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Inspiration March 7, 2006

Posted by Michael McVey in Lifelong Learning, Online Tools.
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inspiration   Today I introduced students to Inspiration, a remarkable graphical organizer tool. Sometimes I fall flat on my face when introducing this tool, but this year I put so much excitement into the presentation, I hope, that I think I made an impact.

The ability to make boxes and connect lines to them is something you can do with PowerPoint or even Word, but Inspiration does it brilliantly. In my own world, I have used Inspiration for studying for Comprehensive Examinations, outlining writing projects, and helping my daughter with her homework. One semester, my daughter’s teacher asked her to list everything she had studied in Social studies that year to date. The reaction was as expected; randomly remembered items tossed down in no particular order.

Using Inspiration, we did the same random recall exercise but noted everything on the computer screen in small boxes and balloons. My daughter’s job was to drag these balloons together to help her to organize and classify the topics under study. Once we did that, we developed titles for each of the areas such as American Politics, Presidents, and South American Civilizations. With a single click, we transformed the drawing into an outline, which she then fleshed out on the word processor.

I have been showing this program to teachers not for what it does but for how it empowers teachers to try teaching in new and interesting ways. I am anxious to see how my class tackles this particular challenge.

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