Ideas for Using Inspiration Unconventionally
Inspiration 7.5 is a powerful application for a variety of organizational, teaching and concept mapping tasks common to many k-12 schools. The application ships with a good introductory set of templates for teachers and students to use across the curriculum. Our Digital Mapping workshop explores these, but also outside the box, unconventional uses of the software. We encourage curious educators to explore and expand upon the examples we present below.
Inspiration files and templates for the samples below can be provided for training purposes or use in the classroom. Please contact Least Tern.
Planet X - Initially a 5th grade mathematics assignment, we have extended Planet X by relying upon the notation and symbol linking in Inspiration to force students to explore WHY they make crucial community design decisions. Inherent in this draft of the assignment is the ability to share content and collaborate - turning a static assignment into a possible online project. Project requires use of a paint program (or a printer and colored pencils).
Planet X Assessment Rubric - The assessment rubric becomes an interactive experience when created in Inspiration. Teachers can comment in Notes, to which students can reply. This page is linked to the Planet X project page, above.
Workshop Planning and Presentation - PowerPoint is the tool of choice, generally, but why not use Inspiration, in outline view, to present your workshop? You can always save to PowerPoint if you lose confidence. This best illustration of this use is Inspiration's own Half-Day Hands-on Workshop for v.7.
Primary Document Annotation - The symbols, text boxes and drawing tools of Inspiration, in addition to the hyperlinking capabilities, make this the perfect tool for annotating a poem, speech or short passage. Here is a sample web: Poem Analysis of Design. Unlined the Inspiration template for poem analysis, this one retains the entire poem text, as written.
Visual Content Analysis - Similarly, the Inspiration tools can be used to analyze a painting, photograph, flowchart, design or other visual display, even an Inspiration map. If symbols are used for the annotation text, a web site can be quickly produced.
Logical Problem Solving - Inspiration's ability to quickly map thought processes make it a wonderful tool for complex problem solving. In this example, the Juvenile Crime logic puzzle is resolved through a visual exploration. A similar method can be used to debug computer network and institutional work-flow processes.
Logical Programming - From Logo the Java, students must work through programming steps in order to achieve an outcome. Inspiration is the perfect tool for this exploration. Here is a Do...Loop used to tile an image in True Basic Student.
Mathematical Processes - Using Inspiration for student-generated explanations of their mathematical understanding reinforces learning while creating a visual and portfolio record of their concept understanding. Here is an Adding 2 Fractions map based upon a student created All About Fractions book. We have used TimeLiner in a similar way.
Curriculum Mapping - This is not the tool that leaps to mind when a school or district begins to explore curriculum mapping. But many elements of Inspiration make it a useful mapping tool for the small school or the school wishing to explore curriculum mapping by creating a specific horizontal or vertical comparison. By using the Arrange command and color coding, map elements can be examined side-by-side, in the context of the unit, or hidden entirely. Sample. Least Tern offers a workshop in the use of this approach to mapping, as well as a workshop in the use of our basic FileMaker Pro solution.
Maps - Literally, maps. Neighborhoods, classrooms, seating, drama staging - anything that needs to be drawn is better drawn in Inspiration. The maps are adjustable, they can be archived, and they can be printed. Here is map of a "Box Neighborhood" named Littleville, constructed by a 1st grade class at The Chapin School, NYC (images used with permission). A digital camera and Inspiration replaced more expensive neighborhood mapping software.
Annotated Maps - Why not? Inspiration is one of the great annotation tools for k-12. Remember that when the diagram is saved for the web, the links remain active! Here is the beginning of a Trip Across New England, a sample geography mapping exercise. This would be a good web hunt project and should be done in groups. Least Tern plans to use the diagram in a What's Great About My State online project, Fall of 2003.
Writing: Jumble Exercises - Use Inspiration in outline view to reorganize a mix-up paragraph, to recreate a jumbled poem; use Inspiration in diagram view to reorganize a sentence. Here is a Jumbled Poem for High School.
Sentence Diagramming - Remember sentence diagramming? It was a fascinating but boring study with pen and paper, but Inspiration can make it fun! Here is a sample. The sample is in English, but the same can be applied to any language.
E. Sky-McIlvain 7/2/03