Deirdre Doherty

Kidspiration: Prewriting Software Grades K-4+

My Podcast: Kidspiration: Getting Started Episode 1: Diagram Toolbar (learn to explore the diagram screen icons)

Inspiration:Prewriting Software Grades 5-12+

Visual learning improves performance

Research to support the use of specific teaching and learning techniques has long been a key part of every educator's decision-making process. Now, with the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind Act, and its new requirements for research-based curriculum and products, research support is more critical than ever. Visual learning techniques are used widely in schools across the country to accomplish curriculum goals and improve student performance. The Institute for the Advancement of Research in Education (IARE) at AEL has completed a research study entitled Graphic Organizers: A Review of Scientifically Based Research. In the report, twenty-nine studies were identified and evaluated as scientifically based research (SBR). The studies provided evidence in support of the instructional effectiveness of the use of visual learning techniques. Scientifically based research cited in the literature review demonstrates that a research base exists to support the use of visual learning techniques for improving student learning and performance in the following areas:


Reading comprehension

Student achievement across grade levels, diverse student populations and content areas

Thinking and learning skills such as organizing and communicating ideas; seeing patterns and relationships; and categorizing ideas

The study also describes how visual learning supports implementation of cognitive learning theories: dual coding theory, schema theory and cognitive load theory.

Kidspiration and Inspiration software provides the tools for integrating visual learning in the classroom with technology. Examples of how it can be used are provided on their website. In the newest version of Inspiration (Version 8.0), audio and video files can be incorporated within graphic organizers to even further increase comprehension, retention, and student achievement, through adding a multimedia component. This software is a must for every classroom. You can download a 30 day free trial for Inspiration and Kidspiration from the web site. Check out the "Learn to Use" tutorial resources and Curriculum Packages available upon launching the program. Get Inspired! {Carolyn Semet}

I agree Inspiration 8.0 is an excellent educational tool that I have just recently been introduced to in my Instructional Applications of the Internet course. After completing the three tutorial lessons in about 25 minutes I would say most students would love using this kind of software throughout all area of the curriculum.
[Dave Manzalaoui]

I too must agree that inspiration is a great site. I have just recently downloaded the 30 day free trial and the user guide offers step by step tutorial on how to utilize this program (pages 30 – 66). After following their instructions it is easy to see the benefits of using this program. The best feature I found was; it will export into word document format without losing any data.
Barry Spainer

My experience with this tool has been a positive one. I know classroom teachers who love to use this with their students because it has some different directions that you can go with it and it is easy for the students to use and understand.
(Doug Luciano)

I am so amazed with this program, I really like their products. I think I really came to life to me because I am a visual learner. (Multiple Intelligences) Kidspiration will help kids work on many things they can call their own. The students can make a visual biography of themselves, and even a Harry Potter character analysist.(this is also a dowloadable in trial version). It Has endless uses in the classroom,the students can work on it themselves or have the teachers guide them.
{Arleen Chan}

I think that Inspiration is also a great tool. Research shows that students retain more when they use Graphic Organizers. I don’t have enough computers to go around so I use graphic organizers as worksheets where I give the outline of what we’re talking about and leave some ideas blank so that we can fill them in together. Students then have a great reference sheet on the topic we discussed
Art Schnee