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TechSharePro 2018

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TechSharePro 2018 took place this week at Barclay’s Bank , Canary Wharf in London and sponsored by a number of organisations including AbilityNet, Google & RNIB. Great event with lots of inspiring talks and ideas to share. Here are just a few of them:-

Google Accessibility

Voice access – control the whole of the device, voice control on a chromebook. Tried it but not as comprehensive as I thought.

Google Accessibility Extensions


Research – User research

Important ideas can come from just 5 people! It doesn’t take oodles of effort and is cheap to do. All you need are the users and time to do it.

Accessible Media – 150,000 programmes with Audio Description

Channel 4 very good audio description

BBC no proprietry open standard format . Able to mix and create good audio description. Interchangeable media incorporating all types.


Samsung tv’s do have fairly good accessibility features and a 32inch screen but alas you have to press the remote button to access voice control


Accessibility Theatre

This was a surprising good session. Good to hear AT is being used in the Arts.

National Theatre are using Smart glasses for open caption theatre. Brilliant idea and looks a cool place to visit if you are hearing impaired.

Goals for 2019 at the National Theatre all performances to have smart glasses available for those with hearing loss to have caption direct from the stage

AT goals for the National Theatre in 2019 using augmented reality captioning


Neil Millican on Sustainable Accessibility

IAAP & Apprenticeship, RNIB, HEX DESIGN, ABILITYNET – recognised profession

Trail blazer group first intake for Apprenticeship in 2019

Reduced reality – filter over-stimulation that goes to the other end of augmented reality 


Make disability factors mandatory (Amen!)

VivifyMe – Android and apple in the future . Launching August 2019

Dementia friendly app but can’t tell you what it does yet ! Because i honestly don’t know!

Lewis Hine – “friend finder”

Lewis is an inspiring individual who has a medical condition that denies him access to school when it affects him. He wanted to reach out to others and discovered an amazing amount of people in the same situation as him take a look at:-

“Prom in a box “ – live prom link through A1 robot – great idea to get teens and young people who because of illness miss so much to attend a prom.

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US steps up efforts on AT

Legislation has greatly expanded the use and awareness of assistive technology in the US, Mike Marotta of Inclusive Technology Solutions told BATA members in an exclusive presentation.

Marotta, a well-respected AT professional, was speaking at the AT into the USA seminar. He detailed the so-called dyslexia laws adopted by all but seven States in the US that ensured early screening of students and provided support for educators in assisting students with dyslexia.

There remained, he said, a balance to be struck between accommodation in schools of a child with a learning difficulty and the more demanding remediation that involves helping a student overcome a learning difficulty.

The assistive features of Chrome and Office 365 were widely used in US schools who were largely committed to cloud-based systems.

The Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act had also had an impact on assisting disabled people into work. Marotta explained how the Pre-Employment Transition Service (PETS), established by the Act, improved the chances of a disabled person finding a job.

PETS provided work-based learning experience, counselling and training in social skills and independent living. The scheme accounted for 15% of federal funding for disabled people.

However, there was a need to convince those involved in PETS that AT has a part to play and questions about whether State Departments of Labor or School Districts should pay for equipment.

Marotta noted there had been a marked rise in requests for help for people with autism.

So far as augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) was concerned, Marotta talked of how the technology was being used to deliver creative education. But practitioners had concerns about consolidation in the industry and also about a lack of data about usage patterns of AAC.

Marotta also gave his audience useful pointers on where to find further information about the US market. All States have programmes that provide demos, loans of equipment, re-use of devices and funding. Contact information about those who run these programmes can be found at

The Quality Indicators for AT Services (QIAT) is a grassroots group focusing on education, while #ATchat provides a forum for educators from around the world.

Copies of Mike Marotta’s slides can be found at