User Tip: On the Go with Boardmaker Software Family

by lisakehoe 6. November 2009 10:25
Boardmaker Software Family for the Itinerant Professional

Are you a wanderer?
Do you:
•…eat lunch in your car?
•…have a trunk full of materials?
•…have students to see by region?
•…sign in at the location you visit?
•... visit at least 3 homes or schools per day?
•…carry a bag or pull cart?

A survey shows that itinerant professionals need the following:
•A central, accessible place to keep materials
•Activities that are easily adaptable to different students so that they only need to be made once
•Parent friendly materials that they can be generalized or used in the home/community environments

Let Boardmaker Software Family meet the needs of itinerant professionals!

KEY WORD: ACCESSIBLE is a free board sharing website with over 20,000 members. You can use a sophisticated search engine to search for print and on-screen, interactive activities and download directly to your computer! In addition you can network with other professionals through discussion forums and groups and can get informed through the News & Views section of the site. You no longer need to reinvent the wheel when creating activities with the Boardmaker Software Family!


The Print Editor is designed to save practitioners time. With the Print Editor, you can modify and print Boardmaker print boards found on No CD is needed – just use any computer with an internet connection and access and modify your print boards.

Boardmaker Plus Player delivers interactive, on-screen activities to students. Students can use the activities created with Boardmaker Plus or on-screen activities downloaded from AdaptedLearning. Boardmaker Plus Player is offered as a CD version or by subscription.


Mobile Activity Player utilizes all of these resources and lets you share adapted activities with all of your students for go-anywhere learning!

Put them all together to create an effective service plan.

Be a smart wanderer! Let these resources work for you.

Now Available! - Mobile Activity Player

by lisakehoe 6. November 2009 10:05

Introducing the Mobile Activity Player!
Interactive Learning: Where and When you Need It

A mobile platform for bringing exciting adapted interactive activities to your students. The Mobile Activity Player is a small, highly portable touchscreen computer that is ideal for your ever changing classroom and student needs. Preloaded with Boardmaker Plus Player and three Curriculum Companions the MAP is ready-to-use right out of the box.

Learn More


Feature Article: Mayer-Johnson is now Tweeting!

by lisakehoe 8. October 2009 04:30

AdaptedLearning members should be excited to know that Mayer-Johnson is now Tweeting!

Start following Mayer-Johnson on Twitter,, by October 15th and you will be entered to win a free copy of Boardmaker Plus!

Not on Twitter yet? All you need to do is sign up for a Twitter account at It will just take a couple of minutes and you'll be ready to start following @mayerjohnson and begin receiving valuable information and promotions from Mayer-Johnson.

Now Tweeting!

by lisakehoe 1. September 2009 10:20

by Lisa Kehoe

I’m excited to let AdaptedLearning members know that I am now on Twitter, I'll use Twitter to talk with you about exciting new features, articles and discussions   on AdaptedLearning and share with you tips, tricks and shortcuts you can use with Boardmaker Software Family! I’m looking forward to having you follow me on Twitter!

Not on Twitter yet? All you need to do is sign up for Twitter, It will just take a couple of minutes and you'll be ready to start receiving AL news and tips!

What's New on AdaptedLearning - Sharing Icons

by lisakehoe 31. August 2009 04:23

New Sharing Icons let you share AdaptedLearning activities through popular bookmarking and social networking services!

Do you connect with colleagues on Facebook? Update followers with Twitter? Share favorite sites on Delicious? Now you can find great Boardmaker and Boardmaker Plus activities on and quickly share them with others.

Our new Sharing Icons on AdaptedLearning allow you to share a link to any activity that you have located on all of the most popular bookmarking and social networking services.

First, find an activity that you want to share.

Next, select the Sharing Icon for the bookmarking or social networking service you want to share on.

Then, follow the steps to share through that service.
You will need to sign up for the bookmarking or social networking service prior to sharing from AdaptedLearning.

Note – for some of the sharing sites you can customize the message that friends and followers see.

Whether it’s with your closest friends, your colleagues, or your followers sharing great Boardmaker activities from is simple!

Feature Article: The Idea Book is Here!

by lisakehoe 17. April 2009 06:12
The IDEA Book is designed to save you time, while helping you enrich your students’ learning experience.  It gives you tips on how to use, modify and adapt on-screen Boardmaker Plus! activities to suit the varying needs and goals of students in your classroom.
Each activity of the Idea Book includes:

• An on-screen activity to help you develop exciting new curriculum and communication supports.
• A step-by-step guide to the student experience.
• An overview of powerful features of Boardmaker Plus! that support interactivity.
• A list of implementation tips to help you use the activity in your classroom.
• Recommendations for additional tools and products that can be used with that curricular area.

You will see a collection of 13 activities posted on that align with each topic included in the Idea Book. From Articulation to Social Studies, this collection of interactive activities will help you broaden how you use Boardmaker Plus.

Visit today to request your IDEA Book and use the search term Idea Book to locate the collection of postings on

Feature Article: What Does the Stimulus Package Mean to You?

by CLF 6. March 2009 07:27
by Cheris Frailey

Overview of Package

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was signed into law on February 17, 2009 by President Obama.  The bill is intended to stimulate the economy, preserve and create jobs, expand educational opportunities, improve healthcare and provide tax relief.  Allocations of $25 billion are targeted at Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind (ESEA/NCLB) and Sections B and C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

If you have been told that your funds have been fully allocated, it may be time to revisit your needs and discuss with your administration the funds that are now becoming available.

Breakdown of Funding

ESEA/NCLB: Total $13 billion

     Title I formula grants - $10 billion
     School improvement grants - $3 billion

IDEA: Total $12.2 billion

     Part B grants to states - $11.3 billion
     Section 619 for 3 to 5 year olds - $400 million
     Part C infants and toddlers programs - $500 million

State Fiscal Stabilization Fund: Total $53.6 billion

     Governors are required to use at least 83% of its state allocation to support education - $40 billion

Teacher Incentive Fund: Total $200 million

     Funding provided to support programs for teacher-performance pay

Locating your District’s Allocation

The following link provides a listing of each state and links to the funds allocated for each district:

These funds are available for teacher training, curriculum materials, software and other purposes that can help you meet the needs of students in Special Education as well as fulfill the requirements of Title I and No Child Left Behind.

How can you make sure that you are getting the most impact from this new funding?

• Look closely at your entire group of students to identify the areas of greatest unmet needs.
• To make your funds go further, consider software and materials that would meet a wide variety of individual needs and skills.
• Take an inventory of the curriculum items you may want to adapt or modify.
• Consider how many educators on your team could benefit from the materials or software.
• Don’t shy away from long-term investments in software and materials if you will use them for years to come.
• Consider software and materials that can save you time and money, freeing up resources to target other student needs.
• Select software and materials that foster student participation, encourage interactivity, motivate students, and assist with accessibility.
• Try materials and software that can extend instruction by bridging between the school, home, and the community.
• And don’t forget to look for sales, bundled packages, volume discount pricing, low upgrade prices and other special savings that can stretch your dollars even more.

Local sales reps as well as the training professionals from trusted educational companies can help you with your choices.

DynaVox Mayer-Johnson Stimulus Savings

DynaVox Mayer-Johnson has implemented a new program to help you take advantage of the stimulus Package funding that your district will receive.  Until March 31, 2009 for every purchase or upgrade to Boardmaker® Plus! v.6, you will receive a FREE Boardmaker Plus Player* – a $125 value.  The Player is a great way to reach more students with the interactive activities that you create with Boardmaker Plus.

Also until March 31, 2009 receive an Introductory Price of $79 for the New Curriculum Companions – special interactive units that allow students to explore Amazing Animals, Weather, Nature’s Neighborhoods and Changing Seasons through adapted instruction, practice, and structured writing activities.

Additional Offers:

$100 off a $1000 purchase
$75 off a $750 purchase
$50 off a $500 purchase
40%-70% off Overstock Sale
30% off Classroom Tools
FREE shipping on Software!

To learn more, visit:

Call to order:  1-800-588-4548

Feature Article: Building Quick and Easy Communication Boards

by lisakehoe 26. January 2009 04:12

By Phyl T. Macomber, Assistive Technology Specialist

Designing and programming customized communication boards and instructional materials can be a time-consuming process.  Teams struggle to find an adequate amount of time to complete this task in educational, vocational, community, and home settings.  Time is a precious commodity.  And, regardless of a team member’s comfort level with a technology solution, the ever-changing communication and learning demands of a person with a disability can be overwhelming for teams.  This is never more true then when it comes to finding the time for materials development when serving individuals with varying disabilities. 

We need to make this process easier for the technology we support and find quick and practical methods for teams to use when personalizing, editing, and changing communication and instructional activities.  Both Boardmaker Plus! and Speaking Dynamically Pro offer a solution to this.  

Here are some real-life stories . . . 


Amanda, a ninth grade learner with Down Syndrome and autism, needs to prepare to go on errands with her family in her local community.  She needs to have a talking list of what is happening, where she is going, who is bringing her, and what she needs to bring along, as she learns to gain independence in this area. 

Her mom, Holly, needed a quick and easy way to set up an errand list for Amanda - containing various Wh- components – on her integrated speech generating device - that could be changed each day without typing in messages or involving significant programming time.  Holly had limited knowledge of how to use a computer-based system.  In fact, she had just recently mastered how to use a mouse.  The team needed a communication board that could be set up “spur-of-the-moment.”  In addition, Holly wanted Amanda to be able to tell someone what she did out in the community to retell a past event and increase her ability to share information.

Practical Solution: 

Amanda uses a talking errand card that her Mom or respite care worker utilizes to
record messages “spur-of-the-moment” - using Quick Record buttons on her Speaking Dynamically Pro communication board.  The board takes less than 60 seconds to set up in Use Mode and is displayed with all the necessary Wh- components:  What Activity, Where, When, Who and What Do I Need.  In addition, the current day of the week and current date is automatically displayed on this board by using the Quick Date action.

Quick Record Errand Card
Using Speaking Dynamically Pro

Prior to going into the community, Holly (1) touches the record button on the board, (2) talks the messages into the Wh- targets with Amanda, (3) provides a preview of the errand card by having Amanda touch each button to listen and learn about the upcoming event, and (4) guides Amanda in how to get what she needs prior to leaving the house.  Amanda then uses the talking errand card while running the errand in her local community. 

When out in the community, Holly then records a simple “news” message on the talking errand card board upon completion of the errand directly in the communication environment that it occurred.  In turn, Amanda now has the ability to share “what happened” when she returns home or goes to school the next day.  Holly stated, “Anybody can use this - even if they don’t know how to use a computer!”


Corey, a Kindergarten learner with autism, needs to communicate choices during center time in his primary classroom.  His teacher pointed out that center time choices changed – not only throughout the year – but sometimes every few days to offer variety to all the students from a collective bank of rotating activities. 

The team needed a way for Corey’s instructional assistant or classroom teacher to quickly set up a talking center time choice board on his speech generating device based on the center time choices available in the classroom that day.

Practical Solution: 

Using Boardmaker Plus!, Corey’s instructional assistant uses a center time board, with a corresponding pop-up of center time choices, to “copy” and “paste” the center time activities onto the talking center time board every morning on Corey’s speech generating device.  The board contains the design of using the two actions of Quick Picture and Copy To Quick Picture.  The board takes less than 60 seconds to set up for Corey. 

Center Time Choice Board with Pop-Up Center Time Choices
Using Boardmaker Plus!

Each day, Corey’s assistant checks in with the classroom teacher to find out which choices will be available for center time that day.  Corey navigates to his Center Time Choice board on his speech generating system.  His assistant (1) touches the target “Center Time Pictures,” which navigates to a pop-up of center time choices with a Copy To Quick Picture action assigned to each button, (2) the assistant touches the center time picture to “copy” the picture choice, (3) the board automatically changes back to the Center Time Choice board, and (4) the assistant touches the blank target on the choice board to place the picture choice or “paste” the picture choice on the choice board.  The assistant repeats this sequenced process each time for the number of center time choices available to the student each day.

Copy, paste, copy, paste . . . .Mayer-Johnson cannot make it any easier than this!

Corey now has a way to use his “voice” to make center time choices in his dynamic classroom – an environment not unlike many classrooms – that changes on a regular basis.  And, because this is quick and easy for the staff to use, they are consistent in implementing this with Corey.  As a result of this practical solution, the instructional assistant, speech-language pathologist, and classroom teacher have generated numerous ideas for future communication boards for Corey using this format.    

There are a collection of Quick Actions available to you in Boardmaker Plus! and Speaking Dynamically Pro that allow you to easily make changes and “build a board”  in a heartbeat while in Use Mode.  As stated in the Boardmaker Software Family User’s Guide, these quick actions include:

• Quick Picture buttons and actions which allow you to copy a picture from one button to another. 

• Quick Record buttons and actions which allow you to record and save a message to a button. 

• Quick Day, Quick Date, and Quick Time buttons which automatically display the current day, time, and date on a board. 

• Quick Text buttons and actions which allow you to compose and save text messages on the button or to the “face” of the button. 

By using Quick Actions, you can quickly customize, update, and personalize numerous communication boards without having to go to Design Mode to edit the board. 
The Quick Actions in Boardmaker Plus! and Speaking Dynamically Pro make technology appear “easy” to those who are “in the trenches” using it every day with our individuals with varying disabilities.  And, if something is perceived as easy, it is practical. 

I have seen first hand that practical assistive technology solutions will not only be used frequently and consistently by team members, but also that they build excitement within a team.  And, when you build excitement about using easy software solutions like Boardmaker Plus! and Speaking Dynamically Pro, team members simply want to learn more.  In short, it creates “magic!”

NOTE:  You may reprint any items from this article in whatever format that you wish, but respectfully request that you please include the following paragraph:
“Reprinted from Phyl T. Macomber’s free AT Solutions At-A-Glance Newsletter.  Subscribe at


What's New on AdaptedLearning - Jan 26th

by geenen 22. January 2009 13:38

by Bob Geenen 

1,000+ files!!!!

Last week AdaptedLearning reached a major milestone.  Members have now contributed more than 1,000 files to the site!  Kate Ahern was the lucky member to have uploaded the 1,000th file.  As of today there were 1,042 files that contain a total of 13,781 boards.  Thanks and congratulations to all that have contributed to make AdaptedLearning a great resource for teachers, parents, and therapists everywhere.

Discussion List Improvements

As you may know, AdaptedLearning allows you to create your own public or private sharing and discussion groups.  Every group on the site has it's own discussion list on their group home page.  This week we added some considerable improvements to the way those discussion lists work.  Posting, replying, and reading discussion items is now much easier and more inuitive.  As you type in web addresses, links will be added automatically.  Also, discussion items can be sorted based on the column headers.  Give it a try!

Double-Click to Open

A lot of members felt it was not intuitive to select a file from the list, then select "Open File" from the blue toolbar to see the details of a file.  This option is still there, but now you can also just double-click the list item and it will open.

Tell a Friend

It is now quick and easy to let a friend know about AdaptedLearning.  Just log into the site, and look at the "My Account" area in the upper-left.  There is a link that says "Tell A Friend About".  Click there, enter your friend's email address and a personal message, and they will get a link to the site in an email!  Add your own personal message to let them know what you think about the site.

That's all for now!

Feature Article: Using Symbol-Supported Visual Supports to Assist Middle School Students in Acquiring Job Skills

by Enid Hurtado 29. December 2008 07:06
by Denise Valderrama
Middle School Special Education Teacher
San Diego, CA

As a Special Education teacher, I feel that it is important to provide supports for students to become successful in daily activities.  An example of a visual support that I use in my class is a Job Book for students that have a campus job.  This book is made for a few individuals who are working on pre-vocational needs. The supports included in the job book are job sequencing, job schedule, and visual supports for the actual job needed to be done. An example of how I utilize this book is by first providing pictures of what the actual job looks like. Students use this as a support to complete a job task. I also provide a sequence of the job.

For example, if the job was washing tables, I would have a 3-4 step sequence of the job. I would have a symbol of the materials, the next symbol would be spraying down the tables, and the last symbol I would is a picture of wiping down the tables. When a student finishes a step, they can either check it off for detach the symbol from the board. Another board that was created for the job book is a self-monitoring board of how the student did when completing the job. The board consists of symbols of what job was completed and how the student did.

Some jobs that I have for my students are as “Prep Time Cleaners”, where my students go to teachers that are on their prep period to clean their classrooms. I also have cleaning the library, working in the cafeteria, working with the custodian and working in the garden. The Job Book supports students in all working environments.  These supports are important because it helps my students participate in activities that are more functional and it also helps them become successful in their transition to adulthood.



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