Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Pogo Boards Changing the Landscape

 Hey Tek-Ninjas! Our district has been wrestling with a dilemma. We are planning on replacing all all laptops at the Elementary level. That is roughly 10 schools. We replaced the Middle school laptops last year. It is expensive.

On top of the significant cost, this change has unplanned ripple effects. Modern laptops seem to all be dropping CD drives. Remember 12+ years ago when Apple got rid of the floppy drive? Then PC's followed suit? We all kicked and screamed 'cause our software wouldn't work. Well, here we go again. Apple started phasing out CD drives a few years ago, and now PC's seem to following along.

Our district has approximately 100 copies of "THE DOMINANT SYMBOL SOFTWARE" (TDSS) out there, which was purchased with Stimulus funding back in 2000. It still works fine, but won't on the new laptops (or not without a major process/headache per each device), especially as we are changing OS platforms at some schools.

Our staff who use TDSS really rely on it. But, upgrading TDSS for the new computers would cost over $12,000 PER YEAR!

Home Screen
So, it was out of necessity that I started shopping around again for symbol software, but this time more earnestly.

Enter Pogo Boards. Pogo Boards is an online, subscription model which is easy to use, and provides access to millions of images through an integrated Google search, thousands of unique, custom symbols with SymbolStix and the PiCS symbol set.

Pogo Boards arguably has the most robust symbol library available in one place.

There is a free 14 day trial to get a feel for PogoBoards, and I encourage users to sign up and use it with a student or classroom in mind, not just to tinker around. This process will facilitate you actually learning how to use it.

The PogoBoards website offers several "how-to-videos" to help you in your learning curve.

As a user, if you are at all familiar with Microsoft Word, the interface will be intuitive. It looks similar.

The bottom line though, is the price is down-right affordable. My subscription for the same group of folks on the TDSS will be roughly $2,500 annually. Thates a significant savings.

Users can make their boards on a Mac at work, then when they get home, feasibly log into a home PC or Linux computer and access the same work.  Cross platform is huge.

In addition, boards made online can be downloaded to the free app on your iPad or iPhone.

And finally, sharing of materials within a school or district is simple.

Change from a preferred tool is often challenging. My hope for our district is that this won't be too painful. I will keep you all posted!


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