Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Kidspiration 2

Kidspiration 2

Fall 2004 Software
Ages: 5 - 11 yrs.
Price: $69.00
Platform: Windows/ MAC
If your child requires the attention-grabbing artwork and flashy story lines that have become the hallmark of edu-tainment software, pass up this organizational thinking, logic and creativity program. It's going to look as Spartan as a textbook. Okay, a textbook on steroids.

But if your little Einstein craves quantum challenges in his or her school tools that really can assist in goosing the thought process up a notch, Kidspiration--the little brother of the higher-grades "Inspiration"--just might hit the intellectual spot. And in a classroom setting, with a smart teacher behind the steering wheel, this gray-matter fueler no doubt gets even better mileage.

Kidspiration isn't locked into any particular curriculum, and its grade levels span all elementary school years. Essentially it is a hands-on, visual, brainstorming and outlining workshop for comprehending and writing assignments, or for just exploring topics. In practical terms, it's an enriching tool for everything from planning research projects to recognizing connectivity of ideas and subjects.

You've heard the saying a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, here kids are encouraged to illustrate their thoughts from sets of picture stamps and icons. Using the mind-mapping webs that create and connect concepts, kids can learn better to synthesize, analyze and evaluate. Sorting, categorizing, organizing and rethinking are the mental muscles the program builds as ideas are wrung-out, reworked, kneaded and raised, and finally translated into a more comprehensive written form, such as a journal, report or project.

And that's the difference in this new version: It packs more of the writing punch than before--including easier-to-use toggling between the outlines, visual concepts and written work in progress, and double the templates that guide types of writing project. For even semi-serious students, this program can reshape linear thinking into a dynamic that'll leave teachers eyes wide open when grading written projects.

Don Oldenburg   ©2004 Parents' Choice
A former writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is a freelance writer, editorial consultant and coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The father of three sons, he lives with them and wife, Ann, a writer at USA Today, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Online Retailers
Inspiration Software, Inc.

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