But just one more thing…

It seems appropriate to paraphrase the late Steve Jobs in this postings title, after being surrounded by his products on conference last week. Wasn’t that long ago conferences were owned by Windows devices, and the one or two with Apple products were quietly mocked. The Inclusive Learning Technologies conference was literally all iPads, iPhones and Macbooks… I sat very quietly in the back with my Win7 laptop and Android & Windows phones…..

I wanted to share my top 5 learnings from the conference. There were so many to choose from but this I think sums it up nicely…

5. We are not alone. If this conference was only able to highlight one thing it would be that no matter when in the world we come from we all face the same challenges, the same issues and we are all looking for the answers. It would be a huge error to underestimate the power of having 1200 like-minded individuals come together to share ideas. Ian summed it up nicely in his closing session I think – if we all go away and put into practise one thing that helps 8 people then that is 9600 people whose lives we have changed. Teach 8 colleagues who help 8 people and we can change the world (okay so I ever-so-slightly twisted his words, but the general concept is the same). And sure, some of us were IT professionals, or teachers, or OTs, or speechies or parents but there was a sense of commonality between us all, a desire to just help and support others.

4. Don’t think outside the box… Think like there is no box! One of the early gems. Throw away the rule book, and just do it. If someone says you have to get from point A to point B but it is too difficult, go via all the other letters until you get there – its the outcome that is important, not just the path. Life is a journey, embrace it.

3. SETT – Students, Environments, Tasks and Tools, putting the individual first. It aint rocket science! Ties into my number 1 point below. SETT is such a wonderfully simple framework that can deliver life-changing results. If you replace student with individual it opens it up to anyone, not just a tool for the classroom. Thank you Joy Zabala from bringing this to the conference.

2. UDL – Universal Design for Learning calls for multiple means of representation, multiple means of expression, multiple means of engagement. What I really like is it employs a graduated scaffolding approach to supports i.e. only have the supports that are needed and remove the ones that aren’t. And isn’t that what we all want to do? I sometimes think we amplify someone’s disability by putting in too many supports and getting in the way

1. YOU. It has been said time & time again but still such a valid message – technology won’t fix anything. It takes people using it with clear strategy to deliver results. In one of the sessions, someone said ‘Deploying technology without a clear strategy is a waste of time and money, like a computer in a classroom with no software’ and how true is that.

And a couple of quotes from the conference that hit home

For people without disabilities, technology makes things easier. For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible.

Disability is not a fixed thing: it depends on the environment. AT can be used to remove barriers.

Finally this pearl from the wonderful Mr Ian Bean:

Intercourse dancing. Apparently what we did at the conference dinner, and no it is not what you think! First time I can recall people getting into the gala dinner venue, then dancing while we wait for the entrees, then dance in between courses aka inter-course dancing!

One Response to But just one more thing…

  1. Trina says:

    Thanks for sharing these pearls of wisdom, Aaron. Excellent wrap up and great blog – I’ll look forward to reading more!

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