Training in Inspirations without mentioning Dyslexia

This week I have run 2 training sessions on the use of Inspirations (mind mapping software), and on both occasions I have made no reference to disability or dyslexia until the very end of the session. A lot of people associate this software with Dyslexia (and the origins of the software is in this area) – however the key point that I am trying to promote at the moment is that it can be used by any learner, not just those with disabilities. As I have gone through the session, I have shown the educational benefits of the software and how it can be integrated into teaching, and it is only at the end of the session, that I mentioned the fact that as well as being useful for all learners, it will (can) very much help those with dyslexia.

The buzz from staff at the end of the sessions, has also been very positive as they have been very excited with what it can do.

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Uploading an Inspirations output to Blackboard

Today I ran a training session at a college on the use of Inspirations today, and as part of the session I tried to upload an output to their VLE (Blackboard), which pleasingly worked really well.

I created an inspirations mind map, which included Hyperlinks to other files, I then exported this to HTML, which created a folder and a file. These I places into another folder, which I zipped, and this I uploaded to Blackboard and unpackaged. The end result is on Blackboard I am presented with a visual representation of the Mind Map, and clicking on the branches opens the files that I had hyperlinked to. The advantages of this is if uploading many files (more than about 3) it would be quicker than uploading the files to Blackboard individually, but more importantly it allows me to arrange the resources visually, rather than in the linear list that you normally get.

And the other beauty is that the learners wouldn’t need Inspirations software on their computer to access it. I haven’t tried this with other VLEs yet (e.g. Moodle) but will do very shortly.

‘To Deny or Not to Deny Disability’

I have been a lot of work recently on projects involving disabled people, and whilst trying to explain to someone the differences between the social model and the medical model of disability, it reminded me about a resource that I used to use in my teaching, written by Vic Finklestein, where in a short story (link below), he turns a village upside down, so that wheelchair users are the majority, and a single non-wheelchair user is the exception, and in so doing highlights the Social model of disability brilliantly, an excellent resource for anyone working in this area.

To Deny or Not to Deny Disability

Truetube

Whilst researching for a training session that I am running next week, I came across this site.

http://www.truetube.co.uk/index.html

From what I can make out, the idea is that the site encourages debate by using video clips as a starter for the discussion. It is trying really hard to be a ‘safe to use’ site, targetting the educational community. For certain subjects, this could be a superb resource.

Screen shot of Truetube

Locating free wi- hotspots

Many coffee shops, pubs, public spaces etc are realising the benefits of offering free internet access. I for one do a lot of travelling, and although I have a 3G modem, in certain places this isn’t fast enough, so am often looking for a coffee shop with wi-fi access. This website can help locate them

http://www.jiwire.com/

Now obviously this only works if you have checked this out before arriving at a town, otherwise you would need to find an internet connection to locate other internet connections.