Submitted by Sylvia Riessner, Educational Consultant, Educomm | @NorthernTweeter

What is it?

Coggle is a cross-platform freemium app that you can use to create visual diagrams or representations of ideas (e.g., mind maps or flow charts) to aid decision-making or learning. You can create mind maps collaboratively and share through links, embed code or social media.

What can it do?

Coggle is easy to use on your mobile device or desktop computer. You can take notes, organize and analyze ideas, and invite others to collaborate in real-time. Available for iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Android operating systems. Coggle also runs in a web browser.

Download the App

How does it work

Based on free version – if you want more, you will need a paid subscription.

  1. Download and install the app. Log in (or create) a Google account. You’ll see your home page. Select the +Create Diagram button.
  2. The central item appears in the middle of a blank screen. Click or tap to add a title for the theme or focus of your map or chart.
  3. Add your first level of topics (single words or short phrases) using the plus buttons. Click or tap on text to edit; grab corner to resize font; or select bold or italics.
    • Mobile view: From toolbar – select +Child to add an item or add bold or italics.
    • Web browser view: Hover over the point on each of the four sides of your central item. A plus button appears (grey circle with white plus symbol). Click to edit text or apply bold or italics.

    You can drag an item to move it. (Note: at times this feature is a bit slow to respond)
    Each coloured line and topic(s) is called a branch. You can change the colour by clicking on a branch and then selecting a colour from the colour wheel.

  4. Add additional levels of ideas in a branch. Subordinate ideas add a stem to the branch (known as a child).
  5. Your map is saved automatically. You can review versions in the web browser. Delete a map from Diagram Options, Home page.
  6. Select the visibility of your map. You’re allowed 3 private maps with a free account and unlimited public maps.
    • Mobile view: You can choose to make your map public (default is private). You can save as a pdf or image (iOS app); save as image (Android app).
    • Web browser view: Select the share icon and set the visibility of your map. To share public maps, you can share a hyperlink, embed code or directly to your Twitter or Facebook account.
  7. Invite others to join you in collaboratively building the mind map. There is no limit on the number of collaborators. Changes to the shared map appear in real-time. You can invite people to contribute (they’ll need a Google account) or you can create a public link that allows anyone to contribute (use with caution!).
    • Mobile view: Select the cogged wheel at the top right and send an email to invite collaborators.
    • Web browser view: You can invite collaborators by clicking on the plus button beside your profile image. You can chat or comment on collaborative maps using the Message thread in the top right hand corner of the screen.

See the Coggle Introduction video on Youtube.

Extend your learning

Review: how to create mind maps

Mind maps (term popularized by Tony Buzan) are based on hierarchies of words, images or parts of words, organized around a central theme or concept. Mind maps are a type of graphic organizer, similar to a spider diagram.

Major ideas are connected directly to the parent word or picture that appears in the middle of the diagram (usually). These first level items are referred to as children or child items. Any words added at the same level as a child are referred to as siblings.

Some people develop mind maps directly as they listen to a lecture or brainstorm ideas – digital mapping tools make this approach easier. Others suggest creating lists of ideas by freewriting or drawing on paper first; creating a mind map consolidates and refines the organization and understanding of the ideas.

Using Coggle in teaching and learning

If you would like to use Coggle with students, check your institution’s guidelines on the use of social media. If any student has concerns about creating a Google account, you can restructure an activity so that they can contribute by using a Coggle created on your account with a public link (editable), or create an alternative method.

  • Two-step brainstorming activity: You can use Coggle as an element in a collaborative brainstorming activity – see Mindmap (using Coggle) subtitles – 1: In a face-to-face setting, download and print copies of the Placemat graphic organizer. Research has shown that brainstorming works best if people compile lists of their ideas first before sharing in a group. This graphic organizer requires each student to write ideas or solutions to a problem or challenge in one compartment of the placemat. When all four sides are complete, the group discusses the ideas and selects (and ranks) the ideas in the centre.
    Step 2: Share the ideas with the class and build a coggle together (displaying your work so students can comment, ask questions or suggest changes).
    If mobile devices are available, you could as each group to create a coggle and then present it to the class.
  • Community-building activity: Facilitating Learning Online facilitators have used coggles to capture and share “aha” learning moments of participants in a course. The colourful display and ability to organize into a shareable visual provided a useful summation and community-building artifact.
  • Starter activity for writing assignment: Students can use the mind mapping functionality to play with different ideas to build a story or use the flowcharting options to lay out the structure and direction of events. Students can share their draft layouts to the instructor for further discussion and feedback. Student and teacher can use the revision history to discuss different strategies for future writing assignments.
  • Curriculum or course development: Coggle provides a template to develop curriculum – check it out at

A short task – challenge yourself!

In the spirit of the season, let’s try a critical analysis (?!) and crowd-sourcing activity that focuses on Christmas.

  1. What are some of your favourite things about Christmas? What helps you to get into the Christmas spirit? Reflect for a minute or two and then write (or type) a list of everything that ran through your mind.
  2. Review your list and try to express each item one with one or two words. Then see if they can be organized into similar or related groups.
  3. Open up your Coggle and start building your mind map.
  4. Set your map to be public and find the share link (be careful not to create an editable link unless you want everyone to comment on it).

Don’t forget to come back and add a comment below, write a blog post or share your results somewhere on social media. Use the hashtag: #12AppsBC

CC BY 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.