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By Sally Millar on Friday 12th February, 2010 at 3:52pm
Hurrah! At last Mayer-Johnson UK and LTS have got their act together and brought out a cheap deal on BoardMaker for Scotland.
CALL has been pushing for this. BoardMaker purchasing information has been pretty muddled lately, so the new clarity is welcome, as well as the discount.
The offer is only for the latest version, BoardMaker Plus! V6, which is the ordinary print-based BoardMaker 6 plus some new interactive features (see below). In case you are unclear - here's a few basic questions and answers.
- I've got BoardMaker 5 - why might I want V6?
- Lots of nice features such as 'Swap Button', easier photo importing, easier resizing, and the magical 'symbolate as you type' tool.
- Why can't I just upgrade my print-only BoardMaker?
- A marketing decison by Mayer-Johnson, it seems. The old paper only version looks set to fade away quietly. (You MAY still be able to get it through third party suppliers, for now.)
- I don't want to pay for extra features I'll never use!
- I know, it's really annoying! But this LTS deal may take some of the pain out of it. And you never know, you may change your mind later and see a use for the new interactive possibilities of BoardMaker Plus!
- I've got BoardMaker 6 - why might I want the Plus! version?
- Well, it's not necessary IF all you ever want to do is make print-based symbol materials. But the Plus! version is also interactive - it talks, kids can use it themselves - drag and drop and switch access - brilliant on interactive whitboards or large plasma screen - you could make symbol quizzes, language activities, on screen work sheets, homework exercises etc. - could be just the very 'next step you were waiting for, for your pupils...
- I'm new to all this. Why might I want to buy BoardMaker Plus! at all?
- Well it is a really valuable tool to help you make the educational environment visual and supportive, useful for ALL pupils actually, but especially early years, additional support needs, those with language or literacy difficulties. It's not the only tool - (CALL is not wanting to 'advertise' as such or to promote one symbol software above all others, but we do believe almost everyone can benefit from using symbols more, and BoardMaker is a tried and tested old warhorse). There's a good overview and comparison (and free trial) on the Mayer-Johnson website Also there are more and more free downloadable resources coming out all the time through the Adapted Learning website - a bit like the Clicker Learning Grids (only in symbols)
- I like the sound of the free downloadable resources. Are they only for the Plus! version?
- No, they are mixed. Many are for V6 print version but these will also play in V5. I suppose in time more of them will become more Plus! oriented
- I've got an ancient Mac version - does the upgrade apply to me?
- Yes, to ANY/ ALL old versions - but you'll get a PC version V6, there is no Mac BoardMaker Plus! (If I were you and I still use Mac, I'd keep my old Mac BoardMaker that will run in any machine without the CD in the drive AND buy the new PC one at the discounted price)
- I hate upgrades! I love my old BoardMaker because it is so simple! Will the new version look all different and complicated?
- No actually, it looks and behaves pretty much exactly the same as the older version, it's just got the new features added in. You don't see the new interactive features unless you double click and go looking for them.
- What is the BoardMaker Plus! Player?
- It means you can set a symbol exercise and get a pupil to complete it on ANY computer, without needing the BoardMaker Plus! CD in the drive. Interesting possibilities here for homework perhaps
- What are the Symbol Addenda and why would I want them?
- This is a one CD pack of ALL the new PCS symbols that have come out since 2000. (There were 5 editions - 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008). Everyone is always muddled about which symbols they did or didn't buy - whether they installed them - how to tell which Addenda are or aren't installed and so on. It's confusing to see symbols in some materials that you then can't 'find' in your BoardMaker. The Addenda are where many of the symbols particularly useful for autism materials are. So frankly I'd advise everyone to get this pack unless you are 100% certain that you already bought and installed all of those Addenda at the time (and still have the CDs...) Ensuring that ALL classes / schools have the same full set of Symbol Addenda is a valuable step forward in preparing to make your school or authority Communication Friendly. The symbol Addenda will work with all versions, including older ones.
- I use BoardMaker with my communication impaired clients, but I'm not in a school - can I buy at the LTS discounted rate?
- As far as I know, yes, if you are in Scotland.
For further information about the LTS deal, available from 22nd February 2010, see software pages on LTS website or call Jonathan Cairney (Commercial Licensing Manager) on 0141 282 5000.