Visual & Media Literacy

Visualization tools enable students to make their thinking visible in all academic areas. Students are able to build interactive models to test theories in real time and use graphics to display results. graphic organizers and visual mapping tools enable students to make sense of complex subjects by exploring linkages, relationships, similarities, and differences between phenomena, and visually representing interplay among system components.

Double Bubble Maps - Guide and video

Mind Mapping applications are tools that allow students to develop a physical representation, a blueprint of their thinking that goes from the concrete to the more abstract. Mind Maps provide a clear and organized visual snapshot of how the ideas and information are outlined in one’s head. This way one can see where ideas need to be further developed and how all the information is linked.

This snapshot is developed and analyzed by the student. He or she identifies the logical flow of ideas connecting one to the next and building on each in a web-like form. Mind Mapping is truly a revolutionary way of thinking and learning!


 PearlTree - concept map framework for searching

  • Graphic OrganizerIncludes online and offline templates.
  • Creately In addition to diagramming tools, it has to capacity for collaboration
  • Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers**Dozens of templates students can fill in online. HIGHLY recommended for all ages
  • Gliffy Similar interface for those who are familiar with Visio. Nice variety of text box shapes. You can share your concept maps with others online. Text boxes on links are not automatic, so you have to place a regular shape on a link. The premium version has a fee.
  • Dabble Board Take the tour to see the possibilities. Web-based interactive drawing features. Good example of the interative potential of the Web.
  • DebateGraph A visualization tool that lets you present new points and rate arguments. Share and reuse debates on and offline
  • Pinball is a suite of fun tools for organizing ideas and generating new ideas. In Pinball you will find tools for creating mindmaps, outlines, and simple slideshows. Pinball also has tools to help you brainstorm and generate new ideas. Each one of the six Pinball tools provides options for including text and images in your mindmaps, outlines, and slideshows. If you're struggling to think of new ideas, each Pinball tool has a "lucky dip" button that will serve up a random image or bit of text to prompt you.
  • My Simple Service is a free online whiteboard service. True to its "simple" name, My Simple Service is very simple to use. To get started just click on "go directly to my surface," double click on the surface and start typing. My Simple Surface provides very clear directions on how to use the service. To create a thought box double click anywhere on your board. To make sibling and child thought boxes use the enter and tab keys. You can edit the color and size of fonts. Your boxes can be linked to URLs too. My Simple Surface works on iPads too. The only short-coming of My Simple Surface is that sharing of your surfaces is limited to three email addresses.
  • Best4C This graphic organizer has an excellent selection of graphics and linking options.
  • CMap  Free downloadable concept mapping program. More options than online graphic organizer tools. Even includes text boxes on links like Inspiration.
  • LovelyCharts: Charts created through this tool really can be lovely with full color capabilities and loads of graphics.
  • Slatebox allows you to create collaborative mind-map style idea visualisations. Perfect for embedding into a website or view on the interactive whiteboard. Free Option
  • Useful Charts - A wonderful collection of charts on any number of subjects.
  • Exploratree*Wide range of concept mapping/graphic organizer templates from a site in the UK that you can edit. (Saving requires that you be logged in.
  • Wise MappingWiseMapping is a great site for brainstorming and creating mind-maps. It has a very nice user interface and a nice polished look. Also, there are lots of web 2.0 components for sharing/collaborating mind maps. video
  • Popplet An online graphic organizer. It kinda reminds me of Inspiration w/ a "web 2.0" spin on it for collaboration. This is a great site for brain storming, creating mind maps, presentations and so much more. Also, works nice on mobile devices such as the iPad.
  • **Graphic Organizers**> Searchable by subject area. These are templates not programs.
  • **Language Arts Organizers for fr. 6-12** Unique and well developed organizers. Includes notetaking organizers, Literature Circle organizers, conflict resolution and many character development organizers.
  • **TheBrain: Mind Mapping, Brainstorming**Its a powerful information visualization and organization software for free. Simply type in your ideas. Drag and drop files and web pages. Any idea can be linked to anything else. Using your digital Brain is like cruising through a Web of your thinking. See new relationships. Discover connections. Go from the big picture of everything to a specific 
  • Geni**Free family tree tool


Inkflow is an iPad app for visual thinkers who like to sketch to process what they're hearing, seeing, and learning. Inkflow can be used to sketch mind maps, draw pictures, write free hand, and just about anything else you might do with a pencil and paper. You can organize your Inkflow pages into books. There is a free version and a paid version of Inkflow. The free version allows you to use black ink only and your books are limited to twenty pages. But you can have as many books as you want in the free version. The paid version gives you more drawing tools and colors as well as more pages per book. Students create simple sketches to demonstrate how they understand or interpret a topic. Inkflow could be  for students to use to draw sketches and outlines of their understanding of topics that they're studying. Of course, Inkflow could also be used for its intended purpose as a note-taking app.


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