Product: Webspiration Classroom Service

Product: Webspiration Classroom Service Retail price: Individual educator pricing starts at $19 for five months; volume pricing available for school subscriptions with more than 40 accounts.

By Carol S. Holzberg

Webspiration Classroom is the Web 2.0 version of Inspiration’s popular brainstorming, visual thinking, and outlining learning tool. This Flash-based subscription service provides Web-based concept mapping, diagramming, and outlining for students in grades five through 12.

Quality and Effectiveness: The collection of more than 1,400 pictures can easily make abstract ideas more concrete and help link prior knowledge to new concepts. Kinesthetic learners will appreciate how interactive the process of creating diagrams can be with the use of the service’s many tools. Developing writers will value Webspiration’s help in organizing, sorting, arranging, rearranging, and revising connections in existing work.

Ease of Use: Users familiar with Inspiration won’t have any trouble transitioning to the Web-based Webspiration Classroom. Teachers and students new to Webspiration Classroom will appreciate its many training videos.

Creative Use of Technology: The service is optimized for sharing work. Several users can work on a document simultaneously without their edits conflicting. Inspirationlike tools add symbols and pictures from external files, link ideas, insert hyperlinks, and create outlines. The built-in chat function permits synchronous discussion, and a builtin Message Center lets users send and receive messages. Teachers can post assignments to a special Assignments folder that all students can access.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: Though Webspiration documents are stored in the cloud, they remain private unless they are shared. Documents created in the service may be downloaded from the Web for use in Inspiration or Microsoft Word. Teachers can easily develop and distribute assignments; receive completed work from students; review and comment on work received; and return work to students, complete with feedback, in a timely manner. As Webspiration is Flash based, there is currently no app for iPad.

Top Features

¦ Inspiration provides good training resources.

¦ Students can work independently or collaborate on group projects.

¦ Teachers can create and distribute and provide timely feedback.

Overall Rating

Webspiration, like its sister application, Inspiration, is an excellent tool for brainstorming, planning, organizing, and writing.