Saturday, June 03, 2006

Collaborative Diagrams

Recently, Clarence was writing about using a simple matrix from the Medici Effect to thing about educational change. He then created a wiki to allow us all to join in the discussion. I love the entire project. My only frustration was that in a wiki, the information was no longer in a matrix, making it visually more difficult to process.

I wish the information was in some form on online, collaborative concept map instead. However, I have been unable to find a tool that allows us to create them. I had been looking just a few weeks ago. I even sent a note to the Zoho team suggesting they create one, since it is clearly missing.

Today I heard about Gliffy. It is an online, collaborative app for creating diagrams such as flow charts, concept maps, and room maps. I thought it might be just the tool for projects like this. I registered for a free account and gave it a try.

I liked how easy it was to use, and the well-organized sets of icons. My disappointment was that what I really want is a tool for easily generating concept maps, a sort of Inspiration online. What I found was that I can most certainly draw concept maps, but I must create the text with a text tool, find the icon, resize it to fit, combine the text and graphics, draw connecting lines, etc.

It IS a great tool and it allows you get the diagrams onto your wikis and blogs quite easily. I suspect I will use it, but not when I am trying to brainstorm. I'll use it when I want to create diagrams to be posted online.

[P.S. I couldn't add text at all when I was using Flock as my browser, but it worked fine with Safari and Firefox.]

[Addition: Clint, the Co-Founder of Gliffy left me this comment: "...In Gliffy, you can automatically add text to an object just by starting to type while the object is selected or by double clicking the object. Hope this might solve some of you're frustration. Also, we might be adding more concept/mind mapping capabilities in the near future."]