Systems of Support Supporting Educator Excellence through Technology and Strategy

Monthly Archives: November 2007

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Free Virtual Magnifying Glass

I’m all about free software, so when a friend showed me the virtual magnifying glass 3.3 and told me it was free, I knew I would have to hurry and post it for everyone to see. I’ve posted a screen shot from the website below. As you can see it’s just like having a magnifying glass to hold over your computer. I prefer it over the built in magnifier that Windows provides. I should note that this is only for Windows (98-XP) and Linux. Sorry Mac users. Download your copy at by Clicking Here.


Did You Know Video

Okay, so anyone who thinks technology isn’t important in education should watch this video by Karl Fisch  and Scott McLeod ( It’s a bit lengthy, so be sure you have a few minutes to watch.

Free Graphical Organizer

Graphical Organizers are great tools for students who require additional supports with written expression, comprehension, and many other areas across the curriculum.

When thinking of graphical organizer software, the first item that comes to mind is Inspiration or Kidspiration ( Other similar software includes Spark-Space and the new fact mapper that is a component of Read and Write Gold version 8.0 and above. All of these programs are great, but purchasing a site license for Read and Write Gold or paying $60-$70 a copy for an Inspiration or Kidspiration can add up quickly. That is why I wanted to devote this post to tell everyone about a free alternative to pricey graphical organizer programs.

Cmap Tools from the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition ( allows users the benefits of graphical organizer software without the price tag. Granted, the program isn’t as user friendly as some of its competitors and may not sport as many pictures, but overall the software performs the majority of tasks as other programs and then some. For example, Cmap Tools not only allows you to create your own concept maps, but also allows you to look at thousands of other users who chose to share their concept maps through the program.

Take a look at it and see what you think. It may take some getting used to, but I think it will pay off in the end.