One such resource that I've used over the last thirteen years has been Inspiration, from the software company with the same name (Inspiration Software Inc). This software has enabled my students and myself to develop mind maps, flowcharts, diagrams, cause and effect charts and a host of other visual learning support tools. (Watch the video below to get an idea of how the APP works.) Now this program is portable and it can be accessed on an iPad by using the Inspiration Maps APP. I have downloaded, and am using the FREE or Lite version, and am finding it very user friendly. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the complete version ($14.99), but provides a range of tools that will enhance many learning activities. I'm always in favour of downloading the FREE or LITE version first to review the tools and options and decide whether it will benefit my classroom activities.
Usiing the Inspiration Map Lite APP is straightforward and it wouldn't take long for either you or your students to be up and running. This video is using the complete APP version, however, the movement of connection arrows and idea bubbles are the same.
1. Download either the full or Lite version from iTunes. The FREE version is a good starting point for students, as there is no outlay and a limited number of tools to master.
2. Click on the + in the top left hand corner of the screen and select from either the Diagram or Outline options. The Diagram option uses bubbles to display ideas or points in a visual format. All notes etc are placed in an ordered format when you use the Outline option.
3. If using the Diagram option, tap the bubbles for the keypad to be displayed and type in ideas / data.
4. Tap the arrow button to the bottom right of any bubble and an arrow and bubble will be displayed. You can also touch the Rapid Fire icon on the title bar for another bubble. This is a great tool when doing a brainstorming activity, because you can tap the Next key on the keypad for an idea cloud to appear (see slideshow below). The cloud becomes a bubble once you press the ENTER key.
5. To link a bubble to a different idea - a) Touch the arrow. b) Touch and drag either the circle at the head or end of the arrow to the new bubble. c) Ensure the arrow is inside the new bubble for it to stick.
6. To add notes to an idea bubble you touch the notepad button to the top left of the selected bubble. (Button visible in the graphic to the right - Crossing natural barriers.) You can type in any information you like regarding that idea / point. The full version offers the option of graphics and hyperlinks.
7. Tap the top line to begin recording information in the Outline format.
8. To move points around in this format you touch the section and drag it to another area of the outline. This feature enables students to organise and sequence ideas.
9. Double tap under the last entry to add another point in the Outline format,
Piece de Resistance
What is the one aspect, above all the tools on offer, that sells this APP to me? My piece de resistance is the seamless transition from Diagram format to Outline format. When you develop a mind map, brainstorm etc in the diagram option, you can immediately review it in the outline format. To view either option you just tap the icon in the top left hand corner of the screen. Either option can then be saved, printed or emailed for future reference. Inspirational Map APP gets ***** stars from me and I was so impressed I purchased the full version. With this version there are numerous templates to choose from and you can develop graphs from data you enter.
I previously stated that I have used the Inspiration program for over thirteen years, I can now imagine I'll be using the various versions of this APP for as long.