21st Century Skills


21st Century Skills

Inspiration® Software's visual thinking and learning tools prepare students for the 21st century and today—developing the skills necessary to grasp essential concepts, create new knowledge, think critically and adapt to a constantly evolving world. Based on proven strategies, Inspiration®, Kidspiration®, Webspiration Classroom™ and InspireData® help students develop and gather ideas, organize thoughts, analyze and interpret information, clarify understanding and communicate clearly– all key 21st century skills that expand students' ability to achieve success across all subject areas and throughout their adult lives.


21st Century Learning and Technology Standards
Focus on 21st Century Skills Special Report
How Digital Tools Prepare Students for the 21st Century White Paper



21st Century Learning and Technology Standards

Learn how Inspiration Software tools align with AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learners and ISTE National Education Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S):


Click to see the table


Note: AASL and ISTE do not endorse the content or validity of these alignments.




EnGauge 21st Century Skills: Literacy in the Digital Age report, www.metiri.com/features.html

Section on Visual Literacy – "Visualization tools enable students to make their thinking visible in all academic areas. Students are able to build interactive models to test theories in real time and use graphics to display results. Graphic organizers and visual mapping tools enable students to make sense of complex subjects by exploring linkages, relationships, similarities and differences between phenomena, and visually representing interplay among system components. The software packages Inspiration, Stella and SemNet are three excellent examples of such tools." (Lynn & His, 2000)


Applying Big 6 Skills, AASL Standards and ISTE NETS to Internet Research, Janet Murray, www.janetsinfo.com/big6info.htm - Graph showing how graphic organizers created with Inspiration meet AASL standard 1.2.1 and ISTE NETS 4a and 4b.

Multimedia Technologies and Familiar Spaces: 21st-Century Teaching for 21st-Century Learners, Lambert, Judy (University of Toledo) and Pru Cruper (Keene State College), Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (CITE) Volume 8 Issue 3, 2008.

"Thought processing software such as Inspiration and Kidspiration can be used as both a teaching and learning tool… The students will use critical thinking skills when using technologies such as Inspiration. It allows students to create their own knowledge and organize their concepts into ways they understand. I see it as a very valuable tool in the classroom because creating knowledge is vital to the learning process."

It's All About Educationally-Appropriate Software, Norris, Cathleen and Soloway, Elliott, District Administration, January 2010

"What 21st-century software, then, do K12 teachers and students use?... What about concept-mapping tool (aka graphic organizer, mind mapper) Inspiration? One could well argue that concept mapping is an important 21st century skill supported by this application made by Inspiration Software. But one application isn't enough to create a 21st-Century work environment."

Junior Seahawk Academy: Working With 21st Century Technology Tools, Reid-Griffin, Angelia and Slaten, Kelli, Meridian Computer Technologies Journal, Volume 12, Issue 1, 2009, www.ncsu.edu.

"InspireData aids in the development of data literacy skills. Students are able to enhance their "inquiry skills by collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data in science, math and social studies" (Courtnage, Cuff, & Reynolds, 2007, p. 4). The software tool makes it easier for students to identify patterns and trends in data. InspireData offers users a better understanding of the data and how to use it to make decisions. As Gunter (2007) stated in a review of this tool it indeed helps students to become data-literate by allowing them to "access, assess, manipulate, summarize, and present data" (p. 1). Currently, InspireData addresses only the standards and learning of three content areas: science, mathematics, and social studies. It enables users to perform statistical data analysis as they conduct investigations and make informed decisions as they learn to think about data from a global perspective. InspireData provides a platform for students to see beyond the data and become informed global citizens ready for the 21st century workplace."




Special Reports and White Papers


Focus on 21st Century Skills


The importance of mastering 21st century skills —including organizing and interpreting information and data, thinking critically, problem-solving and communicating—is emerging as a critical teaching goal for K-12 institutions. As the nature of employment continues to change, many educators, business executives and policy makers feel that classroom instruction must evolve in order to adequately prepare young people for the workforce.

To meaningfully integrate these 21st century skills into their existing lessons, many teachers use Inspiration, Kidspiration and InspireData software. With Kidspiration for grades K-5 and Inspiration for grades 6 to adult, students use graphic organizers to visually represent information and ideas. Using graphic organizers is a proven strategy for gathering ideas, analyzing information, thinking critically and organizing communications—all key 21st century skills. Kidspiration 3 also includes visual math tools to support conceptual understanding in mathematics. With InspireData, students organize, manipulate and interpret data with dynamic graphs and plots.

Download a PDF of the full report



How Digital Tools Prepare Students for the 21st Century

The United States currently ranks seventeenth in the world on tests assessing science and math knowledge and skills, teachers report teaching science two or fewer days per week, and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that by the year 2016, the United States will need an additional 15,600,000 information sector workers.

Find out how digital tools like Inspiration and InspireData can help you address these concerns by teaching students to visually represent ideas, information and data in a way that improves their ability to identify or formulate problems, think critically, and draw conclusions – all key 21st century skills. Research and real-world success stories provide a framework for applying these tools to everyday classrooms and learning objectives.


White Paper: How Digital Tools Prepare Students for the 21st Century

Download this research-based white paper today!

“The best learning occurs when real world problems are paired with real world tools for problem solving. As technology is an integral part of 21st century students’ realities, these tools need to be digital to be relevant.”

Educator Feedback on "How Digital Tools Prepare Students for the 21st Century"

"Visual learning is the most effective tool for a teacher. Abstract math concepts become so much more vivid when students use Inspiration and InspireData. This paper is absolutely correct on the memory retention of students when you use visual mapping."

Telannia Norfar
Algebra I Instructor
9th Grade Academy
Northwest Classen High School