Activity/Lesson Based Communication boards are simply boards which have the symbols you need specific to a particular activity or lesson. For example, you may have a board with communication symbols devoted entirely to singing Old MacDonald, or going to the potty. You may use a board that has all the symbols you need to read a particular news article in News-2-You. Activity boards were, at one time, prevalent in classrooms, and the only way we knew to organize vocabulary.
In the last 20 years, however, we've learned the importance of having our symbols readily available in consistent locations in our devices and books so that the words can be used across all activities, not just for the one particular activity we are currently engaged in.
Activity boards ARE useful, however! When your goal is participation and making sure your student understands the content you are introducing, activity boards may be the perfect solution! They give the student quick access to words and messages that are "just right" for the activity which increases a student's rate of communication in the fast-paced classroom world.
Caution: We do need to be sure students have access to comprehensive communication systems, and CORE VOCABULARY. It would never be appropriate to ONLY use activity based displays. If your goal is quick participation and concept development, the activity board may be your first step in isolating and building knowledge in a very structured manner. If your goal is to teach literacy and communication, activity boards are NOT going to meet this need. Words that disappear when the activity disappears, are NOT words you have effectively taught the student.
Be careful to teach what you mean to teach!
High Tech Activity/Topic Boards
Some communication devices make use of activity, or "topic" boards. These have pages organized by frequently occurring topic and activities which occur often during a person's day, such as "hygiene," "riding in the car," "small talk," "meals," and "reading." The pages include quick phrases, comments, questions and words specific to the topic. Just like our classroom activity boards, these serve the function of increasing a person's rate of communicating using AAC. Since rate is one of the biggest challenges for AAC users, these "topic pages" can be powerful during regularly occurring activities. Tobii Dynavox applications have the most robust topic based pages available at this time.