Jeff Carruthers
Eastern Passage Education Centre


Inspiration is a visual learning software application. It allows you and the students to present information in a graphical way. Studies show that with visual learning techniques "students see how ideas are connected and realize how information can be grouped or organized."

We will use Inspiration to display a brainstorm of 5-6 different car manufacturers.
B. We will use Inspiration to display a brainstorm of 3 different models of cars each manufacturer makes.

Getting Started:
Open the program. An icon will be on the desktop or find it through the Start menu and Programs.
- When you open the program it automatically chooses a starting point for you. You should see a shape with the text Main Idea as a title within the shape. See below.


- The program also opens a  toolbar that shows basic shapes. We will look at this toolbar later.
- Let's rename the shape to "Manufacturers" by clicking in the shape and highlighting the text and typing our new title.
- You can resize your shape by selecting any of the red points and stretching the shape. It acts just like a text box that you might use in any of the Microsoft Applications: Word, PowerPoint, etc..
- Now we can get started!

Tools to use:
Use the tool bar and the arrows to find and select a better shape than the one given to represent our Brainstorm topic. Notice you can scroll through the pages using the left and right arrows or you can select the down arrow and you can select a topic.

- To add a manufacturer, use the Create Option on the top task bar to add a new shape, select which direction you want the shape to come from the main idea. You can drag and rearrange the shapes later. You must have the main idea selected to have the shapes link with each other.

- To add more manufacturers select the main idea and follow the above step until you have 5 different manufacturers.

- To change all the shapes for each manufacturer, select each by clicking on the shape and holding down the shift key. Choose a new shape.

- Since they are all selected, under Format , bold, resize and select a new font.

- You may also want to change the colour of the shapes, right click on any of the shapes and select Fill/Line and then choose exactly what you would like to change.

- Next brainstorm 3 different models of vehicle for each manufacturer and add them to your graphic.

- Use colour, font, and shapes to make your brainstorm look good.

-You can see examples from the Inspiration website if you want to get ideas.

Saving Your Work:
If you save your work, it saves it as an .INS file, a format specifically for Inspiration. When you reopen the file you can edit it and make your changes.

Exporting Your Work to other Programs:
You may want to use your chart in a PowerPoint presentation or place it in a Word document .You have to save it in a different way. Under the File menu, choose Export and select the format you want. Jpeg or Bitmap files can easily be placed in other programs. This .INS file has just become a picture file that you cannot edit.

Other Formats:
Under the View Option on the top task bar, you may choose Outline. Try it now. This may be of some use to you. You can even create your own chart from this view.


Useful Links:

Inspiration Site

Inspiration Site-Curriculum Integration

How I use it.
Students classify substances based on properties that they can observe and create a classification chart using Inspiration. The chart can be saved as a picture which is placed into a webpage that each lab group creates.

View student's work last year.