User Tip: ZIPpity Doo Dah!

by lisakehoe 2. October 2009 04:00

When people share a set of boards on AdaptedLearning that all work together (like an interactive book) or are all related (like boards on the same topic) they often upload them as a…

ZIP File
 Single file that holds many files inside (called a “Compressed Folder” in Windows).
ZBP File
A board package similar to a ZIP, but created using the Export ability of Boardmaker.

So how do you open and use ZIP and ZBP files in Boardmaker?

There are already easy directions for importing ZBP files in the Support area of the website.  Just click here.

This article is going to step you through the process of “unzipping” a ZIP file.  This is the process of extracting all the individual BM2 files out so you can use them.  If you try to access those files without taking this crucial step, you can run into some confusing problem.  Unzipping may sound scary, but it’s not… and once you get the hang of it, you’ll have access to even more great activities on AdaptedLearning.

How to unzip an activity found on AdaptedLearning:
1) Find the activity you want to download and note if it is a ZIP file.

2) Download the activity.

3) Select “Save File”.

4) Navigate to your My Boards folder (My Documents > My Boards) to save.

5) Open up your My Boards folder. (My Documents>My Boards)

6) Double click on the zipped file.

7) Select “Extract all files”

8) Run the “Extraction Wizard”

9) Now you can double click to open the file(s) or open Boardmaker and access this activity in the typical way: File > Open > Open a Saved Board

User Tip: Searching for “Interactive” or “Print” Activities

by EnidHurtado 21. September 2009 12:42

One of the most used features of AdaptedLearning is the search engine. How great is it to be able to search for Boardmaker Software Family activities that are about the specific topic you are teaching your students, clients, or child?  Through AdaptedLearning search feature, you have access to a combined list of topic specific “Interactive” and “Print” activities.  “Interactive” activities refer to the on-screen activities that can be created and used with Boardmaker Plus and Boardmaker Speaking Dynamically Pro. “Print” refers to the traditional Boardmaker activities that are used as desk top activities or environmental visual supports.  Did you know you can narrow your search and search for one or the other?
Why would you want to narrow your search?
• If you are working with individuals that learn more effectively though meaningful, multimodal interactive on-screen activities, you may want to narrow your search to only list “Interactive” activities.
• If you are an itinerant professional that subscribes and uses Print Editor to meet  the needs of your students, then you may want to only list  “Print” activities that can be modified by Print Editor.
• If you are a parent who has the Boardmaker Plus Player at home and would like to supplement your student’s homework, then you may want to only list the “Interactive” activities that can be used on the Boardmaker Plus Player
• If you are looking for desk top activities, cue cards, or environmental supports, then you may only want to list “Print” activities.
You can easily search specifically for “Interactive” or “Print” activities by following these specific steps.
1. Type in your search term in the message display window and select search.

2. The list of topic specific activities entails one column that identifies whether the activity is interactive or not. This column’s title is “Interactive.” The initial list will have the “Print” and “Interactive” activities randomly grouped all together.

3. In order to narrow the search, select the column “Interactive” once and the activities that are not interactive will be grouped together. This grouping is signified by the word “no” appearing in the Interactive column. The non-interactive group is made up of the “Print” activities.
4. In order to group the “Interactive” onscreen activities first, select the column title again and the list will show all the “Interactive” activities grouped together. This grouping is signified by the word “yes” appearing in the “Interactive” column. The “Interactive” group is made up of the on-screen activities which are used on Boardmaker Player, Boardmaker Plus, and Boardmaker Speaking Dynamically Pro.

By trying this User Tip, you will have more control in finding the appropriate topic specific Boardmaker Software Family activity on AdaptedLearning to effectively support your student, client, or child’s learning.

-AdaptedLearning Editor

User Tip: Take an online class this fall

by lisakehoe 11. September 2009 07:08


Whether you are just starting with Boardmaker Software Family or want to progress to the next level our new fall class schedule will help you achieve your learning goals! Our FREE online classes give you the chance to learn new information about Boardmaker Software Family and provide you with an instructor you can interact with throughout the class.

Just starting out? Our “Basics” classes may be just what you need to get on your way.

•Creating Print Activities with Boardmaker Software Family: The Basics
•Creating On-screen Activities with Boardmaker Plus: The Basics
•The Top Ten On-Screen Interactive Features of Boardmaker Plus

Have you been using Boardmaker or Boardmaker Plus and want to move to the next level and learn new implementation ideas? Check out these new class offerings:

•Cram Session: Power Templates from
•Mark, Get set, Go!: Using Visual Supports and Sports to enhance Academic, Behavioral, and Social Instruction
•Boardmaker Plus: Next Steps

Check out full class descriptions and schedule through December

Hope to “see” you at an upcoming class!

User Tip: Creating a Successful School-to-Home Connection with Boardmaker Software Family

by lisakehoe 28. August 2009 05:16
Welcome back to school! Teachers, are you looking for strategies to involve your students’ families more this year? Parents, are you motivated to stay connected and be a part of your child’s academic success? Boardmaker Software Family and are two resources that will help both teachers and families work together to achieve a successful school year.

1.    Use pictures or other multimedia to incorporate in activities created for use in the classroom.
Feature Highlight: Boardmaker Plus allows you to use digital images (any image format), movies (.avi, ,mpeg, .mpg”, or .wmv files)and sounds/songs/recordings (.wav files) on any activity!
Application Ideas:
•    Parents, send in photos or videos from summer vacation so students can share with their teachers and peers about what they did over the summer.
•    Parents, send in photos or videos of family members so students can introduce themselves to new teachers and peers.
•    Teachers, make activities (printed or interactive) that include photos of the classroom, yourself and any other relevant school information so that students can share exciting back-to-school information with their parents and siblings.
•    Parents, send in photos, movies or songs that may be reinforcing for your child. Knowing effective reinforcers for your child helps teachers develop any necessary behavior plans.

2.    Use Boardmaker Software Family to encourage school to home and home to school communication.
Feature Highlight: Create print or interactive communication tools using Boardmaker Plus. You don’t have to start from scratch – a great collection of communication templates and forms are available at
Application Ideas:
•    Remember that a note home isn’t just a way for the teacher to communicate with parents (and vice versa). If designed with symbols, it is also a tool for students to use visual supports to communicate with parents and siblings about their school day (or with teachers and friends about their evening or weekend).
•    Use the Quick Record feature in Boardmaker Plus to record voice messages onto an interactive “note home”. This allows for easy on-the-fly messages to be included.
•    Parents, consider using the Boardmaker Plus! Player (if you don’t have a full version of Boardmaker Plus) so you can play and practice on-screen activities that the teacher has created or downloaded from

3.    Use to create a Group for a school or classroom to share boards and connect!
Feature Highlight: Create a public or private Group on to share and connect between school and home or even between parents!
•    Use your Group to share activities that have been created.
•    Use your Group to have discussion with the teacher or other parents.
•    Use your Group to share home-related activities and boards with other parents.

For additional ideas and resources please join us on our free Web Class, Create a Successful School to Home Connection with Boardmaker Software Family
September 11th at 4 pm EST and September 22nd at 7 pm EST. For more information and to register visit:

User Tips: Saving Time with Templates

by Enid Hurtado 2. July 2009 11:16

Consistency. We all know how important that is for our students, clients, and children. They need it to understand what to expect, what is expected of them to be successful, and how to cope with any challenges that may arise in the activity. Sounds a lot like the reason why they need visual supports, doesn’t it?  One challenge that caregivers and service providers run into when trying to provide these two essential requirements is lack of time to create and implement them.  One way you can use your Boardmaker Software Family to more effectively use your time when creating consistent symbol-based visual supports is by saving them as “templates.” 
To use this time saving feature, select and open one of the boards of an activity that you frequently use with your student, client or child and think would make a good template for that activity.

1.   In Design mode, select “File” from the Tab section, scroll down, and select “Save as Template.”

2. This action will take you to your Boardmaker Family Software program’s “Templates” folder.  Create a new folder by selecting the folder icon to the right of the icon for the “Templates” folder or “right click” in the window, select “New”, and then select “Folder.”

Select       or use your right-click option  

3. Name your “New Folder” a category title that will describe your template’s category.

4. Save your board file in the folder. It will now become a template.

5. In order to access your template, select “Open a Template” from the start window of your Boardmaker Software program.

6. Select and Open your template folder.

7. Select the template board you would like to use and it will open up in to an Untitled Board.

8. When you are done modifying your template board, select “Save As.” If you select “Save” instead of selecting “Save as,” the “Save as” window will automatically appear to prevent you from replacing the original board with your new board.

Now you can quickly create your activities or visual supports by accessing it’s coinciding template and inserting the symbols, pictures, or any multi-media that you need to provide your student, client, or child with effective, consistent, multi-modal symbol based visual supports.

User Tip: Transitioning into Summer

by Enid Hurtado 24. June 2009 17:39

The summer season is now in full force. If students are not attending summer school, they may be learning new skills and meeting new friends in summer camp, spending more time with the family, or learning new skills on their Nintendo Wii.© Whatever they are doing, it is definitely unlike the routine of school and home they experience during school time. Some students can easily handle this transition from school to summer. For others, this may be a complete nightmare. Everything has changed. They don’t know what to expect from their day. They don’t know what they are supposed to do or what is expected of them to be successful. So what can we do to set these individuals up for success?

Try one or all of these 5 summer transition tips:

1. Use Visual Schedules for the day’s events and/ or for the tasks in an event. 

2.  Create Social Stories © to prepare individual for new events.

3. Use Cue Cards to remind the individual of the expectations of the new setting during the event.

4. Use Interactive On-screen Visual Scenes to prepare the individual for environmental  sensory input.

5. Provide the individual with a visual reminder for reinforcement of the positive behavior.

You can find all these type of activities on . Within each tip, there is a term that is in italics and bolded. Type this term in to the Search window on the Home page of your AdaptedLearning account and  a group of activities will appear. Use these activities as is, modified, or for inspiration to create a visual support that will provide a successful transition in to the individual’s summer activities. 

User Tip: Adding Board Actions to Your On-screen, Interactive Boards

by Enid Hurtado 5. June 2009 14:50

You have created this wonderful interactive, on-screen , multi-board adapted book for your child, student, or client. It may be being presented on a WhiteBoard, a communication device, or a lap top. The users love the activity but there is one more action you wish you could add to it. You wish you could add an action, like a sound or message, that would activate every time the “page” is turned without the user having to activate a separate button. There is a feature in Boardmaker Plus and Boardmaker with Speaking Dynamically Pro that grants your wish: Edit Board Actions.

Where is that feature?

1. With your pointer arrow on the background of the board, press the right click (Ctrl. + click for Mac) option on your mouse and a window appears that looks just like this:

2. Select Edit Board Actions and a window that looks similar to your Button Actions, appears. Each of the actions will work like they do in your Button Actions window except instead of programming the button; you are now programming the board to do these actions.

3. Program the board with the action that you would like the user to experience when the user turns to that “page,” or board.

4. Now activate the board in User mode and the board should automatically perform that action.

***If you would like the action(s) to occur on every page of your multi-board activity, then program the first board and use it as a template for the other boards. This will save you time and allow you to easily add that extra action that will enhance the use of your activity with your child, student, or client.


User Tip: Time Saver - Shuffle

by CLF 15. May 2009 06:04

Bingo! The class yells! Uh oh, you have an entire class of winners!  How did that happen?  Perhaps it has been a busy week at school. You created and printed some curriculum based bingo boards to add some fun and variety to your lessons.  One thing may have been overlooked when printing boards for the entire class such as every student receiving the same board.  Don't sweat the small stuff! Here is an easy tip to see results fast and not have all the same boards!

Bingo boards can be created with the Shuffle feature:

To randomly shuffle the contents of multiple buttons:
1. Select the buttons that you want shuffled.
2. Go to Edit and select Shuffle Buttons.
3. Print the board and shuffle again.
4. Repeat these steps to print as many different boards as you need for your class.


User Tip: Using free templates posted on AdaptedLearning

by lisakehoe 24. April 2009 03:27
Making activities for the end of the school year? Starting to think ahead to then beginning of next year? The new templates, that have been posted by Mayer-Johnson Educational Content Team, will save you time now and get you excited for what you can accomplish next fall! These templates are like none you’ve used before. So pick one that looks good to you, download and use. Creating effective, attractive learning activities has never been easier!

Templates Include:

Talking Book Template:
Multiple Choice Template:
Sorting Template:
Word Scramble Template:

Downloading templates:
1) Select the template you are interested in using.
2) Select “Download.”
3) Select “Click here to Download.”
4) All templates listed above are posted as zip files. Save the zip file. You can choose to save this anywhere; however your My Boards folder will help keep everything organized.
5) If you are using v.6.1.3 of Boardmaker Software Family the steps for importing a zip file can be found at:
6) If you have not yet upgraded to Windows Boardmaker v.6.1.3 please be sure to save the zip file and then use your computer system’s “ZIP” utility to extract all files.

Using the templates:
We will use the Multiple Choice Template as an example of how easy and fun these templates are to use!
1) Open the Multiple Choice Template folder.
* Please note - you will need to do this by navigating to the folder, NOT from within Boardmaker.
2) Locate the file titled Multiple Choice Template Instructions.
    • This file is a PDF, and you may find it useful to print it so you can reference it as you begin working with this, or any, template.
3) Select the Multiple Choice Activity you want to use – 2, 3, or 4 blank Template)
4) The first key step to using Templates is making a COPY of the folder of activities.
    • Right click on the folder (Multiple Choice 2, 3, or 4 blank Template)> select Copy.
    • Right click in your My Boards folder > select Paste.
5) Next you must rename the folder.
    • Right click on your new folder > select Rename. Name it something specific like “Multiple Choice Plants”, for example.
6) To begin editing the template, open the file titled “_Multiple Choice Main” from the new, copied folder you made.
7) Press the ‘=’ button on your keyboard to begin to edit the activity.
8) Continue to follow the Multiple Choice instructions PDF for the remainder of the steps.

Try additional templates:

Follow the “Downloading Templates” steps above to try another activity! Each will contain activity specific instructions as a PDF in the activity folder! Enjoy!

User Tip: What do I Use the Freeform Button Tool For?

by Enid Hurtado 17. April 2009 16:55

The Freeform Button Tool is the fourth button on the tool bar. It is placed to the right of the Button Tool. So what is the difference between the two? We know the uses of the Button Tool.  What are the uses of the Freeform Button Tool? Although there are many, here are some of the most common;         

The Freeform Button Tool can be used to create geometric shapes by drawing a freeform button, selecting it, and then selecting the Corner Tool.

The Freeform Button Tool can also be used to create “hot spots” in an on-screen interactive visual scene. Use it like a pencil to draw a button around a specific detail of the background, around a symbol placed on the background, or create a detail in the background.  The Freeform Button will automatically turn in to an Invisible Button so that the user will not be able to see it until it is selected. Then, since the Freeform Button can be programmed like a standard button, you can program this “hot spot” with any of the Button Actions.

Another common use of the Freeform Button Tool  is creating non-geometric shapes to use in fine motor skill activities. Create a cutting or tracing activity with thick, dashed lines by applying Dashed Borders and the Thickness Tool to the borders of the Freeform Button.  To create a thicker button border, first select the Freeform Button,  then select the Thickness Tool from the Tool Bar and click on your border thickness selection. To create dashed lines, right click on the Freeform Button, scroll down to properties and select Dashed Borders. 

These three examples can help you begin your exploration in to the Boardmaker Family Software v6’s Freeform Button Tool.  As with the program itself, the possibilities are endless for the uses of the Freeform Button Tool.

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