For those who don't already know, the annual Getting AT Ready event has been developed to provide disability professionals in Further and Higher Education (FE and HE) with an opportunity to discuss best practice, learn about new technologies and hear from the experts in the field. Our aim is to provide an environment that encourages discussion and the sharing of ideas between attendees and the various experts and exhibitors that attended the event.
2020 has been a strange year so far, the effects of which have spread far and wide. Getting AT Ready was no exception. This was meant to be our first year with events in both Ireland and Scotland and I guess you can say, in a way it still was...
The events took place wherever each person was located as Getting AT Ready moved online. It was something new and different for the whole format of the event but in the end, it was a grand success - with our planned speakers and panellists from both Ireland and Scotland all still involved. Despite the change in circumstances, thank you to all the 300+ attendees who got involved in Getting AT Ready Online and to all our exhibitors, speakers and panellists.
We need to say a huge thank you to one of our exhibitors, in particular, FindMyFlow, who freely provided their software to support the workshops for all attendees.
Keynote speeches and panel discussions
We kicked off the day with our Keynote speech on Digital Passports from Siobhan Long of Enable Ireland & Joan O’Donnell from FreedomTech (rewatch it here). Siobhan has worked in the field of Assistive Technology since 1991 where her current role involves the management of Enable Ireland’s National Assistive Technology Training and SeatTech Services. Joan O’Donnell is the Project Manager of FreedomTech, which aims to ensure the development of a comprehensive ecosystem of support around AT in Ireland.
This was followed by another keynote speech, this time from Steve Tyler from Leonard Cheshire Disability on the Future of Assistive Technology (rewatch it here). Steve Tyler is Director of Assistive Technology at Leonard Cheshire and has worked in the disability and accessibility domain for over 20 years.
After a break for lunch, we returned with a panel discussion on inter-country collaboration featuring Gerald McLaughlin from Perth College, Fiona Burns from the Scottish Funding Council, Lisa Padden from the University College Dublin, Russell Renton from the Student Awards Agency Scotland, Caitriona Ryan from the Higher Education Authority in Ireland, and Dara Ryder, the CEO of AHEAD (rewatch it here).
Workshops and prizes
As many of you will know from attending previous editions of Getting AT Ready, in between the various speeches and panel discussions we have different workshops running - lead and delivered by different professionals from within the education and assistive technology sector.
As the event was purely online this year, the workshops were all available to access after the culmination of the live discussions and all those who completed the workshops were entered into our prize draw where each of the exhibitors kindly some great gadgets from Amazon Echos to wine, iPads to vouchers.
Workshops included Supporting Visually Impaired Students by Stuart Lawler and Ruth Gallagher, Assessing and Supporting remote students by Kellie Mote, and the Cagney and Lacey Model of Assistive Technology by Trevor Boland.
We had some great feedback on the different workshops and the event in general. Here is some we received from a few very happy attendees!
This was really interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have just started the PDA in inclusiveness and feel this event was very relevant and useful to my course and my job role. Jillian, Fife
Excellent presentations: How the ROI have embraced the ‘AT Ecosystem’ was very enlightening and thought provoking. Having delivered research on Robotics and AI to an institution, I was fascinated by its development and future predictions for its application to disability assistance! Thoroughly engrossing! Alan, Belfast
This was an excellent Conference. Being online meant I could attend, which I could not have done if it had been in 'normal times' - thank you.
The Keynotes were very informative. I really enjoyed using FindMyFlow and it was a useful way of accessing information that would normally be scattered around or impossible to get near in a physical environment.
It would be nice to think that in the future it could be both physical and virtual as this may well increase awareness, engagement and attendance? Fiona, Glasgow
And last but not least, here are the winners of the prize draw!
- Sight and Sound Technology – iPad – Karen Morton, Dundee & Angus College
- FindMyFlow – Fitbit Alta Black – Jo Beacham, Access2Learn
- Claro – Amazon Echo Dot – Linda Ross, UHI
- Medincle – 2 bottles of wine – Anna Charles-Jones, ATOP
- Inspiration – £30 Amazon voucher – Norma Rodley, University of Dundee
- Sonocent – £50 Amazon voucher – Michelle O’Halloran, University College Cork
- Lexable – Box of goodies including a famous Lexxie teddy – Sean Doherty, Queens University Belfast
- Texthelp – £50 Amazon voucher – Annemarie Locke – West College Scotland
- Pro Study – Amazon Echo 5 – Margaret Laird, Glasgow Kelvin College
- Lightkey – Amazon Echo 5 – Monique Parnis, Rosmini Community School
Discover more on the Getting AT Ready Website: http://www.atready.co.uk/