Apr 26, 2006

Miles Berry

Fellow Mirandanet Fellow Wilma Clark posted about Gliffy a couple of months back. I received my invitation to the beta programme yesterday, just in time for the next Mirandanet session on visual communication.

Gliffy is a flash powered, browser based application for authoring diagrams such as flowcharts – it’s not hugely powerful at the moment, but there’s support for saving, printing and export, and more importantly there’s also a collaboration tool built in, so groups of people (eg pupils…) can work together on a shared diagram, albeit asynchronously.

Whilst I know it’s not open source, it’s one of the most impressive Web 2.0 browser-applications I’ve seen for some time, and they’ve certainly given the user interface a lot of attention. I can see this having a lot of potential in schools, eg for collaborative work from home where text, either written or spoken, is less effective, and I do hope there’ll be some education version made available when the beta programme concludes. Anyhow, here’s my second attempt at a diagram:

I was hoping for a collaborative tool a little better suited to mind-mapping, but I think freemind still has the edge here, with a more intuitive user interface, and the ability to embed images and hyperlinks in the mind-map, even if it doesn’t have the collaborative interface via a browser just yet.

I’d be interested in exploring embedding freemind maps inside Moodle course – both as a way of navigating through the rich, interconnected network of resources and activities that characterize the best Moodle courses, and as another type of resource that can be published in this way. Of course, it’s not rocket science to embed a java applet in a Moodle course (we do this with a few dynamic geometry activities as is), but given Moodle’s support for filters, it might be possible to code up something that takes a freemind file as raw input and parses this into the applet, which would then open up the possibility of online collaboration this way – there’s already something not dissimilar available in wikka wiki