A friend of mine shared with me last night a great free application for making concept maps (also commonly referred to as mind maps). MindNode is a simple and elegant tool with an easy to interface. Some might find that the inability to use shapes, images, arrows, and other design elements is a limitation, but I believe that it makes the presentation of the concept map ultimately more powerful.
The drag and drop interface is extremely intuitive. Once you start a new node from the master, the color automatically changes according to a very . You can change the colors of the fonts of the text as well as the lines connecting items. My friend suggested that a fun activity to do in order to learn the interface would be to try and recreate the NYC Subway map.
Unfortunately, MindNode is only available for Macs, but they do have an iPhone/iTouch/iPad compatible app for $5.99. They also have a "pro" version that has some additional features that can be learned about here.
Header photo by Robert S. Donovan