Inclusive Learning Technologies Conference – Day 1 Summary

Firstly can I just say how professional everything is. Lots of helpful, friendly staff about that are only too happy to assist and have a laugh. The conference bag is packed with paper, which I know we can’t really get away from, water which I know will be needed and, best of all… SLIPPERS! I was on the lookout for someone wearing them today, not one to be seen.. maybe tomorrow!! Interestingly though no lollies, not a deal breaker, just interesting.

The exhibitors space is just wonderful. For a techie it really is like nirvana! I can see me spending far too much time here! So onto the conference itself. The opening was just FANTASTIC! Nothing like a bit of ‘We will rock you’ by Queen accompanied by an equally upbeat presentation to get the event off with a bang.

Keynote presentation: bit of a review of the last 2 years (since the last conference). Was interesting to hear that the iPad was launched on the last day of the 2010 conference – they are everywhere this time. Was also a nice acknowledgement of the Christchurch earthquake – thanks guys. Best quote of the opening salvo for me?

“Don’t think outside of the box, think like there is no box”

Kelly Fonner was next up. Geez talk about a little American dynamo! Not sure how many Red Bulls she had before getting on the stage but man she was wired! Jokes aside, Kelly is very very knowledgable and years of experience in the disability sector. A self-proclaimed quitter, she apparently dropped out of her PhD course because the lecturers were wrong and clearly hadn’t been in the real world for a while! Finished with an inspirational video of a man by the name of Bernie and his use of technology. Was a timely reminder about why we were all there.

iPads Transforming Learning at Warringa Park School was the first breakout session for me. Was interesting to hear their journey and why they went with the iPad. Key takeaways for me:

  • Providers need to work with schools to get continuity for students
  • Ensure there is an internal champion (they had an iPad Coach)
  • iPads allow students to learn differently

Next up, ‘Making websites accessible to people with cognitive Disabilities‘. For me there wasn’t too much new here, all technical aspects I have heard before from W3C. Did discover a product called Browse Aloud which makes it easier for people with disabilities to interact with a website

Lunch involved a lot of queuing for food. Was nice to get outside for a bit though, enjoyed the Queensland sun for half an hour.

Avoiding  the technolusion: What does it really take for success with technology?‘ was really interesting. Much more of an even gender balance in the room, and bit more of a technical talk. Learnt quite a bit from this, including the definition of technolusion – apparently it is a belief that technology alone has the power to remediate and cure. In other words, technology is a silver bullet. News flash – IT ISN’T! Also discovered SETT (Student, Environments, Tasks, Tools) which is a mapping tool to identify the best solution for the individual. Will be keen to get this implemented when I get back to the office. Favorite quote from the session

For people without disabilities, technology makes things easier.

For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible.

I mixed it up a bit with the next session, and went to listen to Harmony Turnbull talk about ‘How to be a Good Speech Pathologist‘. This was a real wildcard session, but I managed to get a few insights into communication tools and needs. Got a new word into the lexicon too – Andragogy.

The last session of the day was my personal favorite. Kelly Fonner was back again and just as passionate talking to the session title ‘Challenging Assumptions: High Tech for individuals with Intellectual Disabilities‘. This content had the most immediate applications for my organisation and I have a couple of pages of applications to investigate. It was the video played though that got me most excited (and I am now on a mission to get a copy of it!) as it showed the possibilites that technology can enable. The smart home was fantastic, and a very good example of how individuals can be supported to live independently in the community. The GPS app for the bus added to this and was a nice example of whats possible.

All in all it was a very full day, very enjoyable though and met some new people during the course of events. Tomorrow looks like another full-on day, with hopefully an opportunity to spend some time looking at the exhibitors booths.

One Response to Inclusive Learning Technologies Conference – Day 1 Summary

  1. Kelly Fonner says:

    from Kelly (herself) here’s the scary thing – no Red Bulls involved. You don’t want to see me on Red Bull or anything with caffeine. trust me, bad. Bern has given us permission to post the video on the conference resource website, so it will be on my Resource section in the Conference App. The video that you saw of Rusty in Living the SmartLife is available through the AbleLink company. and thanks for all your kind feedback. Ya gotta love what you do!

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