Tag Archives: Conferences

Top Ten Reasons to Avoid ATIA 2016

This is a blog only post. There is not an A.T.TIPSCAST Episode associated with this post.

ATIA 2016 logo with a null sign over it

If you haven’t heard about it before, there is this event coming up in a few weeks called The Assistive Technology Industry Association conference. It happens every year. I’ve been before and, unfortunately, I have to be there again. For me, it is too late. I must go. You, however, might still have a chance to avoid it, which I HIGHLY recommend you do based on the following top ten reasons…

10. You’re sick of learning new stuff. Learning new things is so 2015. Why would you want to learn about the latest innovative approaches to using technology to help people with disabilities? It’s better to stay home and binge watch some show on Netflix.

9. It’s in Florida in January. The weather is horrible. The glare from the sun can be blinding. That much sun can have a drying effect on your skin let alone the risk of sunburn. Better stay home, especially if where you live is cold. If you really need a place to go in January, consider Buffalo. I hear they need your help shoveling. You could do way more good to the world there than by learning how to be better at your job of educating others (not to mention build some muscles).

8. Pre-conference overload. If your supervisor is forcing you to go to ATIA, whatever you do, DO NOT GO to the pre-conference sessions.  Why spend even more time in Florida? What a waste! Especially avoid any pre-conference provided by Beth Poss and that guy she presents with sometimes (I forget his name, handsome though). They are doing something on UDL and 21st Century Learning. No one who has ever gone to one of their sessions before has come out happy, enthusiastic, or inspired to try the new tools and approaches they experienced. Who wants to learn best practices for engaging contemporary students? Pish posh. Long live worksheets! Afterall, that’s how I done learned all the things I done learned. Do not click on this link to sign up for their session – http://bit.ly/atia16precons Avoid it like you avoided spoilers for The Force Awakens.

7. MEGA pre-conference overload. Just who do these organizers of ATIA think they are? Offering the choice between two-one day pre-conference sessions and one two-day pre-conference sessions is ridiculous. I can’t decide what I want to eat in the morning let alone choose from all these different types of sessions. Don’t they know people want less choice, not more? Just tell me what to go to already! But whatever you do, don’t sign up to learn about how to establish, maintain, and grow your team from actual people who have established, maintained, and grown a team. Members of the Loudoun County Public Schools AT Team are the last listed pre-conference session on this page – http://bit.ly/atia16precons. Your team is already strong enough, large enough, and operates with practices streamlined enough that you don’t need to work with them to learn innovative service delivery design methodologies. If you’re like me, you’re too busy working harder to work smarter. Skip it like hopscotch.

6. It’s boring. Sessions are just borzzzzz. Sorry, fell asleep just thinking about all the face-to-face conversations I’ll be forced to have with professionals from all around the world who do what I do. Why, it’s absolutely mind numbing to think of the conversations where we’ll be talking about strategies and techniques that actually work for people. Choose to do something more interesting with your time, like watching paint dry.

5. Camping is not my idea of a vacation. Last year there was this free event AFTER the conference (like I wasn’t already completely drained from the experience of the actual conference) called Edcamp. It’s done in an informal “unconference” format where people just show up, throw ideas on a board, and then go to designated rooms to talk together about those ideas. What a nightmare! Who wants to sit around in large circles discussing the most important issues impacting people with disabilities…for free? This year, the organizers have the gall of doing it again and, get this, they are informally calling it “EdCamp After Dark” because it is in the evening. No. I’m sorry. I’d rather go clubbing than sit around talking with some of the “names” in the field about the issues that matter most. Avoid clicking here to register – http://bit.ly/edcampatia16 Call me an Uber and dial up the Taylor Swift. This guy is off to get his dance on.

4. Obnoxious vendors and their wares. Why do I need to float through the vendor hall touching hundreds of actual products, pushing the buttons, and interacting with the people who develop those products? I CAN GOOGLE IT! Vendors stand over their booths like trap door spiders waiting for prey to walk by so they can leap out and snatch them. Then, once they have you ensnared, they show you all the stuff their product can do to help all the people you’re supposed to be serving. Who would want to learn about the latest innovations and updates? They don’t want to hear about our practical consumer needs. They just want to further develop their products based on guesswork, not actual feedback from real people like you and me. If you have to be at ATIA, do yourself a favor and avoid the vendor hall altogether. Learning about products, new and old, from the people who actually make them is about as fruitful as punching yourself in the face. Instead, spend your time scrolling through your Facebook feed to see what your old high school buddies think about Donald Trump.

3. The facilities are disgustingly horrid. The constant sound of the waterfall pouring into the pool is irritating. The pool is surrounded by palm trees which provide way too much shade. There is even this tropical bird outside sometimes that makes this abnormal screeching sound reminding you that you’re not in Kansas anymore. What are you, a pirate? ARRRRGGHHHH!!! Don’t be fooled into thinking this is enjoyable, fun, or relaxing. It is just so stressful to have to decide how and where to position the lounge chairs. Avoid the hassle and stay inside, or better yet, home.

2. There’s a hashtag! It’s 2016 people! Haven’t you heard that conferences are passe’ and that you can learn everything online? Why BE at the conference when so many nerds will be posting their experiences using the #atia16 hashtag? You don’t need to actually be there interacting in person with people! Instead, you can just follow along online. People who have done that in the past have never ever stated a feeling of FOMO. They all say that it is just like being there. If it is just like being there, then why go? Prove the administrators right who said that you don’t need to travel to learn new things. They need the ego boost.

1. The selfish people. If you’ve been to ATIA before then you know the absolute worst part of the entire experience is how selfish the people are who attend. Presenters talking the entire time in their sessions telling you how great their ideas are is just one example of how conceited and stuck up people there can be. Without any respect for YOUR time, people interact with you to bring about real change in the lives of others. Some might think they do this out of a genuine concern and compassion for others; a desire to make the world a better place. But really, they just want to get their names out there. When you’re sitting is sessions, chatting in the hall, networking by the pool, and sharing meals with anyone at ATIA, just remember that they probably have some sort of secret agenda. They’re most likely looking out for number one, trying to manipulate you in some way, and have no genuine interest in actually helping you or people with disabilities.

I hope you heed my warnings. I hope I’ve convinced you to stay far away from Central Florida in early February. I have to be there but it might not be too late for you! You don’t have to click this link to register – http://bit.ly/atia16registration. You don’t have to sign up for the “awesome” pre-conference sessions. You don’t have to meet and hobnob with others in the field. You don’t have to succumb to the pressures of the pool. You don’t have to go at all, do you?

Unfortunately yours,
Chris

Some Upcoming Live Presentations

The Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference in Orlando, Florida – February 2016

One-day Pre-conference – Universal Design for 21st-Century Learning (with Beth Poss) REGISTER NOW!

One-day Pre-conference –Evolution of an AT Team: Real World Experiences Shaping Practices (with Sally Norton-Darr, Stacy McBain and Mark Nichols) REGISTER NOW!

ISAAC Conference in Toronto, Canada – August 2016

AAC Practitioners in the 21st Century: Leveraging Our Efforts through Social Media and Digital Technologies (with Carole Zangari)

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ATIA Pre-Conference Announcement – Digital Make & Take

Digital Make and Take: Digging Deeper

Advertisement for Digging Deeper Presconference

Two Day Pre-Conference, January 28th and 29th

 2014 Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference

 with Christopher Bugaj and Beth Poss

LEARN MORE & REGISTER 

How often do you go to workshops, learn about new tools but upon returning home, never have time to develop your skills with the tools in order to use them successfully?

Don’t Sit N’ Get!

Do More. Learn More. Create More. Accomplish More.

We created a two day session which provides you with the opportunity to dig deep, learning how to use various digital applications with guidance and support. Come with an idea for an initiative, program, lesson, or activity that you’d like to start in your educational institution to propagate a change. Brainstorm, cultivate, and formulate that idea into something tangible and actionable using digital tools. Create a resource with the tools to take back home to use with students, clients, colleagues, or other staff. Use the time in this session to see your idea all the way through to fruition with guided practice from the facilitators. This session will minimize talking at you and maximize hands on doing!

NEED IDEAS? CONSIDER CREATING ANY OF THESE:

Strategy-A-Day Calendar

Multimedia Professional Development Workshop

Blog

Social Media Presence (using tools like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Pheed, LinkedIn, SnapGuide, etc.)

Podcast

Video Channel

App Review Resource

Online Professional Development Workshop

Multimedia Slideshow Series

Wiki

eBook

Comic Strip Series centered around a particular topic

(ex. 5 Comics to Teach Core Vocabulary, 5 Comics to Teach UDL, etc.)

Social Bookmarking Group

LEARN MORE & REGISTER 

A.T.TIPSCAST Episode #112: Taking the “Ill” Out of Literacy at VSTE ’12, Part 2

Title Slide from the Taking the "Ill" out of Literacy presentation from VSTE 2012

Episode Overview-

This episode of the A.T.TIPSCAST is sponsored by Texthelp, provider of the award-winning literacy solution Read&Write GOLD. To learn about Read&Write Gold and their suite of web apps click on the banner below!

Texthelp Advertisement

Use promotion code ATTIPS13SAVE10 to get 10% off online orders of Read&Write GOLD!

Cannot be combined with other offers. Offer expires May 31, 2013.

Episode #112 features the second half of the recording of a live presentation by Christopher and Melissa Bugaj at the 2012 Virginia Society for Technology in Education Conference about commonly recommended,  evidence-based reading solutions. Access the entire presentation from http://bit.ly/vste12literacy.

A.T.TIPS in this Episode –

A.T.TIP #330 – Recordmp3.org (to record and save audio files)

A.T.TIP #331 – Biblionasium.com (for Reading Logs)

A.T.TIP #332 – The philosophy of using least restrictive tools first to solve a problem

A.T.TIP #333 – Prescribe television programs based on targeted goals

A.T.TIP #334 – Wordgirl (Television Show) Image of WordGirl flying and Captain HuggyFace jumping

A.T.TIP #335 – WordWorld (Television Show)

Image of the characters of Sheep, Duck, Pig, Dog, and Ant surrounding the Word World logo

A.T.TIP #336 – Sesame Street (Television Show)

Image of many characters from Sesame Street surrounding the Sesame Street logo

A.T.TIP #337 – Closed Captioning feature of YouTube.com

Tutorials – http://bit.ly/turnoncconyt

A.T.TIP #338 – Use “Frill-less” e-books

A.T.TIP #339 – Guided Access accessibility feature of iOS (iPad)

Tutorial – http://bit.ly/guidedaccessonios

Upcoming Presentations 

FREE Webinar: Can You Hear Me Now? Integrating Audio in the Classroom with Melissa Bugaj for the Virginia Society for Technology in Education. Wednesday – April 10th, 2013 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm ET

Contact Information-

About.me/chrisbugaj

Twitter.com/attipscast

attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes

A.T.TIPSCAST Episode #111: Taking the “Ill” Out of Literacy at VSTE ’12, Part 1


Title Slide from the Taking the "Ill" out of Literacy presentation from VSTE 2012

Episode Overview-

This episode of the A.T.TIPSCAST is sponsored by Texthelp, provider of the award-winning literacy solution Read&Write GOLD. To learn about Read&Write Gold and their suite of web apps click on the banner below!

Texthelp Advertisement

 Use promotion code ATTIPS13SAVE10 to get 10% off online orders of Read&Write GOLD!

Cannot be combined with other offers. Offer expires May 31, 2013.

Episode #111 features a recording of a live presentation by Christopher and Melissa Bugaj at the 2012 Virginia Society for Technology in Education Conference about commonly recommended,  evidence-based reading solutions. Access the entire presentation from http://bit.ly/vste12literacy.

A.T.TIPS in this Episode –

A.T.TIP #322 – The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd (Podcast)

A.T.TIP #323 – Lego Comic Builders

Lego City                             Lego Star Wars                       Lego DC Universe

      

A.T.TIP #324 – Reading for Function (Reading Community Signs)

A.T.TIP #325 – MindMeister.com (Graphic Organizer)

A.T.TIP #326 – TarheelReader.org (Accessible e-stories)

A.T.TIP #327 – VoiceOver for iOS (Text-to-Speech)

A.T.TIP #328 – Speak Selection for iOS (Text-to-Speech)

A.T.TIP #329 – Editing Checklists

Upcoming Presentations 

FREE Webinar: The Great Eight with Sally Norton-Darr for the Virginia Society for Technology in Education.  Wednesday – March 13th, 2013 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM ET.

FREE Webinar: Xbox 360 & Avatar Kinect with Dr. Tara Jeffs, Karen Dietrich, and Mark Nichols for the Virginia Society for Technology in Education.  Wednesday – March 20th, 2013 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM ET.

FREE Webinar: Can You Hear Me Now? Integrating Audio in the Classroom with Melissa Bugaj for the Virginia Society for Technology in Education.  Wednesday – March 6th, 2013 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM ET. Postponed due to inclement weather. Rescheduled for Wednesday – April 10th, 2013 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm ET

Contact Information-

About.me/chrisbugaj

Twitter.com/attipscast

attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes

A.T.TIPSCAST Episode 101: UDL NEXT

An arrow pointing to the right made up of many little green UDL's

Episode Overview-

Cover for The Practical (and Fun) Guide to Assistive Technology in Public SchoolsThis episode of the A.T.TIPSCAST is sponsored by the book, The Practical and Fun Guide to Assistive Technology in Public Schools.

Episode #101 of the A.T.TIPSCAST features a brief discussion about what comes next in one’s personal quest to learn more about the implementation of the Universal Design for Learning framework. Download a .PDF Transcript of this episode.

This is the first episode of Season 6 of the A.T.TIPSCAST!

A.T.TIPS in this Episode-

A.T.TIP 288 – SpiderScribe.net – Web-based Graphic Organizer

An example of a graphic organizing web made using Spiderscribe.net. Features UDL Next logo, small google maps picture of Orlando Florida, and two text bubbles with links to presenation information about ATIA 2013A.T.TIP 289 – UDLResource.com by Paul Hamilton

Upcoming Presentations

REGISTER NOW!

Logo for ISTE's Course on UDLUniversal Design for Learning – ISTE 6 Week Online Course – Starts September 10th, 2012.

Mission Possible: Proliferating a Culture of Universal Design for Learning with Beth Poss & Chris Bugaj. January 29th & 30th, 2013 at the Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Contact Information-

About.me/chrisbugaj

Twitter.com/attipscast

attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes

A.T.TIPSCAST Episode #87: Listening Station Strategies

Episode Overview-

This episode of the A.T.TIPSCAST is sponsored by Night Light Stories. Night Light Stories is a free audio podcast featuring original stories for children of all ages! Learn more at nightlightstories.net or subscribe now in iTunes!

Badge for Night Light Stories Dot NetEpisode #87 features a discussion of implementation strategies and resources for using free audio fiction in the classroom by special guest host Melissa Bugaj. She also blogs about family exploits and adventures at http://accordingtomags.blogspot.com.

Also, I’d like to thank Tom Woodward for contributing the bumper at the beginning of the episode. You can check out his website at http://bionicteaching.com.

A.T.TIPS In This Episode-

A.T.TIP #247 –  The Sesame Street Podcast (Video Podcast)

A.T.TIP #248The Storynory Podcast

A.T.TIP#249Barefoot Books Podcast

A.T.TIP#250Librivox.org

A.T.TIP#251Loudlit.org

Also Mentioned In This Episode

A.T.TIP#58Night Light Stories

A.T.TIP#229Podiobooks.com

Research –

Article:  Listen Up – Using audio books to help improve reading

Contact Information-

About.me/chrisbugaj

Twitter.com/attipscast

attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes

A.T.TIPSCAST Episode #86: Strategy Smackdown @ VSTE 2011

Visual of the text "Strategy Smackdown VSTE 2011" over a red starburst

Episode Overview-

This episode of the A.T.TIPSCAST is sponsored by Texthelp Systems, provider of award-winning literacy solutions including Read&Write GOLD and Fluency Tutor. To learn about these products and their new suite of web apps go to www.texthelp.com.

Read & Write Gold, TextHelp, and Fluency Tutor logos

Episode #86 features a round robin resource sharing event conducted during the Virginia Society for Technology in Education 2011 Conference in Roanoke, Virginia known as the “Strategy Smackdown.” Participants in the Smackdown shared different tools useful to help educate students.

Also, I’d like to thank Adam Bellow for contributing the bumper at the beginning of the episode. You can check out his website at  http://edutecher.net.

Special thanks to Andy Rothenberger for taking notes of the event (which helped tremendously in putting the list below together) and for posting his notes to the VSTE 2011 Collaboratively Google Doc.

A.T.TIPS In This Episode-

A.T.TIP #233: http://superherosquad.marvel.com/cyoc by Chris Bugaj

Previous A.T.TIP #149: www.taggalaxy.de by Adam Bellow

A.T.TIP #234: Twiddla.com by Andy Rothenberger

A.T.TIP #235: Elmo’s Adventures in Spending, Saving, and Sharing Podcast by Chris Bugaj

A.T.TIP #236: Edmodo.com by Rebecca Evan

A.T.TIP #237: Schoology.com by Adam Bellow

A.T.TIP #238: Toontastic iOS App by Bambi Feighner

Previous A.T.TIP #127: Wordle.net by Liz Thomas

A.T.TIP #239: Tagxedo.com by Andy Rothenberger

A.T.TIP #240: Tagul.com by Chris Bugaj

Previous A.T.TIP #225: ABCya Word Cloud Generator by Chris Bugaj

A.T.TIP #241: GoSoapbox.com by Adam Bellow

A.T.TIP #242: Polleverywhere.com by Adam Bellow and Chris Bugaj

A.T.TIP #243: Eflnet.com by Liz Thomas

Previous A.T.TIP #190: Wallwisher.com by Liz Thomas

A.T.TIP #244: Corkboard.me by Andy Rothenberger

A.T.TIP #245: Popplet.com by Chris Bugaj

A.T.TIP #246: Crocodoc.com by Andy Rothenberger

Also Mentioned In This Episode-

Previous A.T.TIP #58: NightLightStories.net by Chris Bugaj

The LiveScribe Pen by Liz Thomas

Contact Information-

About.me/chrisbugaj

Twitter.com/attipscast

attipscast@gmail.com

Register as a fan of the show to receive e-mail alerts for new episodes