Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Kidspiration 3

Kidspiration 3 will be released tomorrow. I am sure you were all sitting on the edge of your seat and waiting for the day to arrive. I know announcement came out 2-3 weeks ago but before I wrote about it I wanted to take the software through some paces. If you are running Kidspiration 2 = Do the UPGRADE. $39.95. If you don't already own still worth the price of $69.00

Kidspiration is a visual mapping tool for written expression. It is a wonderful tool to teach a student on how to create a paragraph from individual sentences and organize the sentences into a complete paragraph. The software was upgraded to 3,000+ symbols to give students visual support in core academic areas. Hands down the increased symbol library makes creating visual supports for students easy. One of my favorite aspects of this software is that a student can create their own symbol (symbol maker) for personalizing meaning. This can be done by drawing or using the black outline symbols that the student can tailor to their individual.

The new improvements to the program in the visual mapping aspect of the software:

NEW Sight vocabulary for the Dolch and Fry word list. Each entry includes definitions, recorded speech for pronunciation, synonyms and antonyms, parts of speech and sample sentences. Word Guide pairs 1,400 words with images to enhance word recognition and comprehension. This feature makes it worth the purchase price. It allows the student to see and hear definitions and a graphic to represent the word. For students that struggle with reading comprehension this makes reading easier.

Improved: One of the improvements that were needed was a longer recording to time. This allows you to create personalize audio directions in your own voice for students. For students that struggle with writing, this is a fast and easy way for students to get their ideas out because they can dictate their ideas into the visual mapping. The recording is very easy to use.

Transfer to word processor: This was an added feature in Kidspiration 2. It is still worth a mention because many do not use this feature. It allows a student to write their sentences or paragraph in Kidspiration and transfer it to word for the final draft.

Now the features that I am most confused about are the new Math aspect of the software. Kidspiration always had a math aspect but it has exploded in this new version. When I think of Kidspiration the Math isn’t the subject that I think of. The math features are excellent additions to the software but why add it to a piece of software that is already underutilized in schools. The argument can be made that this may encourage increased use of the software.

It cannot be said that they did a bad job at creating the templates and the math aspect of the software. Everything that they added can be used for elementary level students in K-4 but the question has to be asked why not create a separate math tool.

The company took a leap of faith last year when the begun their expansion into the math world with Inspirdata. Is the new feature, the company’s feelers for the market of math? If it is, smart move on their part to test the waters and get feedback before launching a full fledge software package for math.

Kidspiration new concepts help students build number sense and spatial reasoning. Math has moved beyond just being numbers. Students now need to explain how they worked their way to the answer. The software allows teachers to create visual representatives for math problems and create visual steps to how to solve the problem.

The areas that the math features focus on are the core conceptual foundations that students need. The areas are counting, place value, computation and geometric thinking. Now for differential instruction or UDL this allows students of all abilities to access the concepts of math. A student can be working on counting, another on one to one correspondence, and another on matching shapes or numbers. If a teacher can think outside of the actual label of the activities they present to the class it can be an awesome tool for all learners.

Directly from website

Kidspiration Color Tiles™Students use Kidspiration Color Tiles to count and compare, explore properties of number and operations and develop computation strategies. With Kidspiration Color Tiles, students learn to solve area and perimeter problems and model number patterns and the four basic operations.

Kidspiration Pattern Blocks™Students use Kidspiration Pattern Blocks to investigate the properties and attributes of shapes through composition and decomposition. They produce patterns and tessellations, explore similarity and congruence, experiment with symmetry and represent fractions.

Kidspiration Base Ten Blocks™ Students use Kidspiration Base Ten Blocks to understand place value and strengthen number sense. With Kidspiration Base Ten Blocks, they count, compare, group, partition and create equivalent representations of whole numbers and decimals. Kidspiration Base Ten Blocks also introduce students to procedures for operations on multi-digit numbers.

Kidspiration Fraction TilesStudents use Kidspiration Fraction Tiles to compare and order fractions and to understand equivalent fractions. They find common denominators; translate between improper fractions and mixed numbers and model basic operations with fractions.

Kidspiration Fraction Boxes™Students use Kidspiration Fraction Boxes to represent fractions visually to build a strong conceptual foundation for future work with fractions. Students compare, order, simplify and find equivalent fractions. They use Kidspiration Fraction Boxes to model basic operations with like and unlike denominators. Kidspiration Fraction Boxes also introduce students to improper fractions, mixed numbers and representing word problems.
Kidspiration Fraction Boxes are a dynamic fraction building tool using denominators up to 36. To build fractions, students set the number of parts and use colors and patterns to represent "parts of a whole" clearly. Students align boxes to model numbers greater than one and to compare fractions.

1 comment:

Samuel said...

Thanks for the review.