This is part-2 of the previous post on the use of concept maps in education.
Inspiration has been an industry leader for years now, but it is not free and not cheap either (I am unsure of actual costs for school use). Their website is a good resource, though, for ideas on how to use such tools in the classroom, and for general reading on the educational benefits of concept mapping. They have also come out with Kidspiration - a version for younger kids. Try the free trial versions just to get a sense for the software.
MindManager - is a paid tool with very pleasing aethetics. I doubt anyone (in schools) will need purchase it, now that there's FreeMind and Mindomo (see below). This also has a free trial version you can download and try.
C-Map - is a FREE, good, easy-to-use tool. The information on the home-page of their website also serves to explain all the features of this tool (it's been put together using C-Map itself!).
FreeMind - is like MindManager, except that its FREE! Make sure you install the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) on your machine before using this.
Mindomo - is available in free as well as paid versions. This is a new web-based concept mapping tool (released barely a week ago) that allows the user to create the maps within the web browser itself, which allows for easy sharing and collaboration. The maps look much like the MindManager maps. I have not tried this tool yet, but it does look very promising; only downside being that it needs Internet access for use which presents a very real constraint for schools in India.
bubbl.us - I was recently sent a link to this new 'brainstorming tool', which is also FREE. It seems to be very user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing too and appears to serve the "thinking process" better than some of the older tools. The features described on the site are shown through a bubbl.us map (so what's new about that?). Like Mindomo, this is also an online tool, which is not so good for people in India with limited or no Internet access.
Have fun mapping your mind!