#ATIA16 – Learn, Share & Connect

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It is upon us again – ATIA! So excited for a full week of learning, sharing and reconnecting with AT friends (and connecting with friends to-be) at the annual Assistive Technology Industry Association conference in Orlando, FL.

I was reading my ATIA blog post from 2014 and saw some parallels. In 2014, I was digging out of 12 inches of snow – this week, I was digging out of 2 feet of snow! Between that post and today, I started my own consulting company and experienced some of the most rewarding work of my AT career. Now more than ever, I need the three Rs I mentioned in the original post:

Renew, Reflect, and Recharge

I am looking forward to renewing friendships with people I only get to see one or two times a year. Now in the age of Twitter (and especially #ATchat), we are able to easily talk with each other to share ideas. But actually being in the same physical space and getting to talk face to face is so powerful – and actually that is my favorite part of the conference experience.

One big change from 2014 to this year – our 2nd Annual edcampAccess International unconference! This is the way I recharge.

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edcampAccess International 2015 group discussion about future of AT profession

Built on principles of connected and participatory learning, Edcamp strives to bring teachers together to talk about the things that matter most to them: their interests, passions, and questions. This year – we have edcamp after dark. Our sessions will happen Friday night – allowing participants to experience the conference during the day then meet at edcamp to find ways to implement the new strategies and tools.

Last year’s event was amazing. A dedicated group of professionals stayed AFTER the conference ended on Saturday afternoon to share ideas and talk about providing tech supports to individuals with disabilities. I was proud to be part of that group and the meaningful conversations that flowed that day.

We have over 150 participants (from several different countries!) already registered and expect more once we are on-site. There is still time to get your FREE ticket. Visit our Eventbrite page and register.

Follow our hashtag to experience all the learning and sharing #edcampXs16

Make the most of your conference experience!

These tips were from my 2014 post, but they still resonate today.

Some quick tips to make it through the conference:

  • You can’t go to every session! Don’t even try. You will end up sitting it a corner of the conference center muttering to yourself about apps, iPads, Chromebooks and other things we won’t be able to make out.
  • Prioritize sessions you are interested in. If you came with a co-worker – split up and cover more ground. Even though it is fun to experience the sessions together – this strategy will let you take more from the conference.
  • Download the conference app and plan your time – atia.org/mobile
  • Make new connections – sit with someone new at lunch, strike up a conversation before a session starts. The connections you make at this year’s conference may provide you help somewhere down the road.
  • Most importantly – Breathe! Take a minute to step outside and get some fresh air.

Don’t forget – you don’t need to be in Orlando to share in the learning. Follow the conference on Twitter to learn & share.

#ATIA16

See you in Orlando!

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