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Caithness News Bulletins May 2004

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Inspiration to go in every school in Scotland
TAG Learning wins competitive tender worth 350,000 with Learning and Teaching Scotland

TAG Learning has won a competitive tender worth 350,000 to supply mind-mapping software to all Scottish Schools. Learning and Teaching Scotland has taken the decision to put the visual learning tools, Inspiration and Kidspiration, in every school in the country beginning in May 2004, under the terms of a contract funded by the Scottish Executive.

Inspiration and Kidspiration were chosen because they meet the stated criteria. The software tools enable the user to: have an overview of a large subject or area; plan routes and make choices; indicate where one is going and where one has been; gather and hold large amounts of data within a context; encourage problem solving by showing new creative pathways; enable efficiency; enjoy, look at, read, muse over and remember facts and information; attract and hold the eye and brain and see the whole picture and the details at the same time.

Kidspiration 2 is visual learning software that allows younger pupils to improve early literacy skills by expressing themselves visually and recognising the connections between pictures, words and meanings. Inspiration is for slightly older pupils (aged 10+) and can be used right across the curriculum in all subjects for mind mapping, planning, and organising. Both products include tools that allow users to outline, diagram, develop webs or to facilitate pre-writing to help develop thinking skills and structure research or essays.

TAG Learning will be supplying Inspiration version 7.5 and Kidspiration version 2.0 for use in all primary and secondary schools in Scotland (Kidspiration will be used only by pupils in primary schools), as well as by pupils taught at home, teaching staff to use at home, and staff in all local authority education establishments. In addition to the software, schools will receive a comprehensive range of teaching support materials for each product.

Pilar Cloud, Managing Director, TAG Learning said: "We are pleased that TAG Learning has won the tender to supply all Scottish Schools with Inspiration and Kidspiration. These innovated software tools will enable schools to develop thinking, writing and comprehension skills and will allow pupils to express themselves. "

Mona Westhaver, President and co-founder, Inspiration Software Inc said, "We are pleased that TAG Learning has been recognised by Learning and Teaching Scotland as a leading educational software supplier. Pupils will find these tools aid in their development in a fun and informative way."

About Mind Maps:
A mind map is a graphic technique which claims to provide a universal key to unlock the potential of the brain. It harnesses the full range of cortical skills -- word, image, number, logic, rhythm, colour and spatial awareness -- in a single, uniquely powerful manner. The mind map can be applied to every aspect of life where improved learning and clearer thinking will enhance human performance. Originated in the late 1960s by Tony Buzan, mind maps are now used by millions of people around the world, from the very young to the very old, whenever they wish to use their minds more effectively.

About Kidspiration 2
Key new capabilities in Kidspiration 2 give pupils the ability to:
Draw to express thoughts. To support emerging writers, Kidspiration 2 now includes the powerful Symbol Maker drawing tool. Using a simple interface, pupils draw and paint their own symbols. With one click of the mouse, they add these personalised symbols to their visual diagrams extending the ways they can communicate meaning and relationships visually. Add more visual meaning to groups. Two new SuperGrouper capabilities offer additional ways to categorise ideas. Pupils can turn any symbol into a shape that designates a group. For example, a pupil might place items for "school" into a  backpack, rather than a plain circle or box, making the learning activity more engaging and meaningful. Pupils can also build a Venn diagram to illustrate similarities and differences.  Pair words and symbols to make the literacy connection. When pupils switch to Writing View, they now see symbols displayed next to their labels, reinforcing the relationship between words and images. Then they can use the Listen tool to hear the words.

New Resources for Integrating Kidspiration 2 into the Curriculum Two new resources designed to help primary teachers use visual learning to meet curriculum requirements are now available when purchasing 5+ computer licences. A new cross-curricular lesson plan book, "Kidspiration in the Classroom," offers engaging lessons plans for integrating visual learning into the curriculum for pupils age 4-10. "Exploring Kidspiration 2," an interactive CD-ROM, provides step-by-step tutorials to guide educators in using Kidspiration 2 effectively to improve achievement across the curriculum.

About Inspiration 7.5
Use Inspiration across the curriculum for: mind mapping, webbing diagramming, planning, organising, critical thinking, concept mapping, outlining. Hyperlink to other Inspiration documents, other software
applications, files and websites. Add notes right within the diagrams and 'One click' outline view allows pupils and teachers to structure their ideas. One click transfer of diagrams and outline view to Microsoft Word.  Plus diagrams can be exported in HTML, JPEG, BMP or WMF image format. Hide and show feature allows branches to be toggled on and off. 60+ curriculum-rich templates, to get teachers and pupils started. Convert diagrams quickly into a site skeleton for websites. Extensive library of cross-curricular symbols

Teach pupils to clarify thinking, and to process, organise and prioritise information. Compile and sort a wide of range of digital resources into a central Inspiration document. Allows pupils and teachers to begin the writing process. Use Inspiration diagrams in websites, multimedia projects or essays/ reports. Ideal tool for presenting information in stages and as part of a Q&A session. Get teachers and pupils quickly started usingInspiration. Simplify the planning and design of large websites. Visual representation deepens the pupils understanding of concepts and identifies misconceptions.

Purchasing and Upgrading to Kidspiration 2 and Inspiration 7.5 Single copy pricing is 59.95 or 26 for upgrades and special pricing will be available to Schools in Scotland for additional licences.

Through a special introductory offer available until 31st August 2004 schools that upgrade to Kidspiration 2 can save 10% percent. Further savings can be made with volume purchases.

Purchase 5+ computer licences and schools benefit from free teacher take home privileges.
For a free 30-day trial of Kidspiration 2 and Inspiration 7.5 visit www.taglearning.com  or call 01474 357 350 for a free demo CD.

About TAG Learning:
TAG Learning was founded over 15 years ago by educators and has grown to become a leading publisher and supplier of educational software, peripherals, training and support materials into schools in the UK. TAG Learning's focus is on providing the most appropriate solutions for children, teachers and parents, and as a result, has established itself as the unique bridge between traditional learning cultures and new technologies. In 2000, TAG Learning launched an online teacher portal, TagTeacherNet, which has become the indispensable source for teaching resources today. Our aim is to help you use new technology tools most effectively in teaching and learning. We want you to be with us, at the leading edge of learning. For more information about TagTeacherNet visit www.tagteacher.net