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Improving organisational skills for writing with Inspiration

Tags: Effective pedagogy | English | Interactive/thinking tools | Presentation | Lower secondary | Secondary |

Students used Inspiration to help clarify ideas, express and justify opinions, and support their presentations. 

“Our school regularly reviews the way technology is embedded in effective learning and teaching.”
eLPF 2014

Teaching and Learning

A year nine English class was involved in an English unit based on an English online unit titled, "Survival of the Fittest", which was chosen to tap into the students' interest in the reality television "Survivor" series.

Choosing the tool

The teacher wanted a tool to help students clarify ideas, express and justify opinions about survival, and in some cases, help them produce a presentation based on the characteristics of a survivor and the comparison with a real-life situation. The teacher had used Inspiration before, and found it a valuable tool to help develop students' ideas. Inspiration is an education technology software that supports visual thinking techniques, enabling students to easily create and update graphic organizers, concept maps, and idea maps.


The teacher used Inspiration and a data projector to introduce the unit to the class, and to gather ideas to revisit later. The software allowed students to offer ideas to be recorded in real time using the 'rapid-fire' mode, where new ideas are automatically linked to a main idea. Students also took turns in leading and recording ideas with the class.

Sorting ideas and linking to external files

In groups and with the whole class, students continued to clarify and express ideas, recording and developing them with Inspiration. They were easily able to sort their ideas into groups.

The teacher also used the hyperlink option to link to a current news (video) item. The video played automatically, when clicked, in the Inspiration document.

Main screen – linking ideas

Inspiration was used to outline and demonstrate the student task. The outline of the task was able to be displayed, and ideas from the students were connected to the individual items using the "link" tool.

Student use as a presentation tool

Some reluctant writers in the class were offered the use of Inspiration to motivate them to complete the task. One student used it to map out his survivor assignment. He inserted graphics and used the "notes" window to add ideas. He used this as his presentation to the class.

Student outcomes

  • The students enjoyed taking on the role of teacher, using Inspiration as the focus tool.
  • Reluctant writers were more motivated to complete tasks with Inspiration.
  • Students liked the way they were able to add interactive elements and other media to their work.

Software types

Find out more about the software types used in this snapshot.

Interactive/thinking tool