[Athen] Inspiration Brand Software

James A. A.James at soton.ac.uk
Fri Apr 24 01:46:48 PDT 2015

In the UK we provide Inspiration or other mind/concept mapping tools extensively to disabled students for use at home (funded through our disabled students allowance DSA scheme). When we surveyed DSA students in 2012, we found that it was mainly being recommended for students with (specific) learning disabilities, ADHD and autism spectrum disorders. Around half of the students with mental health and chronic medial/fatigue syndromes were also using it. These programmes are mainly being used by these students for planning assignments, revision, organisation and time management. But some also report using it for note-taking. Over 75% of all those cohorts said they found it useful.

Inspiration has been popular through this scheme for 15 years+ but Mindview is now as popular if not more. This is because it looks like other MS Office packages so the students find it easier to learn and also because it has a lot of time management tools (timeline view, reminders, Gantt chart view). In the UK they have recently released an AT version of Mindview which also includes text-to-speech, Dragon support and a reference tool but I am not sure if that is also available in the US.

EA & I did some work on how individual’s choose mind mapping programmes a while ago and we found it had a lot to do with how the map looks as well as whether the default mode of creating a map was using the mouse (Inspiration) or the keyboard (tools like Mindjet). As all these different mapping programs can be tailored to individual preferences, a miss-match between the default approach within the tool can be overcome with training and support for the user.

Best wishes

Abi James

WAIS, University of Southampton
British Dyslexia Association

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Ron Stewart
Sent: 24 April 2015 05:08
To: 'Access Technology Higher Education Network'
Subject: Re: [Athen] Inspiration Brand Software

I like Nettie's suggestion but would also want to look at why you would use these tools.

They have a much significant higher cost, and the learning curve can be steep. The other major consideration has been the accessibility of these products for folks with sensory disabilities and that cannot use a mouse. This is something the vendor has never been willing to fix because they do not feel that this is the market they are focused on. Perhaps that has changed recently, I sincerely hope so!

Now that DJ has a HE version I have found that I really like it, but have not used Draft Builder in the past because I do not find it really suitable for the HE environment in such a personalized manner but more in a access manner. The critical issue from my perspective is that the students need to be able to use these tools themselves, and like many of the product that have come from our K-12 partners that is not the orientation for use. I think I would be very hard pressed to get most faculty to move to development with these kinds of products. A few maybe in our ABE/Dev. Ed areas and perhaps support programs like TRIO or SSS, but in the general curriculum, I am not really sure. Though it would be really cool to see.

I would love to hear how you all are using these products in your work to support folks with disabilities on your campuses.

There is not a suite tool option from our friends and Inspiration. I personally have found the standard program the best to use in the HE space since it gives the most flexibility as both an individual organization tool and as a group think tool. I am getting ready to head off to the HTCTU to do a series of trainings for IT folks on AT and Inspiration or one of its analog products is a much have for any campus learning space just not as a part of the AT space. I taught a course for several years with a team of faculty on creative problem solving, low tech and high tech, and found Inspiration invaluable to the process.

Maybe EA will chime in as well because these kinds of tools are one of her passions.

Ron Stewart

From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Nettie Fischer
Sent: Thursday, April 23, 2015 5:38 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: Re: [Athen] Inspiration Brand Software

Solo Suite is another option you might want to consider. The one thing I like about their word prediction program (Co:Writer) and their mapping program (Draft:Builder) is that you can use the word prediction option in the mapping option. When I explored this with inspiration, I was not able to use a word prediction option. I did not explore all the word prediction options but, if you are looking at a suite type program, I do not know if their is one available with Inspiration, etc. As I mentioned, I did not explore this extensively,

Nettie's nickel

On Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 11:56 AM, Aldrich, Holly <haldric2 at lesley.edu<mailto:haldric2 at lesley.edu>> wrote:
Hello, ATHEN List,

Our office is currently looking into updates and changes for our assistive technology and educational software. We are considering purchasing an Inspiration software package such as WebspirationPRO, Webspiration Classroom, or Inspiration. We are hoping that the visual thinking, organization, and concept mapping aspects are especially useful for students with various types of disabilities. We also see a number of students from the College of Art and Design for whom the creative and aesthetic aspects might be helpful. If you have any experience, insight, or recommendations with the Inspiration brand, I would love to hear from you! Below is an explanation of what we are considering.

Ideally, the specifications we would like to target are

1. The Inspiration suite of tools, images, and document formats - available on WebspirationPRO, Webspiration Classroom, or Inspiration

2. Web-based access from any computer through an account login - available on WebspirationPRO and Webspiration Classroom

3. Volume account licensing for our student base - available on Webspiration Classroom and Inspiration

4. Tools meant for higher education and/or the workplace - available on WebspirationPRO and Webspiration Classroom

5. Options for real time group and collaborative work - available on WebspirationPRO and Webspiration Classroom

By this breakdown, it seems like Webspiration Classroom fits all of our specifications. However, the standard version is Webspiration Classroom Managed. This means that it works much like a Learning Management System such as Blackboard. In addition to the learning tools included with all Inspiration products, it has workflow management tools (instructors posting assignments, students submitting their work, grading, message centers, etc.) and a centralized administrative platform for management of student and teacher accounts.

We wouldn’t really need this type of managed service because we already use Blackboard, and we aren’t really interested in providing accounts for instructors. This would likely cause complications for students, instructors, and tech staff.

There is a Basic vs. Managed option for Webspiration Classroom to consider. With the Basic option, account codes are provided to individual students who then set up and manage their own accounts. This approach lacks the centralized administration and control of the managed option and seems to be a good solution when managing the accounts is less important, but paying for access for students on a volume basis is more important. I understand that the Basic package is not typically offered, but it could work best in this case.

I would like to make the most informed and appropriate purchase choice, and sorting through all of these differences has been interesting. Here are some questins for you.

1. Do any of you work with students using Inspiration brand software?

2. Is Inspiration still usable beyond K - 12?

3. If you use WebspirationPRO or Webspiration classroom, how useful are the features of any time/anywhere access via online login and group and collaborative work?

4. Alternately, are there any other programs for visual learning and outlining that you would recommend?

Thank you all for your consideration and thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you!


Holly Aldrich, M.S., CRC
Disability Access Specialist
Access Services for Students with Disabilities
Lesley University
11 Mellen Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
617.349.8655<tel:617.349.8655> voice
617.349.8544<tel:617.349.8544> TTY
617.349.8558<tel:617.349.8558> fax
haldric2 at lesley.edu<mailto:haldric2 at lesley.edu>

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Nettie T. Fischer, ATP
Assistive Technology Professional
NettieT, ATP Consultants
RESNA Certified
California Certified NPA

Phone: [916] 704-1456
Fax: [916] 686-1860
NOTICE TO RECIPIENT: This communication is intended only for the person or entity to whom it is addressed; the contents of this message may constitute a privileged communication and may be protected by law. If you receive this in error, any review, use, dissemination, distribution, or copying is strictly prohibited. Please notify the sender by return e-mail or by contacting Nettie Fischer at (916) 704-1456<tel:%28530%29%20406-3166> and delete this communication and any attached documents from your system. Thank You

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