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The Mind's Eye: Inspiring Deaf Learners

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Inspiration 9 is a sophisticated thinking tool with many useful features so users can:

• Build up ideas and add images and symbols
• Link to multimedia files, websites
• Outline View provides a linear essay plan
which can be exported into Word
• Use the spell checker (UK spellings)
• Use the Word Guide, an on-the-spot
dictionary/thesaurus tool
• Export documents to a learning platform as
PDFs
• Start work on an iPad and then transfer it to
a laptop, export to the cloud or memory stick
.

Mind Mapping is a very visual approach to information. Often people see it as a tool for brainstorming or for exam revision. It is a very effective way for teachers to provide an overview of a new topic so pupils can see relationships between different parts.

At Mary Hare Grammar School they use Inspiration in many of their lessons. It is a school for profoundly deaf children in Berkshire. It is an auditory/oral school where children use written and spoken English all the time. Pupils often start the school with language delay or with a more limited vocabulary than other children of their age so staff aim to make text as accessible as possible.

'Inspiration is brilliant,' said Lesley White, Literacy Co-ordinator at Mary Hare. 'We have a site licence and all our teachers use it. In fact, Inspiration is on every computer in the school.' Teachers can create a mind map for a subject which has all the core vocabulary and key ideas in a simple visual form. Children can see the structure of what they are studying instead of having to work through text heavy material. But if the staff are good Inspiration users, the pupils are often even better. 'They can become very creative in their use of mind mapping. Some of our students are outstanding users they can make lots of notes in Inspiration, with illustrations from the web or clip art files to act as pegs. This helps them to structure their writing and create a text outline.'

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