Mind mapping software is a great way to eliminate barriers to learning. This is an often-faced challenge for special needs students and their teams of parents, teachers and aides. Inspiration 9 mind mapping software allows you to structure your thoughts in a visual map.
If you are currently using Inspiration 9 software (or know someone who does) to create simple mind maps, read on…here are five tips to customise this software specifically for special needs users.
Tip 1: Eliminate issues of visual stress
It’s very common for students with Specific Learning Difficulties to suffer from visual stress, particularly when working with a white canvas. To eliminate this, Inspiration 9 gives students the ability to easily customise the colour palette and choose a background colour they’re more comfortable with.
Simply right-click on the mouse and choose ‘Background Colour’ to create a softer backdrop.
Tip 2: Re-discover the locations of Notes
As a default in Inspiration 9, once you click away from a note the notes icon will disappear. This can sometimes disorientate a student once they has several notes associated with different symbols. This results in the question, “Which symbols actually have notes?”
To keep notes permanently in view, go to View -> Quick Controls -> Always Show. This will permanently show all the notes icons.
Tip 3: Use audio with Text-to-Speech
This built-in feature of Inspiration 9 allows text associated with symbols and notes to be read back to the user. This is great for auditory learners and students looking to work at their own pace. To use text-to-speech, just click on the following button in the main toolbar:
If the student can’t see the “Listen” icon, enable it by having him go to Utility -> Preferences -> Audio Tool and then click ‘Listen Tool’.
Tip 4: Quickly capture ideas using the Record Sound tool
This tool is a great quick ‘ideas’ capture tool for students who are reluctant writers or suffer from limited memory capacity issues. Each recording can last up to 60 seconds and is attached to a specific symbol.
To enable this feature go to: Utility -> Preferences–> Audio Tool and the click ‘Record Sound’. To add a recording to a symbol, right click on the mouse and choose Insert Video or Sound -> Record Sound.
Tip 5: Use the “Help” videos
It isn’t uncommon for a student to be burning the midnight oil on an assignment and get stuck on how to use a particular feature in Inspiration–but their tutor isn’t awake or available! Help is at hand, though, in the form of over sixty short video tutorials included with Inspiration 9.
Focused on specific features of Inspiration (e.g. ‘Using the RapidFire Tool’), these resources are available within the software. As long as students are online, they can access these 2-minute videos by going to ‘Learn to Use’ in the starter menu and choosing ‘Training Videos’.
We hope you find these tips useful and this has given you a flavour of the more powerful benefits of using this really productive application…watch this space for future instalments.