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From middle school on, students are asked to gather, prioritize, and synthesize information for research papers, oral reports, and group projects. This multistep process is frequently overwhelming for students with learning disabilities and attentional difficulties who often have trouble organizing information.

"Webs" or "concept maps" can help these students organize information and ideas. These visual outlines often appeal to students who feel constrained by the linear nature of text. When creating concept maps with pencil and paper, however, students can get frustrated with the "messiness" of this dynamic process -- particularly as the shape and structure of their webs change.

Now a set of computer-software tools are available that provide these students with the flexibility they need to effectively use concept mapping and outlining strategies.

Inspiration in outline format (1586 bytes)One tool that has generated great interest on NCIPnet is Inspiration, a software program that enables students to easily create and revise concept maps and convert these maps to standard outlines, or vice versa.

Inspiration is a software tool that helps students organize information into both "webs" or "concept maps" and standard outlines.  Inspiration in web format (1777 bytes)

For more information about how some teachers are incorporating  Inspiration into the curriculum, read on.

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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998. 

ŠEducation Development Center, Inc.