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Creatively with Creately November 21, 2009

Posted by IaninSheffield in TELIC, Tools.
Tags: , , ,

In my previous post, I bemoaned the fact that I didn’t quite have the time to create an online, ‘live’ version of My Person Learning Ecosystem . . . well it surely it ought to be ‘live.!’  that would also mean I could keep it up to date, add new nodes to the network, or delete any that become redundant.  It should be a living entity which evolves with time.

I couldn’t quite find the application I wanted – it had to be online, enable the drawing of concept maps, allow the use of images as nodes, provide access for others to view (and maybe interact).  I’ve used SpicyNodes in the past (Flash-driven, highly interactive, but doesn’t support use of user-generated images) and Mindomo (very supportive, interactive, but again limited choice of node types).  I was keen to ty to show the distinction between the different streams into which I tap – some are uni-directional, some are unconnected multi-streams and some are interconnected networks.  There’s also MindMeister, DropMind and doubtless lots of others, but I have little experience with any of them.  In the end I turned to an online drawing application – Creately which seemd to provide the closest fit to what I wanted to do.

As a drawing package, it contained exactly the features I needed to create a concept map, most particularly drawing active ‘connectors’ to form relationships in the diagram and enable them to be dragged around but still remain linked.  I could also incorporate the images I wanted to use by simple upload.  Although I didn’t use one, there are plenty of standard templates to start your diagram off – fishbone diagrams, SWOT analysis, organisational charts, venn diagrams, network diagrams and many more.

My Learning Ecosystem

My Learning Ecosystem

Though not needed on this occasion, it is possible for several people to work on the same diagram by providing email contact details of collaborators.  There’s also the facility to add comments and therefore track collaborators’ thoughts as the diagram develops.

The finished product can be exported as an image, PDF or even as xml (didn’t try that), but the output can also be online –  URL to both image and the active diagram are provided.  there’s also an embed code generated, but I’ve not had much luck getting this to work in either WordPress or PBWorks (possibly because of the javascript?)  One other minor irritation was that ‘snap to grid’ is enabled and just a little coarse for my liking – couldn’t find out how to turn it off.

So Creately is a tool to which I’ll doubtless return.  Wonder what my Ecosystem will look like this time next year?



1. Nick Foster - November 22, 2009

Hi Ian,

Great post. A very interesting use case for Creately. I just wanted to help you with the ‘minor irritation’ you mention. If you right click on the main Creately canvas you’ll be able to select “Don’t snap to grid” which will turn off the snap to grid feature.


2. ianinsheffield - November 22, 2009

A schoolboy error on my part – how could I have missed that?! Thanks for keeping me posted Nick.

3. PLN – Ning « What Ed Said - March 6, 2010

[…] liked this diagram of a personal learning environment on In the pICTure blog (nice name!).   Ian talks about the online and offline communities that form part of his learning […]

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