Deena Kimmel, Marketing Specialist

Texthelp’s List of Recommended #ATIA 2018 Sessions

The Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) annual conference is taking place in Orlando, Florida from January 31 - February 3. ATIA is considered "the world's most extensive assistive technology conference" where the AT community can come together to network, learn, and share. If you are interested in the latest assistive technology, as well as best practices and trends for educators, teachers, and districts, this is the conference for you.

To help you navigate the incredible list of sessions, we’ve highlighted a handful that we’re most excited about. Below please find the list of Texthelp-recommended sessions.

Texthelp’s Sessions:

Thursday, February 1

12:00 - 12:20 pm: Got PDFs? Check out Texthelp’s New Collaborative PDF Reader
Jason Carroll, Texthelp (@jkcarroll)

Portable Document Format (PDF) files continue to be one of the most popular file formats found both on and off the web. They’re great when you need to retain formatting, restrict students from editing, or save a digital copy of a file. PDFs are also easily viewable on devices ranging from phones to Chromebooks, but there’s always room for improvement… Join Texthelp’s Global Product Manager to learn how Texthelp is creating the PDF Reader of the future. In addition to including the features you know and love like Text to Speech, Picture Dictionary, and a Vocabulary Builder, see how Texthelp is adding supports for annotations, real time collaboration, OCR, and more!

Friday, February 2

1:00 - 2:00 pm: Accessibility and UDL in a Collaborative Math Classroom
Jeff Levinson, Texthelp (@TH_JeffLevi)
Jason Carroll, Texthelp (@jkcarroll)

Creating accessible math has never been an easy process - until now! In this session participants will learn how to quickly and easily create digital math by typing, writing, or speaking directly on your Mac, PC, or Chromebook with EquatIO. Designed around UDL principles, EquatIO allows educators to quickly create and share math quizzes, docs, sheets and more. Students can then use common assistive technology supports to help read and respond to math digitally in a user friendly environment. Learn how to finally drop the paper and pencil and make math accessible for all! Bring a PC, Mac or Chromebook to try it during the session.

Friends of Texthelp's Sessions:

Tuesday, January 30 and Wednesday, January 31

8:00 - 4:00 pm: AT Bootcamp: Foundations Through Implementation
Brian Wojcik, University of Nebraska at Kearney (@bwwojci)
Kelly Fonner, Kelly Fonner Consulting (@kellyfonner)
Mike Cole, Use Your Words, P.C. (@therealmikecole)
Kirk Behnke, Behnke Consulting, LLC (@kbehnke)

This 2-day pre-conference workshop experience is designed for people new to the field of Assistive Technology or first time conference attendees. Day 1 will provide a fundamental overview of assistive technology (AT) service delivery processes that includes AT consideration, assessment, implementation, and application as well as a structure to further your personal learning experience. Through an array of topics, the participants will obtain a snapshot of AT supports related to empowering access for people of all disabilities, ages and environments. In addition, participants will develop an understanding of how to leverage access to both common and specialized technologies to realize a world where barriers are minimized and access/engagement is emphasized. Day 2 extends participants’ experiences by strengthening their knowledge and experience working with AT devices, and providing AT services. This session continues participants’ explorations of AT devices including communication, literacy, positioning/mobility, cognition, social integration. Furthermore, the session moves from the overview of AT services delivery processes from Day 1 to a deeper exploration of moving toward effective AT implementation using real-world examples. Both days are designed to allow choices for how participants would like to engage in their well as strategies to increase their own personal learning networks. Participants are also encouraged to attend the edcampAccess International unconference on Friday night - where the instructors will lead a session focused on the application of all the information that participants experienced throughout the conference week.

8:00 - 4:00 pm: Innovative Technologies for Learners with Reading and Other Learning Differences
Karen Janowski, EdTech Solutions Inc (@KarenJan)
Sharon Plante, Eagle Hill Southport (@iplante)

Many students with high-incidence learning differences are often overlooked when IEP teams consider assistive technology needs. Additionally, many IEP teams struggle with how best to consider, plan and implement appropriate assistive technologies with their students with learning variabilities. This collaborative, fast-paced and highly interactive pre-conference will focus on providing a neuroscience foundation, based upon the work of Judy Willis, MD (neurologist and classroom teacher) and exploring technologies to support learners with reading, writing, executive function, and math challenges.

With the focus on reading and writing during Day 1, participants will understand the educational rationale for using assistive tools that support students with alternative ways to access curriculum and innovative methods that help students demonstrate learning while accommodating for areas of variability. Numerous innovative technologies will be modeled so that participants will experience a variety of tools as learners. Universal Design for Learning principles will be modeled and embedded in the instructional methods used throughout the workshop.

Day 2 will focus on technologies related to math, executive functioning, and alternative and innovative ways to demonstrate learning. Participants will review case studies to guide consideration and implementation of appropriate AT recommendations and strategies. As a culmination of this day of learning, participants will develop a collaborative online resource that will serve as a Technology for Reading and Other Learning Differences Toolkit.

*If you participated in Karen and Sharon’s ATIA 2017 workshop, we encourage you to attend the 1-day, Wednesday session, which will offer new content and opportunities to network. For more information, please contact the presenters or

8:00 - 4:00 pm: Google Bootcamp 2.0
Mike Marotta, Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC (@mmatp)

Google Chrome and Chromebooks continue to drive technology integration in education. More and more schools are moving to the Google cloud based learning experience. With this paradigm shift, more classroom activities are being completed using technology. What does this shift mean for struggling students and Assistive Technology? How do educators ensure they are maximizing the use of this technology to support the instruction, not drive the instruction. Let’s dig deep into all the Googley goodness we can squeeze into two days. Not only will we explore Chromebooks, G Suite for Education and Chrome apps and extensions but we will also look at other Google tools we can use to meet the needs of all learners. For example, augmented / virtual reality with Google Cardboard and Daydream. We will learn in a UDL environment and experience Google supports that provide multiple means of engagement, representation and action/expression. Participants will dive deep into the G Suite of Education - all those Google apps that make up the productivity suite of tools (Doc, Slides, Sheets, Keep, Classroom, Sites). The Chrome operating system (OS) will also be analyzed for customizations we can employ to meet the needs of our learners, whether through built in accessibility features or adjusting features within the apps. Participants will also experience an array of Google Chrome apps and extensions that could be used as Assistive Technology supports to benefit ALL learners. By leveraging the power of this common browser, we can make significant customization to meet the needs of struggling students. Areas covered will include reading, writing, brainstorming, and organization. Through hands on learning experiences, which will promote a Universal Design for Learning environment, participants will develop strategies to integrate these powerful tools into the curriculum to promote a Universal Design for Learning classroom by engaging various learning styles through multiple means of engagement, representation, action and expression.

*This is a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) session. Please bring a Chrome enabled device (Chromebook, PC or Mac) to experience the power of these tools.

Wednesday, January 31

8:00 - 4:00 pm: Breaking out the AT Toolkit: A Hands-on Experience
Lindsey Huntley, NYC DOE Center for Assistive Technology
Maricris Formoso-Santos, NYC DOE Center for Assistive Technology
Loreto Dumitrescu, NYC DOE Center for Assistive Technology (@loretod101)
Mylene Matro, NYC DOE Center for Assistive Technology (@mylene_matro)‏

Do you work with a diverse population and need help connecting the dots? We will help you draw an AT picture for your school district. This session will show you how one of the most diverse districts in the country enables students in special education to access their curriculum. New York City serves 1.1 million students and 1,800 schools. The NYC Department of Education Center for Assistive Technology (CAT) has streamlined a toolkit that works with all of the various platforms in our schools.

We will explore several new case studies in form of videos, samples of curriculum tasks and actual work with students utilizing their AT. Attendees will learn implementation strategies to be used in the classroom. Presenters will discuss case studies of students evaluated by the NYCDOE CAT. We will show our recent pilot video conferencing implementation support initiative. Based on collaborative efforts between CAT and the IEP team, these students acquired the ability to access their curriculum alongside their peers and became active participants in their classrooms.  The students used various AT devices across platforms, such as computer operating system (OS/Win), mobile operating system (iOS), and web browser (Chrome).  Attendees will be given an opportunity to explore how to use AT with these platforms to help struggling students participate in a specific academic area (e.g., reading, writing, math, and communication). This will be a hands-on session with technology made available to the participants.

The CAT team provides assistive technology AT evaluations, trainings and implementation support to NYC students from age 3-21 in preschool, public, charter, and private schools.

*This is a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) session. Attendees are recommended to bring the following: iPad, laptop computer and/or Chromebook. The speakers will bring several devices preloaded with the toolkit that will be discussed from each platform which may include: Read and Write for Google, Co:Writer universal, Snap and Read Universal, Capti Narrator, WordQ, Clicker Apps,  Dictation, ModMath, CPen, Prizmo, Claro Apps, Proloquo2go, Touchchat, LAMP, Speak for Yourself, Total Talk, GoTalk NOW PLUS, and an eye gaze device, Tobii-Dynavox I series with Compass/Communicator/Indi software.

Thursday, February 1

11:45 - 12:45 pm: App Smackdown 2018!
Mike Marotta, Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC (@mmatp)
Karen Janowski, EdTech Solutions Inc (@KarenJan)
Brian Wojcik, University of Nebraska at Kearney (@bwwojci)
Kirk Behnke, Behnke Consulting, LLC (@kbehnke)

Sharing is everything right? Wouldn't it be nice if a group of people could just sit down and share different apps that can be used on iOS, Android or Chrome? If you answered 'yes,' then this session is for you! Join us for this year’s edition of the App Smackdown. In this session, participants will share with each other different apps that can be used with and/or by individuals with disabilities. Come join us for a fast-paced and exciting experience for sharing your knowledge and learning with others. Bring your devices with you to share because this session is all about YOU!! The hour flies by so come ready to learn. The facilitators will compile list of shared tools for future reference.

Friday, February 2

8:00 - 9:00 am: Innovation and Collaboration in Professional Learning
Rhianon Gutierrez, Boston Public Schools (@RhianonElan)
Mary Marcella, Boston Public Schools (@MarySLPBoston)
Jennifer McKee-Heinstein, Boston Public Schools
Laura Henry, Boston Public Schools
Aubrey Rubin, Boston Public Schools (@AubreyRubinSLP)

In Boston Public Schools, holding a high standard of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) district-wide has led to more inclusive opportunities for students to learn to their full potential. Departments are working together to provide proactive and personalized professional learning that prepares our teachers to meet the increasingly wide variety of students in our classrooms. Our project-based approach is facilitated by teachers and professionals from the instructional and assistive technology departments. In this session, you will learn about the process of establishing a cross-disciplinary professional learning community, discuss ways to find resources in your own school systems, and participate in the creation of an example project that can be brought back to your district.

8:00 - 9:00 am: The SETT Framework: More Relevant Today than Ever!
Joy Zabala, CAST and the National AEM Center (@joyzabala)
Diana Carl, Independent Consultant (@dfcarl)

In the technology-rich 21st century, it’s a daunting challenge to make decisions about which of the wonderful tools “out there” would help a person with disabilities do what he/she needs or wants to do where and when he/she needs or want to do it! The SETT Framework helps address this challenge. However, the Framework is sometimes pigeonholed into ONE phase of AT service delivery–typically assessment¬– rather than being used as a tool in all phases and stages of AT service delivery. In this session, we’ll share insights into the use of the SETT Framework during consideration, assessment, plan development in order to support implementation and evaluation of effectiveness. Come take part in a discussion that broadens understanding of the SETT Framework and extends its use to a focus on implementation and the importance of teaching to the “general case” - across a range of tools with common features.

9:20 - 10:50 am: Everyday Technology Spotlight: The “Write” AT & Apps for Note Taking
Mike Marotta, Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC (@mmatp)
Beth Poss, Educational Consulting (@possbeth)
Mystie Rail, Assistive Technology of Alaska

Long gone should be the days of having a scribe or designated note-taker as an accommodation on an IEP. But how do you promote independence and success of students for whom writing is a challenge? From tools designed with accessibility in mind, to everyday tools used widely in education, there are a range of technology resources that can support students who struggle with note taking. This fast paced session will examine a variety of tools accessible on a wide range of platforms, such as Chrome, iOS, and Android. Explore tools that provide supports for annotating texts, noting important evidence in online video, and that support students who are challenged with listening and writing simultaneously. Beyond just writing the notes themselves, we will also look at tools and strategies for organizing and making sense of notes. Both free and for fee resources will be examined and modeled.

4:30 - 5:30 pm: Building AT Capacity in Disability Services
David Banes, David Banes Access and Inclusion Services (@davebanesaccess)

Increasingly the identification and delivery of assistive technology products and services is provided through networks of services where assistive technology provides only one strand of activity. Within this session we will seek to understand the pressures upon providers to meet needs locally, including demographic and economic pressures, and in addition explore how capacity building within countries and between countries can be most effective. Examples of effective capacity building programs will be considered, including the relationship between elements of the AT ecosystem that will need to be integrated for such capacity building to be effective Furthermore, we will examine some of the major techniques of capacity building, beyond training and reflect upon models of embedding skills and knowledge and reflect upon the strengths and weaknesses of each, This will include a review of models of delivery of knowledge transfer including the increasing use of technology for direct delivery.

Saturday, February 3

8:00 - 9:00 am: When Agile Development Meets Big Data: Learning Analytics for Teachers
Dave Edyburn, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Despite the advancement of technology software and devices over the last several years, achievement has remained flat for many students and schools across the US. While massive improvements in technology cannot be denied, many supports and devices resemble those seen over a decade ago. A computer is still a computer, it’s now just smaller, faster and cheaper. One thing the advancement of technology has, and is continuing to provide, are services that tell us more about how software is being used. This session will dive into how software today is developed with the use of analytics and agile practices, and how that can help educators and schools make better decisions. Concerns over student privacy and data security will be addressed, along with examples of free software that can provide useful analytics now.


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