Boardmaker Online now launched in Ireland

Tobii Dynavox have recently launched their new Boardmaker Online product in Ireland through SafeCare Technologies. It has all the functionalities of previous versions of Boardmaker, except now that it’s web-based you don’t need any disks and multiple users can access it from any PC.

Instructor showing students how to use Boardmaker Online

You can purchase a Personal, Professional or District account and the amount you pay depends on the type of account, the amount of “instructors” and how many years you want to sign up for. You can also get a discount for any old Boardmaker disks that you want to trade in.

You get all the symbols that have been available in past versions, as well as some new symbol sets and any new ones that are created in the future will also be given to you. Because it’s web-based, you have access to previously created activities via the online community and you can upload activities you create yourself to that community and share them with other people in your district or all over the world.

Because it’s no longer tied to one device, you can create activities on your PC and assign them to your “students” who can use them either in school and/or at home. You no longer need to have a user’s device in your possession to update their activities and they don’t need to have a period without their device while you do this.

You (and the other instructors in your district if you have a district licence) can also assign the same activity to many students and by having different accessibility options set up for different students, the activity is automatically accessible for their individual needs. For example, you could create an activity and assign it to a student who uses eye gaze and to a student who uses switches and that activity will show up on their device in the format that’s accessible for them.

Picture shows how instructors can assign Boardmaker Online activities to multiple students

The results of students’ work can be tracked against IEP or educational goals which then helps you decide what activities would be suitable to assign next. You can also track staff and student usage.

One limitation is that you can only create activities on a Windows PC or Mac. You can play activities on an iPad using the free app but not create them on it, and you can’t use Boardmaker Online to either create or play activities on an Android or Windows-based tablet.

The other point to mention is that because it’s a subscription-based product, the payment you have to make is recurring every year rather than being a one-off payment, which may not suit everyone.

However, with the new features it’s definitely worth getting the free 30-day trial and deciding for yourself if you’d like to trade in your old Boardmaker disks for the new online version!

Eduapps

My Study Bar tool

Eduapps have been out for quite a while now.  It’s still a very useful set of resources which are available to freely download.  It consists of eight software collections.  One of the popular ones is MyStudyBar, which consists of a suite of apps to support literacy.  It’s easy to install and use.

For example MyStudyBar has 6 sections; each has a drop down menu offering over 15 apps to choose from.  Examples include: Xmind for planning and organization; T-Bar for customising font and colour backgrounds; Lingoes for when you need a talking dictionary; LetMeType for help with text input, and Balabolka for converting text to audio etc.

What is also useful is that you can use MyStudyBar straight from a USB stick (if, for example, you are using a machine that is not your own).

Website http://eduapps.org/

Highlights from BETT

The BETT show

Bett (the British Educational Training and Technology show) was held over 4 days last week in London. This is one of the world leading exhibition in relation to technology for primary through to third level education.
A good amount of stands were focused on IT support for schools, cloud storage, and the IT curriculum for schools, and there were also a number of talks and presentations taking place, but due to time constraints, I was unable to make any of those.

Below are some of the highlights that I can across during the day:
Literacy –

  • Clicker have just brought out SuperKeys as an iPad onscreen keyboard. This is a two hit keyboard with word prediction and looks really nice. More info here.
  • Claro now have a PDF annotator app with text to speech. Also Claro MagX – an app for magnification and zooming.
  • IntoWords – text to speech and word prediction for android, iOS, Chrome and Mac.
  • Engaging Eyes – Not eyegaze, but works on improving visual tracking for those experiencing difficulty with reading.
  • Text Reader – a reading pen that can capture 80 letters per second to read back. Can add headphones.
  • iOS keyboards from Assistiveware – Keedogo and Keedogo plus are high viz onscreen keyboards, with word prediction in the plus version. Keeble has customisable keyboards, that can be switch accessible, but it’s the first one (that I’ve seen) that allows for select on release or select on time out, so handy for those individuals who use the touchscreen to stabilise their fingers.

AAC

  • Clicker Com, an AAC app, is due out shortly (March?). Many have used Clicker as an AAC system in the past to good effect, so having a dedicated app is a plus.
  • SymbolKommunikation – scheduling apps that can be modified remotely.
  • Widgit now have an app for iPad – can be used as a voice output device, or to create symbol based documents includes all the Widgit symbols, plus ability to add your own. £54stg.
  • Proloquo4text – from Assistive Ware – similar to Predictable, a text based iOS app. Has Quick talk, saved phrases, and the ability to auto detect language changes.
  • Widgit are bringing out a language comprehension screening tool later this year for ages 2-5 yrs.

Voice Recognition

  • Dragon now doing a school site licence for £900. – unlimited profiles

Mindmapping

  • Matchware – MindView 6 will be fully compatible with Dragon 13 voice commands. Due out in March, but they are going to forward me a trial.
  • EssayWriter – for Mac and Windows – gives a split screen so that the mindmap and document are visible at the same time. 30 day trial at www.fasteressays.com

Coding

  • Smart Robot Coding School from SK Telecom – Albert, a smart little robot will work from commands you give him. Can be used to practice coding, numeracy skills, play games etc.
  • Wishtrac – provides a vast amount of PC peripherals, but has a really good computing curriculum and kits (now required in UK, but could be useful to summer camps here). Based on the Raspberry PI

Music

  • Magix – provides a simplified movie editing, web design and graphic editor. Also has a music maker, that appears to work by dragging and dropping samples, but you can also add your own, free 30 day trial – education.magix.com

Maths

  • Daydreameducation.co.uk – educational posters and some maths drill apps

Vision

  • Kurtweil have a nice iOS app for those with visual difficulties/dyslexia – KNFB reader.