Recently I’ve been using Google drive spreadsheets to collect data on poverty in America. The ease of collaboration cannot be denied. Having the ability to collect data with a group of other people and make sense of it is a very powerful tool.
However, I found the UI a bit clunky and it was difficult to create customized charts to interpret the data. Especially when compared to more popular spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel. I was able to quickly display a chart from gathered data in Excel showing the percent of poverty rates from specific data.
Whereas, applying the same data and format in the Google spreadsheet produced nonsensical results.
Recently, I’ve been using a mindtool called bubbl. Located at http://www.bubbl.us this tool allows you to create a concept map using bubbles. You can create child bubbles, link them and add text and pictures. It’s a terrific way to graphically represent a concept. One of the more notable features is that you can share your created concept map with your contacts and designate varying levels for their involvement. If you share the document and make others editors, you can all collaborate on the concept map together.
Anyone one who has ever put a concept map to pen and paper will immediately recognize the usefulness of this digital tool. Bubbles are easily created, deleted and linked, so organization becomes very simple and manageable. I started an elementary concept map about surfing, and found that it helped connect the concepts involved in a readable and visually pleasing way. Having such a tool in the classroom would be a great way for students to collaborate on a topic, brainstorm a project and enhance their content knowledge about a subject.
This tool does exactly what it’s supposed to do, and I haven’t found very many flaws. To access some of the premium features (attaching pictures, exporting/importing) you have to pay for a subscription but the fee is nominal and the website does offer a substantial student discount.