Such a Wonderful Day

“Such a wonderful day,” said Sam Sennott on his birthday at Closing the Gap. He was not alone in that sentiment. Sam Sennott and David Niemeijer treated participants to a fantastic 2.5 hour session of Proloquo2Go. Participants learned how to utilize Proloquo2Go via lecture, demonstrations, tutorials, and exploration on iPod touch devices.

Sam and David’s session was part of 200 sessions presented at the 2009 Closing the Gap Conference on October 15-17. The conference began with 25 pre-conference sessions on Oct 13-14, including a hands-on lab for using iPhone and iPod touch applications in assistive technology.

During the pre-conference, I was honored to present with Sam and David in the iPhone and iPod touch session. Sam and David presented Proloquo2Go in the morning. In the afternoon, Sam and I presented other applications for assistive technology including Cute Math, Five Little Monkeys, Eye Glasses, Tone Pad, Barbecue, AppBox Pro, and much more. Each participant borrowed an iPod touch to explore the applications, after learning from demonstrations and tutorials. At the end of the day, David facilitated a great Q & A for Proloquo2Go – each participant wrote down a question for us to answer.

On the next day, Thursday, I attended morning sessions on iPods for reading, AAC competence, and Universal Design of Instruction. I learned from all the sessions as I tweeted #CTG09 notes, but I especially enjoyed learning about how to implement iPods for reading. I was reminded of the importance for including administration in such a program, and I how I could utilize a Belkin Rockstar splitter if I didn’t have 1:1 iPods.

In the afternoon, I presented Speech-Language Pathology Sharing 2.0. I think that it went pretty well, but I still think I could improve many things. One of the things is that I could use Keynote instead of Powerpoint, to have a more professional looking presentation. At the end of the session, I received a question about how much time I spend per day on web 2.0. It was a difficult question to answer because it really depends on my time and what I’m doing. I ended up saying that it depended, and that it could be anywhere from a half hour to several hours per day. I wonder how others would have responded to such a question.

On Friday, I attended sessions for PODD, Proloquo2Go, and cool/free applications. It was great to see Linda Burkhart, who vibrantly spoke about PODD. I enjoyed learning more about the organization and social components involved in PODD. It was also great to hear, as I’ve heard her say before, that individuals can utilize both high-tech and low-tech AAC. The last session I attended was Dan and Sam’s cool/free applications. It was great to see them dueling back and forth, trying to out do one another’s application. They both presented dual-platform applications, but Sam focused on Mac applications while Dan focused on PC applications. Among many applications, I learned about DSpeech, iLighter, and VocabGrabber. And, although, I knew about Mac’s voiceover, I learned from Sam that it could be used for text-to-speech in iChat.

Throughout the conference, I had a great time meeting people. I was able to put faces to many QIAT contributors. I learned a lot from them and many other people I met at the conference. I will definitely cherish my first Closing the Gap Conference in 2009.

P.S. I didn’t include any information about the vendors in this post because I spent about 95% of my time at sessions.

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