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VYM - A Powerful Mind Mapping Tool for Students

Vym (View Your Mind) is a mind map application that provides students with a way to better organize notes and plan out the path of research or papers for class in a way that can help even the most complicated topics make sense.


One of the most important skills that a teacher can instill in a student is the ability to organize thoughts and ideas in a meaningful and productive way. Whether it's studying for a test, writing a research paper or brainstorming different science project ideas, the ability to chart out a logical train of thought is the key to success in education.

Thankfully, there is a Windows application that can help students with this. Vym is an application that provides students with a way to better organize notes and plan out the path of research or papers for class in a way that can help even the most complicated topics make sense.

Vym is an educational application hosted at Sourceforge. It is an open source project that allows both teachers and students to walk through logical thought process in an intuitive diagram format called a "mind map" that is easy to follow. Not only can students use mind maps to organize projects, but teachers can even use mind maps to present complicated ideas or even assignments in a way that is much easier for students to follow and understand.

Vym - Using a Mind Map in Education

There are a lot of mind map applications out there on the market today, and for many people there are mind mapping programs that are more preferred than Vym. However, for students, Vym is the ideal choice for a number of reasons.

One of those reasons is the larger variety of icons that are available to mark different branches and items in the mind map. Students can use an alarm clock icon to mark time-critical assignments or tasks, the exclamation icon to mark the most critical tasks in a project, or even a light bulb icon for new ideas that need to be followed up on.

mind mapping
Launching Vym


When you first launch Vym, the application looks fairly simple. There is a new map already started, with the "mapcenter" node already in place for you to start building a new mind map.

You can double click on the text in the node to change the text inside of it. Then, to start building a mind map, the student will click on the "Add Branch as Child" button in the toolbar menu.

mind mapping
First Child Branch


As students build a child branch, they can then break that branch into multiple sub-branches, just like an idea may branch off into several additional ideas or topics. By using such a mind map, students can brainstorm, develop new and creative ideas, or organize and outline projects and writing.

What makes Vym great for kids is the variety of icons that can be added to every child branch of the mind map, which can help to visually organize thoughts and ideas.

mind mapping software
Building the Mind Map


Alongside the visual mind map itself, there is also a text outline of the entire map in a navigation bar at the left. This is a helpful sort of "table of contents" to quickly see everything that's included in the mind map.

mind mapping software
Contents Listing


There are all sorts of great icons that students will love to add to their mind maps. Some of the icons include things like an informational "I" icon, a heart, present, "idea" light bulb, various emoticons and much more. An entire toolbar is entirely devoted to over 20 fantastic icons.

mind mapping software
A List of Icons


Another neat feature of the software that really comes in handy is the ability to sort all of the child branches automatically by clicking on a parent node, and then clicking on one of the sort buttons.

free mind mapping software
Sorting Child Branches


Another nice feature that helps to keep the mind map organized while working on it is the ability to collapse the child branches using the "Scroll Branch" tool. This will collapse all child branches by clicking on the parent node and clicking on the tool button.

This feature is useful for helping students to focus on certain areas of the growing mind map without getting distracted by all of the other sections of the map.

free mind mapping software
Adding Images to the Mind Map


It's even possible to insert images into Mind Maps on any of the child branches. To add images, just right click on one of the branches and click on "Add Image..."

free mind mapping software
Adding Images to the Mind Map


The image gets inserted directly into the mind map, attached to the child branch where it was added. This feature is a fun way for students to include images along with their outlines, brainstorming or other mind maps.

best mind mapping software
Embedded Images


There are other things that students can insert into their mind maps, including URL links to web pages that will open in a web browser when they're clicked on. This is a great way to record and organize Internet links as part of research for a paper or for a classroom project. The ability to insert URLs into a mind map lets students place the links in the areas of the map that logically make sense for the topic under research.

best mind mapping software
Inserting Web Links


Under the View menu, it's also possible to open a number of other tools to embed information into the mind map. One of the most useful tools here is the ability to embed entire pages of notes into the mind map itself. This can be accomplished by selecting the "Note Editor" from the View menu.

best mind mapping software
The View Menu


The ability to type as many notes as needed is useful for inserting a lot more detail into a mind map than might otherwise be possible. Students can type in entire lab procedures for a science mind map, research notes for a research mind map, and much more.

mind mapping software
Inserting Notes into Mind Maps


Overall, the View Your Mind can serve as an important tool either as part of classroom instruction, or as a supplemental tool to offer students that need a logical and visual way to take better notes, plan work and projects more easily, and to keep thoughts and ideas better organized.
Educators across the world are constantly developing new ways to incorporate mind mapping into the curriculum. Take View Your Mind for a test drive and see if there are any creative ways you can use the software in your own classroom.


Written November 7, 2012 by Ryan Dube


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User Reviews & Comments

09/06/2017 your mama
werry nice and usefull thx for the free program(ITS ACTUALY SHIT)

08/05/2014 tessy
This programme is fantastic, it makes studying easy and interesting.

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