Buzan's iMindMap

If you really want a free copy of the best mind mapping software ever created (iMindMap 5), you can take part to this simple competition. There are two ways in which you can participate and they both involve sharing.

Option 1

– Download your free trial of iMindMap 5 here (after the trial period your copy becomes the Basic version which you get to keep for free forever)

– Create a mind map with iMindMap 5 on any topic you like. You could also create a collaborative mind maps with your classes, family, or colleagues and describe your experience

– Upload your mind map on Biggerplate

– Post the link to your mind map as a comment at the bottom of this Blog post

Option 2

– Think of a creative and innovative way to use iMindMap 5 in Education

– Explain your fab idea as a comment to this Blog post

You can obviously contribute more than one mind map and/or ideas and priority will be given to the most active contributors, e.g. creating a mind map is obviously more demanding than writing a comment (or you could mind map your idea using iMindMap 5). You have time until the 7th July to submit your entries.

The rest of this Blog post is about some of the rules of mind mapping and why I love the idea of Biggerplate! Yes, you heard correctly, there are rules to mind mapping and you might be pleased to hear that I have not made them, but the creator of mind mapping himself, Tony Buzan!

“But I though mind mapping was a creative and free process that should reflect the way in which your brain works!” you might say and I would agree with you. In fact, that is precisely why there are rules to follow in order to achieve good and effective results in mind mapping. Our brain works in very efficient and creative ways which we don’t easily realize because we have been trained for years to use tools and strategies that are limiting the potential of our brains. Our mind thinks in a radial way, pretty much like a mind map does. From a central idea a series of associations and connections radiate to derive greater understanding of that idea and that often are used to solve problems related to that idea. This often leads to another important idea that also radiates into multiple associations and connections between ideas into a complex, but very coherent network of associations interrelated to each other which derive and construct meaning. Neuroscience has shown that both sides of our brain work together in any task we tackle and different areas of the two sides of our brains are activated constantly and intermittently as we think and process information. This complex process of information exchange and processing is mirrored very well by a mind map, and even better by multiple mind maps (which is now a feature of iMindMap 5 which I find really useful), you can find an example of this here. I guess what I am trying to say, is that what we need in order to improve the efficiency of our brains is not necessarily freedom to develop “our way to learn”, but to learn a way that is proven to mirror the way our brain works!

I often meet people who say they have tried mind mapping but that it is not for them, or others (and I used to be one of them) who think they are mind mapping, while they are actually still using linear note taking in a slightly more colourful way and linking whole sentences with other whole sentences, like this one I created a few years ago thinking I was helping my students learning about types of energy.

The problem with whole sentences is that they don’t really allow for associations and connections to be created, or they do so in a very limiting way. Take for example the concept of speed. If I am mind mapping about motion and use two words, say “constant speed”, in the same branch, I have limited that branch to develop into associations that are limited to the concept of constant speed. But if I had use the word speed in a branch and constant in a daughter branch, I can now make many more associations with the word speed, e.g. constant, increasing, decreasing, units –> m/s, formula –> Δd/Δt, etc… can all be daughters of the branch speed and lead to more associations and deeper meaning and retention of information. So, the types of energy “mind map” I created could turn into this (you can download it here).

I will let Tony Buzan explain the other rules and their importance in the video below and if you are convinced, please take part to this really exciting competition and share your mind maps on Biggerplate which is a fantastic community website for sharing mind maps and it now supports iMindMap 5! I love the idea of Biggerplate and one application I can see, especially now that iMindMap 5 Basic is free for all, is that a teacher can create a template with maybe just the main branches of a mind map on a particular topic and let their pupils download and complete the iMindMap as a learning activity. The learners can then upload their mind maps on their accounts and the teacher can leave feedback as comments and learners can also peer feedback on each other’s mind maps as an Assessment for Learning activity! In addition, parents are now able to interact with their children’s work in a more dynamic and engaging way. But the fun doesn’t end there! As a teacher you could let other teachers and classes use your templates and collaborate with other schools in your local area and, why not, worldwide!

So, iMindMap 5 is here and there has never been a better time to try it, as the Basic version is free, a word that teachers and skint schools are always very pleased to hear. And the Ultimate version, which is what you could win (if you take part to this simple competition), has some really amazing features, like 3D mind map view, which is a stunning way to navigate through your mind map, multimaps (fantastic for connecting multiple central ideas with each other), 3D presentation view which will blow your mind for the powerful visual effects that it creates, and many other great functions like the Smart Layout that spaces branches out for you and that is the most powerful and fastest way of drawing mind maps when combined with shortcut keys like TAB for new daughter branch and ENTER for sibling branch! Take a look at all the new features here and check this video out to see how iMindMap can transform the way you work and go about your day!

  1. Sean Moore says:

    While this doesn’t quite fit in with your request, I thought I’d share how I currently use mind mapping. I currently use an old version of Inspiration but that is just an implementation detail.


    All our year 7s have 2 sessions called “Thinking Corner”. Mindmapping is a major part of this. After these sessions subject teachers are encouraged to show these thinking skills used in their subjects. At KS3 our SoW follows the structure of “Exploring Science”. We use their unit tests after each unit, (typically every 7-9 lessons)

    When I meet class new to me, I introduce them to mind mapping as a revision tool. Initially, I “gift them” mind maps produced by me. An example can be found here :


    There are further examples, (of varying degrees of refinement) for 7, 8 and 9 under their respective pages :


    My mind maps contain “check boxes”. They are asked to “read each branch in context, and only tick the check box when they are 100% happy” If they are unhappy they consult their books, neighbours or me.

    Around this time of year, I begin to stop “gifting them” and ask them to produce their own. One method I have used successfully is to start with a blank A3 sheet. I put the main topic in the middle with some short branches coming off towards each corner. This is photo copied and cut in 4 A5 sheets. Each A5 is one 1/4 of the whole mind map. During the topic, I give out these A5 sheets and ask them to produce a mind map segment for the course so far. I tend to do this 3 times. At the end of the topic they stick the 3/4 onto an uncut A3 copy and add the final quarter and any finishing touches. The exploring science “summary sheets” can be used as a starting point for mind mapping.


    At the back end of both P2 and P4 the nature of the topics limit the amount of practical we can do and sadly these lessons can all to easily descend into “death by powerpoint”. To limit this I tend to present power points, video clips and animations on the smart board and summarise this as a mindmap on the write on board along side. I try to get over the idea of summarising and note taking. The smart board shows a range of information in a wider context and the write board captures what is required for the exam.

    As a variation of this, typically when the mind map would be larger, I have completed mind maps with the words removed. The students start the lesson with a blanked out mind map and a set of words. I ask them to do their best to insert the words in pencil. Then I go through a cycle of “teach for 5-10mins”, students refine/correct mind map. Often the blanked mind map is presented as a “problem”, (“How can we distribute electrical power?”) and the teaching input is “evidence”, (often video clips and animations) to help resolve the problem. Ultimately, I display my original complete map with the words in for them to self check. I vary the level of the activity depending upon ability.

    I hope these ideas, might spark other ideas. Feel free to use any of the mind maps from the referenced wiki. I have the original inspiration files for any inspiration users just send me an email.

  2. Michelle-Desiree says:

    I recently discovered this blog and this opprotunity to recieve a free version of imindmap, and I was wondering if it was still available. I am an elementary teacher and I was looking to utilize the software with my students this year and hopefully every year here on out. Teaching in my district is getting increasingly hard as our budgets are being cut and I am living pay check to pay check, finding quality technology resources that are free is extremely difficult.

    If I can no longer submit how I would use the software, that is fine, I was just wondering if you would consider a late entry.



    • Alessio Bernardelli says:

      Hi Michelle,
      Please leave a comment, as I have not closed the competition yet due to poor response. So, if you want to leave a comment on how you would use iMindMap 5, or even better upload a mind map made in iMindMap 5 about how you would use the software, I will certainly consider it for the free licence to the Ultimate version. Remember you can download the Basic (free) for your learners to use!

  3. Ryan Compton says:

    Hi, I’m not too sure if this competition is still going?

    Anyways, here I go, this is how I would use I mind map (if I was to win the license!)…

    I’m due to present a proposal for a change within healthcare services. This is part of my adult nursing degree course at university. I would love to present my proposal using iMindMap, along with my actual prototype materials. I think it would make a great alternative change to the ‘general’, ‘as per normal’ powerpoint templates.

    Death by powerpoint will certainly not be coming to a presentation near me….

    I’m hoping I’ll be able to edit the mind map on my iPad on the move. Great for when I will be liasing with my colleagues!


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