When you ask your students to engage in brainstorming, you expect them to think with their own heads.
You want to see great ideas that result from the combination of their creativity and accumulated knowledge. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy for them to start brainstorming right away. Their minds are confused by the great load of information they process on a daily basis. They focus on the lessons and suppress the genuine ideas. Some of them are too shy or insecure to speak up.
The brainstorming process can become monotonous, too. If you just give a prompt and write down the ideas your students suggest, you’ll soon lose their interest. You need specific tools that will make the brainstorming process quick, effective, and fun for your students.
Brainstorming is a great method to use when you want to teach your students how to write. It’s also useful for planning an art project, since it awakens their creativity. The point is to turn this into a collaborative process, which inspires students to support and complement each other’s ideas.
We’ll suggest 8 tools that are perfect for classroom brainstorming.
1. Lucid Chart
What’s the first thing you think of when someone mentions oldschool brainstorming? Diagrams! Thanks to this online tool, diagrams are not boring to make. The users can collaborate on a design and create mind maps, flowcharts, and organizational charts. If you feel like this tool is too complex for your students, you can be the one creating the diagram according to the ideas they get.
This is a more advanced brainstorming tool, which lets you connect notes, calendar events, and documents to organize your ideas. It’s also collaborative, so your students can join forces during the process. They can base the brainstorming project on a specific schedule that leads them towards the submission date. They can contribute with different ideas and notes, as well as files and online resources. You can lead them through the process, so they will come down to a map they can use as an outline for the final project.
This app will enable your students to visualize their thinking process. The visual aspect is quite important in brainstorming, since it helps them connect different ideas in a pattern that makes sense. MInd42 is great for project brainstorming, but it also works for event organizing. If you’re working on an important school event and you want your students to be part of it, you can turn the process of planning into a great visual mind map.
Try getting few of your students on the whiteboard and ask them to brainstorm. The pressure and expectations will probably create a mental block. This tool gives them everything a whiteboard does – space for their ideas. However, it’s a collaborative online tool, so your students won’t feel pressured to use it. They can share drawings, images, text, and other elements on the whiteboard, and they will all contribute with unique ideas during the brainstorming process.
Even professional writers use this tool, since it enables them to quickly write down ideas and make connections between them. There’s nothing complicated in the software; it’s like a freeform text editor that enables the students to write anywhere on the page and connect the loose ends with lines and arrows. Scapple is perfect for the brainstorming stage of important academic writing projects.
This is a popular tool for creating colorful and engaging mind maps. It works on all devices, so your students can easily use it in class if they all have tablets or smartphones. If that’s not the case, you can be the one who turns their ideas into an attractive graphic presentation. The mind map can be saved as an image, but you can also share it, so the students will access it whenever they need to.
MindMeister is another collaborative mind mapping tool that triggers the users’ creativity. They can use it not only for brainstorming, but for note taking, too. While you’re presenting a lecture, your students can take notes in MindMeister, and then they can all collaborate when you ask questions that need creative thinking skills.
Popplet is a brainstorming tool that works well for all generations of students. They can create visual mindmaps to connect different facts and concepts together. It’s a great tool for mapping down the facts they learn throughout a lecture and connecting them with their own ideas.
It’s easy for a teacher to inspire creative brainstorming when they rely on the right tools. You can write discussion prompts on the whiteboard and let them use a tool for collaborative brainstorming. If not all of your students have tablets or smartphones, you can be the one writing down the ideas in the chosen tool, and then you’ll share the map.
This is the best thing about the brainstorming method: it teaches the students that every idea is important, no matter how silly it seems. The process of brainstorming inspires them to give each idea a chance and see where it can lead them. Thanks to the tools suggested above, brainstorming is more fun than ever!