Linda Tran and Amy Litton from ILC Tech were lucky enough to head over to sunny Queensland to attend the Inclusive Learning Technologies Conference in May hosted by Spectronics. We joined enthusiastic delegates to listen to some truly inspirational presenters from around the world. We walked away from the week understanding that technology is messy and that’s ok!
Think about yourself and how you use technology. Does your heart rate increase thinking about what would happen if you lost your phone? Keynote Kevin Honeycutt suggested that technology is our “digital limb” becoming part of how we organise, communicate, store information and socialise. Technology may give the people we support ways of doing new and different things.
The conference sparked thoughts for us about the technology we have already and that the newest gadget is not always the best! We were challenged to think creatively on how we might be able to use technologies in new and innovative ways. Perhaps we can try using technology in new ways to give someone a voice, record their story, engage them in learning, display their work and make new friends. Maybe we can be that person that gives someone an opportunity to gain employment or start businesses. One example of this is the stARTSPEAK Project that offers artists opportunities for showcase their art through the development of an app where profits from sales go back to the artists.
Keynotes Jason Carroll and Jason Gibson encouraged us to think about how we move all these brilliant new ideas from the conference back to the real world! They suggested that we need to prepare by not only having a goal or an idea but by writing it down and sharing it with someone that can make us accountable to achieve it. We need to set goals not only for the people we work with but ourselves as well. We need to plan how we will achieve our technology goals because “technology without strategy is just technology”.
We need to perform our plan and stop worrying about “Am I doing it right?” to “Is it making a difference”. When we are thinking “It is not working” we may need to persist and perhaps ask ourselves “Is it just not working – yet?” Most of us are guilty of starting off enthusiastically with technology but when we don’t see results, when it becomes too hard, too busy and things get in our way we turn around and go back to doing things the way we’ve always done it. There is no “perfect” piece of technology or “magic wand”. We have to take a risk, make a plan and try something different because if we want different results we need to do different things.
Technology also offers us many ways to ‘share forward’ all the innovative and exciting ways we are using technology. We were encouraged to stop being “secret geniuses” and share our stories of success! Social Media gives you the ability to surround yourself with like minded colleagues and experts from around the world sharing information, resources and inspiration. Keynote Carol Zangari shared her experiences from the conference and people she met along the way on her PrAACtical AAC blog. ILC Tech has a Pinterest page that we have found helpful in collecting and sharing websites and resources. Our website, YouTube and Facebook are other places we use regularly to share information.
If you are ready join us in jumping off the cliff then get your team together, visit some websites, follow someone on Twitter, watch some webinars, download some resources and dive into doing things differently and share it forward! Share it with us; we would love to hear from you.
All the ILT conference resources are available in the Conference Resource Hub and you can still sign up for a Virtual Registration to watch many of the presentations.