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Written by Inspiration Software Inc on Friday, 11 November 2005
/palm-n-box.gifEducators around the world are discovering the many advantages of integrating the latest technologies into the curriculum to enhance the learning environment. For schools facing limited budgets, the recent development of handheld computing technology helps educators put a computer into the hand of every student. These handheld devices make it possible for students to use the latest technology on an individual level, while allowing educators to encourage classroom collaboration through a variety of educational software. Among the software available for handhelds is Inspiration®, visual learning software that strengthens critical thinking, comprehension and writing skills across the curriculum. With Inspiration for Palm OS and Inspiration for Pocket PC, educators energize students by combining the learning benefits of Inspiration® with the natural ease and versatility of handhelds. Using Inspiration for handhelds, students create diagrams to represent concepts and relationships and further organise ideas for reports in the integrated outlining view. It's an inspiring new way to expand thinking and learning and improve achievement across the curriculum.

Already, many educators have experienced the benefits of using Inspiration for handhelds in their classrooms. Following are a few stories from educators demonstrating how they used Inspiration for handhelds to enhance their classroom learning environments:


Understanding electricity
Tina Moran, District Technology Curriculum Coordinator for Douglas Public Schools in Massachusetts, USA, instructed students age 9-10 in the use of Inspiration for handhelds during their study unit on electricity. “I started by asking the students to brainstorm what they knew about electricity using the RapidFire tool and then had them beam their diagrams to me,” says Moran.

The initial diagrams included only very basic information about electricity, so as the students learned more they added the new information to their diagram, organising with different shapes and colors. Moran was impressed by how easily the students were able to elaborate on what they had learned. Working on the handheld screen was simple—students could simply zoom out to review and modify the whole diagram or zoom in to work on specific sections.

Comparing historical events
Juniors and seniors in Kerry Clawson’s class at Oregon’s Cottage Grove High School used Inspiration for handhelds to explore historical events in their social studies class. Clawson put all the events the class had previously studied into a hat—events covering issues such as civil rights, immigration, ethics, morality and justice—and asked each student to draw out two events and compare and contrast them. Clawson was pleasantly surprised at the results. “One student was comparing the 1929 stock market crash and the Titanic,” says Clawson. “His similarities: both crashed, both were dramatic events, and both were expensive for those involved.”

After this exercise, Clawson commented that the ease of using Inspiration for handhelds and the critical thinking it promoted have her even more convinced that she will be using it often during class. “In the past, we would have had to go to the lab to do something like this—but it was so easy and effective for the students using Inspiration for handhelds.”

Organizing ideas for writing and peer review
Teachers at the Metropolitan School District (MSD) of Wayne Township in Indiana have handhelds devices for many fifth grade classrooms and use Inspiration for handhelds to help students organize ideas for writing and to allow for easy peer-review.  Teacher Heather Pierce finds Inspiration for handhelds a great help when teaching her fifth graders about planning their writing by outlining. For example, in science class—where the students are learning about body systems—Pierce has them do a Know/Want to Know/Learn chart that they update as they learn new information. “Inspiration for handhelds helps my students with outlining and writing skills,” says Pierce. “They love using it, too. They were very adept at learning the program.”

Fifth grade teacher Trevor Ewing, discovered that having the capability to beam projects from handheld to handheld has meant an increased sense of responsibility among his students. “My students’ accountability for their work has increased. They beam writing samples back and forth with their peers for editing. When they edit each other’s work they are very conscientious.”

For more information on Inspiration contact:
TAG Learning or Inspiration Software Inc

Comments from the forum:
Learning with Inspiration
jfinch    December 11th, 2005 - 11:56 AM


As a long time user of Inspiration on a PC I am very excited by the potential for use on PDAs.  It has a huge range of applications across the curriculum, especially when on a mobile device.  Users no longer have to develop ideas and concept maps when they are fixed to a pen or mouse in an identified block of time.  They can record their thoughts as they have them... where ever they happen to be!  The most important aspect of concept development is gestation time.  Visiting your PC and being required to record ideas at a given moment naturally legislates against that!  If an idea pops into your head when you are walking home from school, or during a break time you can record that development instantly with Inspiration on a PDA.

With younger pupils it is proving to be a valuable tool to encourage reluctant writers.  Suddenly they are working with a tool which allows them to develop text by filling small boxes rather than being faced with a blank page.  Filling the small boxes and adding notes in the diagram mode leads to a straightforward finishing process either in outline mode or through transfer to a word processor.  This was always true with the PC version of Inspiration, but the added dimension of flexibility provided by the PDA version, potential for working beyond the standard school day, sharing with friends and/or family means that the reluctant writer can be supported to write in a range of contexts through their daily life.

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Last Updated ( Monday, 14 November 2005 )
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