Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Text2MindMap is Back - Outlines and Mind Maps on the Same Page

For a few years there was a popular mind map tool called Text2MindMap that enabled you to create mind maps from typed outlines. It was popular because you could see a written outline on one side of your screen and the connected mind map on the other side of the screen. Unfortunately, Text2MindMap went offline a couple of years ago and never returned. However, this morning I discovered that an independent developer named Tobias Løfgren has revived it on his own site.

Tobias' installation of Text2MindMap is open for anyone to to use. To use it simply go here, clear the existing text and replace it with your own text. Every line that you type in your outline becomes a node in the mind map. You can create a branch from a node by simply indenting a line in your outline (see my screenshot below for an example).

You can save the text of your mind map as a plain text file but there isn't an option to print it other than by using your browser's print function which will print the entire webpage instead of just the mind map. There is not an option to save your mind map or outline online so you will need to either download the plain text file, print the webpage, or take a screenshot of your mind map.

Applications for Education
Text2MindMap is an excellent tool for students to use to write outlines and see the connections between ideas in their outlines. Students can rearrange the connections in their mind maps by simply cutting and pasting lines from their written outlines.

How to Share Specific Google Earth Views in Google Classroom

The development of the browser-based version made Google Earth accessible to students who use Chromebooks as their primary classroom computers. One way that I like to use Google Earth is to create sets of inquiry questions based upon a specific location and or a specific view of a place. You can tell students the location and have them find it on their own in Google Earth. But if you are short on time, let's say your intent is to quickly start a classroom conversation about a particular view, then sharing a link to a specific view is the way to go. You can share that link in Google Classroom or any other LMS. In the following video I demonstrate how to share specific Google Earth views in Google Classroom.

Rye Board - An Online Corkboard for Your Ideas

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo's This Week In Web 2.0 I recently learned about a new online corkboard tool called Rye Board. Rye Board provides you with a blank canvas on which you can place text notes, images, and drawings. Notes and pictures can be dragged and dropped into any arrangement that you like. Drawings can be added in the spaces between notes and or directly on top of images on your Rye Board. Watch my video that is embedded below to see how Rye Board works.


Applications for Education
Rye Board is still in beta. According to the site developer's notes there are plans to add collaboration options as well as comment widgets. Once those options are added Rye Board could be a good place to host online, collaborative brainstorming sessions. Until then Rye Board could be a good place for students to organize their own notes or simply maintain to-do lists for themselves.



Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Kami - Annotate and Collaborate on PDFs

Disclosure: Kami is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Kami is a neat service that makes it easy to annotate and comment on PDFs. The folks at Kami describe their service as a digital pen and paper. That is an accurate description of what the core of the service provides. The core function of Kami provides you with a place to draw, highlight, and type on a PDF. You can share your PDFs in Kami and write notes in the margins for others to see and they can do the same.

Create a free account to start using Kami. Once you have created your account you can import PDFs into Kami from your Google Drive or you can import them from your desktop. Kami can be integrated with Google Classroom to make it easy to share annotated PDFs with your students and for them to share with you.


Kami's core service for drawing, commenting, and annotating PDFs is free for all users. Kami does offer the option to upgrade to a premium account. The premium version includes options for adding voice comments and video comments to your PDFs. The premium version also supports conversion and use of Word documents.
Applications for Education
Kami could be used by students to annotate historical documents that have been scanned and saved as PDFs. For example, many of the featured daily documents from the U.S. National Archives are PDFs.

5 Google Forms Features You Should Know How to Use

Google Forms received a couple of updates that teachers have requested for years. Those new features let you create a custom look for your Forms. The new customization options are just a couple of the built-in features that are handy yet frequently overlooked features in Google Forms. Here are five features that you should know how to use.

Custom Fonts and Backgrounds for Google Forms



Save Time by Setting Default Point Values and Response Requirements



Response Validation


How to Print a Google Form


Provide Automated Feedback to Responses