Online Brainstorming Tools For Students

Online brainstorming tools are a great way to help students develop their writing skills. These tools allow students to collaborate with each other, which can help them learn more about the writing process and how other people think. Online brainstorming tools can also be used by teachers as a way to teach students how to write effectively.

There are many different types of online brainstorming tools available on the market today, including:

1) Brainstorming tools that allow users to create mind maps or lists of ideas. These tools allow users to organize their thoughts in a way that makes them easier for others to understand. They can also serve as a reminder when it comes time for the user to write the actual paper or essay itself!

2) Collaborative tools where users can work together on projects such as group papers or presentations by posting comments and suggestions for each other’s work. This helps both parties learn about each others’ thinking processes so they can better communicate with one another later on down the road when it comes time for revisions or edits.”

Online Brainstorming Tools For Students

Have you been collaborating remotely while in isolation? If you are an educator, have you been issuing group projects to your students? The Covid-19 pandemic challenges students to communicate and cooperate even without meeting face-to-face. 

This period has prompted re-assessments of work processes and questioned long-held assumptions that the ideation process must be done in a meeting room, with a whiteboard or paper set in the middle. Is it always true that brainstorming for ideas can only be done in person? 

For some students, this pandemic may have demonstrated that it is possible to collaborate with others from the comforts of their homes. Even when this pandemic blows over, in-person group meetings may no longer be regarded as necessary for success. 

Online group projects require students to adopt and leverage the appropriate tools to bring their work to fruition. Here are five online tools for brainstorming that we will be introducing in this article:

  1. Trello
  2. Slack
  3. MindMeister
  4. Google Meet
  5. HeyHi’s online whiteboard 

Each online tool in this list is free-to-use and can be used in conjunction with one another in the brainstorming process. Even as we spotlight these tools, we will also suggest alternatives that you may explore.

1. Trello (Manage projects)

Students often work on multiple projects simultaneously and it can be easy to lose track of the endless list of tasks that have to be completed. Fortunately, project management applications such as Trello can help with that!

Users can create a Trello board for each of their projects before inviting their group mates to collaborate on the board. Our advice is for students to create different sections to categorise each task under. Some examples of section headers can be: ‘ideation,’ ‘work in progress,’ and ‘awaiting review.’ As each task moves up the stages of development, students will be able to drag and drop these tasks under the relevant category. 

With Trello, students can track the group’s progress on different aspects of their project and thus devote more attention to weak areas that need more pushing. 

Online brainstorming tool for students: Trello
Trello board with different sections. Screenshot from Trello.

Alternatives to Trello:

  • ClickUp
  • Wrike
  • nTask

2. Slack (Communicate for work)

Slack is a virtual workspace that brings individuals together for work purposes. Within Slack, you can create different channels to segregate departments and different work processes. 

If you are a student managing a group project, you may consider designating channels for announcements, idea generation, writing, designing, and even a coffee talk channel for some downtime between work!

If you are a teacher, you could create private channels to manage and weigh in on conversations within each project group. That way, Slack serves as a centralised platform to stay up to date on each group’s progress. 

Slack also allows you to set office timings such that notifications will be turned off beyond your preset hours. When we are working from home, it is important to set boundaries and to balance work and relaxation. 

Online brainstorming tool for students: Slack
Slack virtual workspace. Screenshot from Slack.

Alternatives to Slack:

  • Microsoft Teams
  • HeySpace
  • Workona

3. MindMeister (Create collaborative mind maps)

Katherine Schulten and Sarah Gross write in the New York Times that “mind mapping, goes beyond note-taking and can be used for organising, problem-solving and brainstorming.” Mindmaps are useful for visualising concepts and to draw links that may not be immediately obvious. 

MindMeister is a free online mind mapping tool that enables students to work together in real-time to create mind maps detailing their ideas. With the ability to link different bubbles with arrows and to add pictures within each bubble, MindMeister is an excellent tool for visual learners to organise their thoughts. 

In group projects, students may diverge in their way of thinking. Mind maps are inclusive ways to display multiple perspectives. With this big picture view of the topic, students will be able to brainstorm and arrive at a consensus faster and more efficiently. 

Online brainstorming tool for students: MindMeister
Mindmap created on MindMeister. Screenshot from Meister.

Alternatives to MindMeister:

  • Coggle
  • Wisemapping
  • Ayoa

4. Google Meet (discuss ideas through video conferencing)

Sometimes, talking it out over video is more productive than communicating over text messages through Slack or emails. Google Meet enables users to schedule online meetings in advance. Once the invitation is accepted, students will be able to add the details to their Google calendar. 

Google Meet is accessible across a range of devices including desktop, Android, and Apple devices. 

Online brainstorming tool for students: Google Meet
Google Suite. Photo by Elle Cartier on Unsplash.

Alternatives to Google Hangouts:

  • Skype
  • Zoom

5. HeyHi’s online whiteboard

So far, we have covered four different tools that enable students to collaborate and brainstorm for project ideas. Now, we are pleased to introduce you to HeyHi, an online whiteboard that enables students to schedule video conferences and brainstorm ideas with the aid of a blank canvas. 

On HeyHi’s online whiteboard, students can make handwritten notes and drawings to brainstorm for ideas. Students have the freedom to present their ideas in a way that is most productive for them. Whether students generate better ideas with arrows, Venn diagrams or doodles, students are not restricted to a limited selection of arrows and bubbles with HeyHi’s online whiteboard.

HeyHi’s online whiteboard. Screenshot by HeyHi.

By signing up for a free HeyHi account, students will be able to schedule and invite their group members to meetings. These meetings can only be accessed with a meeting ID and an access code. Therefore, you can be assured that the security and safety of students is a top priority for developers at HeyHi. 

Invite people to HeyHi meeting. Screenshot by the writer.

With built-in video conferencing features superimposed on HeyHi’s online whiteboard, students will not have to toggle between different applications. Students will feel more at ease discussing, conversing, and brainstorming with their friends using HeyHi’s online whiteboard. 

If you are prone to letting your ideas run wild and brainstorming on pen and paper often leads to multiple sheets of paper covered with scribbles, HeyHi’s online whiteboard is perfect for you. HeyHi’s online whiteboard is expandable. If you run out of space as you generate ideas, simply shift to another section of the whiteboard or zoom out to reveal more whiteboard space!

HeyHi’s online whiteboard is available in browsers and on Android and iOS devices.

Video conferencing with HeyHi’s online whiteboard. Photo by HeyHi.

Alternatives to HeyHi:

  • Stormboard
  • Ziteboard


This article has introduced you to five online tools that students can use to brainstorm ideas for group projects:

  1. Trello
  2. Slack
  3. MindMeister
  4. Google Meet
  5. HeyHi’s online whiteboard

We have taken care to select tools that complement one another and are free for students to use. No one tool performs the same function, and we advise that students adopt a combination of these tools for future group projects.

If you are an educator looking to help your students adjust to remote working, we hope that this curated list of tools will provide you with some useful suggestions that you can offer to your students. Among these tools, HeyHi’s online whiteboard offers multiple features within an application and thus makes brainstorming for ideas fun and manageable.

If you are interested in trying out HeyHi’s online whiteboard for you or your students’ group project, please reach out to us to request for a demo or even experience the user interface for yourself!

digital writing tools for brainstorming

Wether you want to start a new  project, write an essay, or plan an event, brainstorming is an effective method to outsource ideas and create mind maps. Brainstorming a topic before writing about it can help students focus their ideas and direct them in the writing process.

There are now several web tools that can be used and most often for free to create visually appealing mindmaps. These tools can help our students pin their ideas down on a target topic and enrich their written pieces.  I have featured several of mind mapping tools before but the list below is the most updated collection.

1-  Popplet

Popplet is a free online tool that allows you to create mind mapping and brainstorming diagrams. You may create a maximum of 5 Popplets.

2- MindMeister

The leading online mind mapping application, MindMeister allows your team to be more innovative by providing a shared collaboration and brainstorming environment on the web. Plan projects, manage meetings and sketch out business plans online with partners and colleagues, all in real time!

3- SpiderScribe

SpiderScribe is an online mind mapping and brainstorming tool. It lets you organize your ideas by connecting notes, files, calendar events, etc. in free-form maps. You can collaborate and share those maps online!
4- Bubblus is a simple and free web application that lets you brainstorm online. You can create colourful mind maps online, share and work with friends,embed your mind map in your blog or website, email and print your mind map, save your mind map as an image.
5- Text27Mindmap

Text2MindMap is a free mindmapping tool where you can convert your ideas into mindmaps.

6- Scapple

Scapple is an easy-to-use tool for getting ideas down as quickly as possible and making connections between them. It isn’t exactly mind-mapping software—it’s more like a freeform text editor that allows you to make notes anywhere on the page and to connect them using straight dotted lines or arrows.
7- Mind42
Mind42 is an online mind mapping application that allows users to visualize their thinking using the proven mind mapping method.
8- LucidChart

Lucidchart is a web-based diagramming software which allows users to collaborate and work together in real time to create flowcharts, organisational charts, and mind maps.
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