Collin Brooke wrote about free online prewriting and brainstorming software that looked pretty cool, so I checked them out. Both of the two websites he sent readers to had to do with mapping, and I’m pretty pleased with both.
The first one, bubbl.us is great if all you want to do is make a map with text and have single authorship. It’s really intuitive, and I like it a lot for its ease and aesthetics. Here’s an image:
In this page, I’m working on ideas for my Writing 516: Advanced Composition paper, which is about secrets.
I also tried out Thinkature, where I started brainstorming and plotting ideas and questions for a paper that my friend Sarah B. and I are considering writing, on being queer and in grad school. Thinkature has more features, which makes it a bit less easy to get into, but I still found it fairly intuitive. I like that it’s easier on Thinkature to make new arrows and move boxes around than on bubbl.us, and Thinkature also allows for pictures to be imported, arrows to be created that can emphasize certain boxes for other collaborators, and you can use a pencil tool to draw directly on the surface…. oh, and you can have collaborators!!! Here’s a shot of my browser with Thinkature:
I’m pretty pleased with both of these sites, and I could see lots of potential for them. When I was in my educational technology course as an undergraduate, they had us use a similar program (the name of which escapes me), but it cost a lot of money. With these two sites up, a lot can be done in schools or just for your own self-sponsored writing that couldn’t be done on the computer before (unless you paid out your nose for it).
I’m a fan.