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BOARDMAKER
by: Nancie Camarota

What is Boardmaker?
Boardmaker is an incredibly powerful, flexible software program that provides endless possibilities for creating communication displays and educational materials in minutes. This software contains over 3,000 Picture Communication Symbols in color and black & white, and is the basic library for getting you started with making a wide variety of professional-looking materials for home, classroom, or clinic [1]. Boardmaker is recognized as a top tool for educators and speech and language pathologists for creating printed classroom materials such as schedules, worksheets, reading and writing activities, game and song boards, communication boards, books and more [2].


Boardmaker is especially big in special education classrooms because it allows those students that may be non-verbal to communicate with others. Boardmaker is also a tool that is commonly used by parents of autistic children and behavior therapists due to its visual nature. Some children are better able to focus when they have a picture to look at rather than listening to a verbal prompt or command, and this is where Boardmaker comes in. Boardmaker is compatible with both Windows and Macintosh operating systems.

How to use Boardmaker?
The first step in using Boardmaker is to plan out what you want to create. Do you want to create a picture schedule? Will you be using Boardmaker as part of a behavior management program? Are you looking to use Boardmaker as a communication tool? Once you have figured out what purpose your Boardmaker creation will serve, you can get started. Pop the CD-ROM in the drive, and have fun creating!!
  1. Once the software has opened, you can choose to either…
    • open a new board
    • open a saved board
    • open a template – The Boardmaker software already comes equipped with pre-made grids and boards. All you need to do is paste in which symbols you want to use. If this one applies to you, you can skip to #5.
  2. If you a chose open a new board, a blank workspace will open. On the left-hand side of the screen will be a tool pallet. This pallet includes options for writing, drawing, and adding color to your board.
  3. Select the “Button Tool” from the tool pallet. Move the cursor to the blank workspace. Click and drag diagonally to create a button.
  4. If you would like to create multiple buttons of the same size, select the “Button “Sprayer Tool” from the tool pallet. Move the cursor into the center of the button. Click and HOLD DOWN the mouse key. Drag the cursor to the right, and “spray” as many buttons as necessary.
  5. Now that you have your buttons, you can begin to look for your desired symbols. Click on the Boardmaker icon, which looks like a face. This will open the symbol finder. Type in the title of the symbol you are looking for (i.e. story, apple, want).

  6. Once your symbol is selected, press the enter key to place your symbol on the grid. Continue this process until your board is complete [2].



Why should you use Boardmaker?
Boardmaker is the leading software of it's kind. Some features of Boardmaker include:
  • More than 4,500 picture communication symbols in both black-and-white and color
  • More than 300 templates for schedules, device overlays, calendars, song boards, and more
  • 42 languages
  • Option to install country-specific symbols such as holidays, famous people, food and currency
  • Easy to use and quick to learn
  • The ability to Import digital photos and other graphics and easily resize and format [2]

Boardmaker is typically used in conjuction with the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). The Picture Exchange Communication System was developed in 1985 as a unique augmentative/ alternative training package that teaches children and adults with autism and other communication deficits to initiate communication. PECS begins with teaching a student to exchange a picture of a desired item with a teacher, who immediately honors the request. This is the first of 6 phases. The final phase allows the student to comment about things in their environment both spontaneously and in response to a question [3].



Boardmaker is also used as part of a behavior management program. Picture schedules can easily be created on Boardmaker for those children who are unable to focus throughout the day, and need to be warned of changes ahead of time. Token reward system boards can also be created on Boardmaker, as well as social stories.

How are teachers using it?
Teachers are benefiting from Boardmaker everyday. Teachers are using Boardmaker to create schedules, classroom calendars, learning activities, and many other useful items. As stated earlier, teachers are using Boardmaker to get their students to communicate wants and needs, and they are also using Boardmaker in conjunction with augmentative communication devices. Teachers are using Boardmaker to create behavior management tools which only aid in creating a better learning environment for all. Boardmaker can be used with all academic subjects and all levels. Depending on how much the teacher incorporates Boardmaker into his or her classroom, this software program has the possibility of becoming a teacher's best resource.

Resources:
Boardmaker's main web page: http://www.mayer-johnson.com/

Boardmaker Tutorials and Pre-Made Grid Libraries: http://www.aacintervention.com/boardmaker.html

To purchase Boardmaker or to read about customer reviews of Boardmaker, visit:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0001X6I6Q/102-5256339-8808947?v=glance&n=3760901

For printable Boardmaker Templates and links to other related resources, visit: http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/as/boardmakerfiles.html

DynaVox Technologies: http://www.dynavoxsys.com/

For more information on the Picture Exhange Communication System (PECS), visit: http://www.pecs.com/


Citations:

[1] DynaVox Technologies. (n.d.) Boardmaker: easy to use symbol software to create
communication and educational materials. Retrieved July 18, 2006, from
http://www.dynavoxsys.com/Default.aspx?tabid=188

[2] Mayer-Johnson. (n.d.) Boardmaker basic 5 tutorial. Retrieved July 18, 2006, from
http://www.dynavoxsys.com/Default.aspx?tabid=188

[3] Pyramid Educational Consultants. (n.d.) What is PECS: picture communication exchange
system.
Retrieved July 18, 2006, from http://www.pecs.com/WhatsPECS.htm


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ncamaro20
Latest page update: made by ncamaro20 , Jul 19 2006, 2:25 PM EDT (about this update About This Update ncamaro20 Edited by ncamaro20

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Anonymous Comment 0 Jul 25 2006, 5:58 PM EDT by Anonymous
 
Thread started: Jul 25 2006, 5:58 PM EDT  Watch
Nancie i think you did a great job on your Wiki page. i have used Boardmaker before and I really like it. I hope to use it more in the future with the students in my own classroom.
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Krolszew Boardmaker 0 Jul 23 2006, 3:23 PM EDT by Krolszew
Thread started: Jul 23 2006, 3:23 PM EDT  Watch
I think you did a great job covering all of the important aspects Boardmaker has to offer. I used it with a nonverbal student in a daycare setting and really saw the benefits of it. Thanks for the great info!
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erinsmith22 comments 0 Jul 23 2006, 11:49 AM EDT by erinsmith22
Thread started: Jul 23 2006, 11:49 AM EDT  Watch
I'm really interested in boardmaker and I think it would be great to use espcially with special ed students. I think your pictures and informtion were great and throughly explained your topic. However, check out noodletools.com that helps with citations in apa format. Erin
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