TechAbility 2018 Conference

18 October 2018

TechAbility 2018 Conference took place on 16th October. Great event with NatSpec representing specialist schools, colleges and further education colleges in the UK. This is the second conference and the focus was on Assistive Technology. BATA members were among the suppliers represented at the event. Paul Doyle (Hereward College) & Myles Pilling ( BATA Council) were speaking at the event which attracted over 100 attendees. 

Alastair McNaughton(JISC) gave a very interesting keynote equating Assistive Technology integration into educational settings were like a dolphin  set in the middle of an onion. The analogy being that we need to understand the nature of the disability from the person's point of view and then apply the technology that goes through stages of implementation to reach the outer layer of the onion.  Why a Dolphin? I think because people with disabilities are considered  different from non-disabled people  and so it's a fish out of water scenario - much like a dolphin in an onion!

Abi James spoke on Exam Access which was very much a hot topic for specialist colleges with needs that are often complex to apply for the technology to be used in Exams. 

Fil McIntyre and Paul Doyle spoke on the use of Alexa and Google home as assistive tools and demonstrated  how they have implemented them in their colleges. It was a practical session which had the audience engaged in what these tools can do to make the lives of disabled people more simpler and enjoyable in leisure activities.

Robert McLaren ( Policy Connect) and Myles Pilling (BATA) spoke of the work going on to inform government about Assistive Technology. Robert explained about the new initiatives to engage suppliers to promote digital learning tools in education as well as new legislation around accessible websites and what schools and colleges can do to be compliant. Myles explained what BATA does and the need for a central source of AT information in the UK as well as the need for a nationally recognised accreditation and training scheme for AT.

Thanks to NatSpec and TechAbility for organising the event.