Inspiration Software, Inc. develops and publishes visual learning software for educators, students and business professionals. Visual learning is a proven method in which ideas, concepts, data and other information are associated with images and represented graphically. Webs, concept maps, idea maps and plots, such as stack plots and Venn plots, are some of the techniques used in visual learning to enhance thinking and learning skills.


The Oregon-based company's mission is to support improvements in education and make a positive difference in students' lives by providing software tools that help students learn to think. According to market research firm Quality Education Data (QED), a division of Scholastic, Inspiration Software's products are in use in more than 60 percent of U.S. school districts.


Inspiration Software was founded in 1982 by Donald Helfgott and Mona Westhaver. Originally focused on business software products, the company's first product was for the CP/M operating system to help systems analysts build products to meet business needs. Next, the company released a line of products for the Tandy Model 100, the original notebook computer, used primarily by outside sales staff, writers and editors.

In 1987, the focus changed to brainstorming, thinking and organizing tools. The first version of Inspiration was released for the Apple Macintosh in 1988. Subsequent releases included a Windows version, major upgrades and a native Japanese version on both platforms.

1996 brought a significant change - a new focus on developing Inspiration to meet the needs of educators and students. Inspiration 5.0 Education Edition was released in 1997 and was marketed towards grades 6-12. Then, in order to extend visual learning to younger students in kindergarten through 5th grade, Kidspiration was released in January 2001.

Subsequent education versions have followed, with the release of Inspiration 7 in 2002 and Kidspiration 2 in 2004. Also in 2004, Inspiration for Palm OS was released to run on the Palm OS handheld platform. In 2005, Inspiration 7.6 and Kidspiration 2.1 were released to support emerging classroom technologies like interactive whiteboards and Tablet PCs, and Inspiration for Pocket PC was released to run on the Pocket PC handheld platform. In February 2006, Inspiration 8 was released, featuring expanded visual capabilities, increased support for writing and easily accessible resources for curriculum integration.

A new product called InspireData joined the company's visual learning software offerings in July 2006. Originally funded under a grant from the National Science Foundation, InspireData was developed by TERC, a leading educational research and development lab committed to improving mathematics and science teaching and learning, and published by Inspiration Software. Intended for grades 4-12, InspireData is a tool for investigating, manipulating and analyzing data in science, mathematics and social studies.

See alsoEdit


  • 2001 Portland Business Journal [1]
  • 2001 Portland Business Journal [2]
  • 2002 INC 500 [3] and [4]
  • 2002 Portland Business Journal [5]
  • 2003 Portland Business Journal [6]
  • 2003 Portland Business Journal [7]
  • 2005 Portland Business Journal [8]
  • 2007 Portland Business Journal [9]

External linksEdit

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