Students and staff in the Community Integration through Co-operative Education (CICE) Program at Georgian College, in Ontario, Canada have been using Inspiration since the program began in September, 2011. CICE is designed specifically for higher education students with unique and diverse learning challenges, such as Developmental Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Brain Injuries and Downs Syndrome. Having seen the benefits of using Inspiration to brainstorm and organize thoughts, the college recognizes the software as essential to everyday learning.
Fernanda works at Georgian College in the CICE Program as a Learning & Adaptive Technology Facilitator & Faculty, supporting students with diverse learning challenges in using assistive technology. Having used Inspiration in a previous role, Fernanda knew the value it would add to the CICE program, as well as to the college community more widely.
“We have tried several of the free “apps” or web-based programs with students (just to give them a try) but we always come back to Inspiration. Our students use Inspiration on a daily basis. They would be devastated if it was no longer available to them.”
Fernanda recognizes some of the benefits of Inspiration on Georgian College:
Inspiration encourages visual learning through the use of mind maps, concept maps, outlining, webbing and more: “The visual components of Inspiration (mind maps, colour-coding, images, icons, etc.) assist students who benefit from visual ways of conceptualizing. Using Inspiration allows students who have difficulty expressing their ideas using words alone, the opportunity to map out their ideas visually.”
Organisation and time saving
Inspiration assists with the initial stages of mapping out ideas for projects, which are then easily viewed using the Presentation tool, or transferred to Microsoft Word format: “the rapid-fire tool will be used at the beginning stages of an assignment to help students get ideas out. Graphic organizers and mind maps within Inspiration will be used to identify major themes or key concepts. There are so many great templates to choose from, depending on the learning at hand.”
Staff can use the software to assist with visual learning and supplement their teaching, like CICE Core Faculty who design assignments to include a graphic organizer, mind map or outline using Inspiration. “Mind mapping has also been suggested by Georgian’s Centre for Teaching and Learning department as an alternate way to organize course syllabi”, meaning staff can utilise the software to organise their lessons and visually connect assignments and learning outcomes, as well as see pathways between different courses within a program.
Access to students
Use of Inspiration is not limited to students in the CICE program. The software is made available to all Georgian College students in their Adaptive Technology labs, as well as for easy home access with the same login. Also, “students who are eligible for the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) and qualify for the Bursary for Students with Disabilities may receive assistance with purchasing the program for their personal computers. We also have the program for sale in our campus bookstore for students to purchase.”“
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