In January I was fortunate enough to attend two (2) awesome conferences in Orlando FETC and ATIA.  FETC Florida Educational Technology Conference is Florida’s official State Tech Conference but it is really much more. FETC is attended by people internationally with speakers as well known as Ed Begley Jr., Hall Davidson , Gail Lovely  and Scott Kinney to name a few.  Many of you attended FETC and had a great experience. I am sure you came away with valuable information on technologies and strategies that you will use to increase relevancy and efficiency in your classrooms and districts.  FETC 2010 was an outstanding success!

ATIA was also held in Orlando, although in a smaller venue, Caribe Royale. The Assistive Technology Industry Association, ATIA was also a huge success! The ATIA Conference features the latest products and services, showcasing more than 125 exhibitors in one of the most comprehensive exhibitions in the industry. We met with leading AT suppliers to get our questions answered and get hands-on experience with the most up-to-date AT technologies. 

I am sure many of you are asking: What is Assistive Technology?

Assistive Technology (or AT) is any item, piece of equipment, product or system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities.

 The goal of AT is to provide technologies to enhance learning, working and independent living for people with disabilities. ATIA helps people with disabilities and those who serve them identify the best products and services for assistive technology users to achieve more independence and improve the quality of their lives.

Some of the areas AT looks at are Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Physical access and Mobility, & sensory impairment in addition to education and learning.  Differentiated instruction & UDL (Universal Design for Learning )are buzz words when discussing Disabled students.  When working with a student with disabilities and AT we must teach to the students’ strength.

Many of the teachers I work with use Discovery Streaming and the builders to assist them in their lesson plans for individual students.  Discovery Streaming allows students to be independent yet also work on the same content as others.  It allows for differentiated instruction and UDL – one lesson for all students. Thank you to Discovery for making my job easier! 


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  1. Cheryl Watford said:

    FETC sure was a blast, including the day before with our ‘Sea World Day of Discovery’. I picked up a few interesting tidbits about new software and hardware to be used in the classrooms, and made a few more working relationships with fellow techies…

    I have never attended an ATIA conference, but I believe a few ESE teachers from my school may have gone…

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us!

  2. Howard Martin said:

    I learn a lot from the AT teachers I work with. One recently showed me how she uses her iTouch with a couple of apps that either sign phrases from a word bank, give her an active Boardmaker-type icon to speech tool, or play Tumblebook from anywhere in the room. I am frequently impressed with what my AT teachers use successfully.

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