June 15, 2017 (Vol. 37, No. 12)
Strong Points: Free, easy-to-use software
Weak Points: Somewhat simplistic graphics
Concept maps are useful teaching devices that challenge students to identify connections between related concepts or ideas, and their utility extends far beyond the classroom as well. CmapTools is a free software program from the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) that easily lets users generate, edit, and share concept maps. The software is available for Windows, OSX, and Linux platforms. (An iPad app is also available). Capability to run Java is required. (Java 7 is included in the software installation). The software itself is easy to use, providing individual windows for the summary view, individual map builds, and an editing menu. To construct individual maps, users simply click to add shapes, double-click to add text labels, and click-and-drag to create arrows connecting the different shapes. Completed maps can be saved to the user’s computer, to a cloud account, or to IHMC’s public servers.