Idea Generator


        When a student is stuck and is not coming up with new ideas, idea generators can help "un-stuck" them. With this tool, student enter in key words or a heading and the software looks for terms that are like that. A user can then look at the associated terms that may provided them with concepts to explore or write about. Other apps and assistive technologies may also help students to generate ideas, such as story builders or templates. Some researchers have begun to study idea generation, but at the time of writing research is limited. 

Research Rating: There is limited research on this topic, though the research that has been completed is experimental in nature.


  • Many individuals with learning disabilities have difficulty with idea generation and these programs can help to circumvent these difficulties

  • Can promote independence and increase quantity of written work


  • May be difficult to pair with other assistive technology programs 

  • May not be appropriate for every student 

To Consider

  • Consider trialling students on idea generators before committing to them

Exact prices change frequently, which is why only approximate ranges are listed. 

$ - Under $5

$$ - Between $6 and $50

$$$ - Between $51 and $250

$$$$ - Over $250



Crossley, S. A., Muldner, K., & McNamara, D. S. (2016). Idea generation in student writing: Computational assessments and links to successful writing. Written Communication, 33, 328-354. 


Dunn, M. (2015). Struggling writers' use of iPad art and text apps for storytelling. Canadian Journal of Action Research, 16, 6-21. 


Gordon, H. H. (1988). Generating ideas for original sentences. College Composition and Communication, 39, 83-84.

Written by Francis Wall, Last Revision May 2018

Academic Intervention Lab

Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto, ON M5S 1V6, Canada

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