As the English department can probably tell you, one of the hardest parts for students when writing an essay is organizing their thoughts. Most students want to dive right in – start writing before they have any idea of what they want to say. Focusing on the before part of writing- of gathering all your points and then lining them up so they flow nicely into each other- does not get enough play.
iBrainstorm is a free brainstorming application for the iPad and the iPhone. The app allows you to record brainstorming sessions using a combination of free hand drawings and sticky notes. You can share and collaborate with other users of iBrainstorm. Sharing notes and drawings between users in a local setting is a simple matter of “flicking” an item to another user.-free4teachers.com
So I decided to give it a whirl.
The interface is a basic cork board-esque background:
Nice, simple, and relatively intuitive.
The first thing I did was name my project (I get too many untitled documents from students. It is annoying):
And then I started brainstorming some possible scenes:
To add a sticky note, you tap on the square with the plus sign. I wanted to have my scenes in yellow and my settings in blue. Apparently you are supposed to be able to change the colour of the sticky note, but that option wasn’t working when I was trying this app out (just tried again and still not working- hmmm.) Hopefully this is just a temporary glitch.
You can also tap the pencil and draw:
You can collaborate with other people on a project- just tap the vibrating phone icon and it will “listen for devices”:
I think it must listen for a device that is running ibrainstorm, because it didn’t find any…I am trying right now to connect to iPads -I am still getting the wheel of death… Hmmm. Another strike against ibrainstorm- Although it looks like it should be very intuitive and minimal, the options they do provide don’t work.
You have the option to send your brainstorm session via email or save it to your photos:
Although I like the interface- it provides a simple and intuitive blank slate with which to visually map out your ideas, I am not so happy with the so-called collaboration option- as I write this my devices are still trying to connect to each other (I gave up). As well, the relatively simple yet essential option of changing the colour of your sticky notes doesn’t work.
In terms of collaboration, I would suggest syncspace, which also happens to be on the iLab iPads. It works better and the real-time collaboration actually happens in real time.