate an arrow. Now drag the arrow over another box, and unclick. Done. The two boxes are now linked. Click on a box to move it around; the arrow will follow. To disconnect them, click on the arrow you want to delete. That’s it.

Maps can be private (only you can see them), or they can be public in a variety of ways.

  • I can grant only certain people permission to view it.
  • I can give certain people permission to edit it.
  • I can get a URL so only those with the URL can view it. (That’s what I chose for the “view this map” link above.)
  • I can make it completely public so that’s it’s discoverable by search engines.

Spider Scribe promises to be a very powerful concept mapping tool. I’m looking forward to watching it develop!

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