Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Boardmaker Studio

Mayer-Johnson is releasing a new product, and I was lucky enough to get a tour of it. Boardmaker Studio, which will start shipping Sept. 7, is a set of software based off the Boardmaker Plus series, but at the same time completely different. As communicated to me by a representative from the company, it is completely separate from Boardmaker and is not intended to replace Boardmaker Plus or Speaking Dynamically Pro (SDP).

I love Boardmaker Plus, I use it constantly, but it does involve some understanding of programming to get the most out of it. Yes, you can download materials from Boardmaker Share (previously called Adapted Learning) and use them, but I like to make things my own. Boardmaker Studio gives you the tools to do that. You can use Boardmaker Studio to create both print and interactive content. It comes with over 100 on-screen templates, 400 print templates, and 100 gadgets that allow you to create activities in minutes. All of them completely customizable. By understanding a few simple steps, basically how to edit a box, you have the power to make rich content. I watched as a simple matching exercise was created in less than 2 min. and was ready to use.

It also allows you the ability to save content "on the cloud". No longer will you have to remember to transfer that file before a student can use it, the program is linked to Boardmaker Share and allows you to upload and use files from any internet connected computer. Boardmaker Plus & SDP v.6 files can be imported and converted to use with Boardmaker Studio.

I personally like the concept of Boardmaker Studio, it's very similar to the changes that Intellitools made to Classroom Suite from ver. 3 to ver. 4. Boardmaker is at the very limits of it's capability, it is based on coding that is over 10 years old. To make Boardmaker more versatile required a complete re-write of the code and that is where Boardmaker Studio comes from. I would love to have more hands on time to play with all the features.

At this time Boardmaker Studio is only available for Windows computers, the Mac program is in development, but there is no release date at this time. It comes with the full PCS library from Mayer-Johnson, just like Boardmaker. That being said, it is a $399 program, and in this time of budget shortfalls I'm guessing many districts will pass on purchasing at this time. I'm interested to see if Boardmaker Studio takes off, I think it's an exciting new offering from Mayer-Johnson! You can check out more information and a demo here: Boardmaker Studio.


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