Today I was called into a Middle School to do some training with teachers on Inspiration to help support a student with writing and reading comprehension difficulties. Last year I had done a comprehensive assistive technology evaluation and had made the recommendation to the Child Study Team that the student would benefit greatly from using Inspiration on a computer as a pre-writing strategy and to help him to better understand and retain information. When I went into the school today I decided to take a little different tact and worked with the teachers on getting them comfortable with Webspiration. Since all of the teachers did not have Inspiration installed on thier laptops I figured why not try Webspiration a tool that they could use not only with this student but with the entire class. There are lots of advantages to using Webspiration if you are teacher, most notably, you can access your graphic organizers from any computer connected to the internet and you can jointly share your webs and templates with others.
During this short session we were able to create a graphic organizer on the "scientific method" as well as add graphics from the library. We also had a chance to add notes and to look at some of the templates that come with Webspiration. The "aha" moment didn't come until I showed them how they could share their files with others. Within minutes teachers were collaborating with one another and could see just how easy it was for them to share their graphic organizers with the identified student who would need this to support his learning. It was a rell eye opener for them to also learn that the student could then access these files and open them with Inspiraiton 8 which he has installed on his laptop computer.
I had a chance to work directly with the student and showed him how to access these shared files that some of his teachers had shared with him in Webspiration. He quickly grasped how to use Webspiration and was taught how to download the files he needed so that he could use some of the other supports that were only found in Inspiration 8, Text to Speech, and the Word Guide. Using the Listen Tool the student was able to click on any symbol on the screen to hear the text being read. Likewise I also showed him how to turn on the Talking Interface which would then allow him to have the computer read the definitions in the Word Guide.
Having the ability of the teachers and the student to have access to Webspiration really was very empowering. I will be going back to the district in a couple of weeks to do a follow training to see how everything is going. In the interim please take a look at Webspiration and see how you can begin to use it with the students that you work with.