AGOSCI 2013 Day 3…. The Tiredness Strikes Back

Welcome to the third & final day of AGOSCI2013, the culmination of an intense few days. It was therefore fitting to have the final keynote of the conference be delivered by the inspirational Melinda Smith looking at mentors. I think everyone was held spell-bound as she described her journey as both a mentor and a mentee and the intrinsic value it delivers. Mel exquisitely explained how without a mentor everything is hypothetical – in other words it is all well and good an able-bodied ‘carer’ (and I really detest that word) saying you can achieve your dreams but coming from someone that has faced the same challenges in life and overcome them it suddenly becomes real. One of my favourite quotes from this session was ‘Mentoring is not consulting – mentoring is mutual self development’

After morning tea I sat in on a rather interesting discussion held by Sue Balandin from Victoria Uni in Wellington (via a bunch of other places) looking at confidentiality. Valid points were raised about how technology can create challenges to protecting information; one of the examples given was the use of Twitter at conferences to share content. Kind of ironic given the work of the #TwitterArmy at this gathering! The technique of disguising data in qualitative studies was also discussed, and how a balance needs to be reached between satisfying academic requirements and adequately hiding the research participants. Unfortunately AAC research means there is a relatively small pool of possible participants and it only takes a couple of data points to identify them. I do question though whether a bigger risk is the storage of the raw research data on insecure laptops and removable media – I am willing to bet no researcher actually encrypts their data at any stage.

2 quick sessions before lunch with the crazy ladies from Spectronics. Amanda Hartmann gave a really good run through of the new features in Proloquo2Go version 3 that has just been released. Key things for me is the ability to introduce emotion into speech and instant posting from the text window to Twitter & Facebook – no more copy & paste! Naturally the Aussies were excited about the 4 new Australian voices, not high on my list though. Cha Cullen completed the double act with an overview of Boardmaker Studio. New product to me, but one I will be investigating further. Looks as though there may be some new opportunities there to help some of our users.

More good conversations over lunch, like most conferences half the value is in the side chats in the breaks. I do regret not having more time to catch up with a few other people, but I will track them down later.

Into the home stretch starting with a Plain English session with Harmony Turnbull. Based on continuous feedback from colleagues I think I will need to sit through her training to write better material. Looking forward to getting the softcopy of the checklist they have developed to assist the process.

More learning in the penultimate session about the work Scope are doing around the communication access symbol – I have a lot of information about it to share in New Zealand. I really think this has merit and it would be good to see us take a proactive lead (with Australia) in the implementation of it.

And finally the Closing Ceremony. I spent part of it wondering where the past 4 days had gone, then thanks to the on-screen poetry from Georgia Cranko I remembered! So good to see a number of people honoured for their contributions as they stepped down from various roles, their replacements have BIG shoes to fill… no pressure!

Spent my last evening in town with some of my new friends, and some of my old friends having a quiet dinner to unwind after what was a full-on week. I really didn’t want to leave this morning, seems there are so many more conversations I want to have. No make that NEED to have. I bounced back into the house this afternoon and my poor wife couldn’t shut me up, no idea if I was being coherant or not. Was just so much to share (she is in the disability sector too conveniently!)

A few people asked how Harmony & I tweeted our own presentation – I will document the steps and what not tomorrow hopefully so you can all share in the joy 🙂

One Response to AGOSCI 2013 Day 3…. The Tiredness Strikes Back

  1. Great to have your thoughts on the conference Aaron! Well done. Love the reference to “the crazy ladies from Spectronics”. We try ..

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