Getting AT Ready 2022 Line Up
Day 1 Headline Acts: Lessons from Lockdown
Keynote: George Rhodes, Director of All Able, Digital Accessibility Lead at University of Westminster
We all have pandemic stories. Some good, most bad. The last few years have been characterised by collective struggles against forces airborne and unseen but have been made even more challenging for many who already had more than their fair share of barriers.
The pandemic for many people with disabilities has delivered further discrimination, isolation or hardship, but occasionally a step forward to a more inclusive society.
George Rhodes, Director of All Able kickstarts off Getting AT Ready with a heart on his sleeve account of his experiences both professional and personal during the pandemic and how he is leveraging his experiences of the past two years to target his fight for a more accessible and inclusive world.
This keynote will take listeners on a roller coaster of topics, from discrimination in the supermarkets, loneliness and a change to working conditions, through inaccessible government action, and essential services for everyone but those with access needs, to that slim silver lining opening new opportunities for finding the right talent, building flexible and accessible education and new arguments for inclusive practices.
George is an experienced and award-winning public sector professional, having worked with Central and Local Government, Universities, Colleges, Schools, NHS, Police Forces, Fire & Rescue Services and more to deliver value for money, effective and secure IT services.
For several years George’s focus has been on the delivery of accessible and inclusive services for all citizens. Known for his extensive knowledge on UK accessibility legislation, he is the author of the original accessibility statement monitoring in Europe and his work on both statements and disproportionate burden misuse has been discussed by the European Commission as an exemplar for delivering accessibility for public services.
Alongside his Co-Founder Ben Watson, George has led a multi-award-winning initiative to improve accessibility of public sector organisations. In his spare time George studies for a PhD to develop improvements for tactile maps used in navigation.
Workshop: Breaking the myths of online access to learning
This session will be led by Frank Rennie, Professor at the University of the Highlands and Islands. Frank will be joined by Tom Farrelly, who delivers the GASTA sessions. Both Frank and Tom have vast expertise in the area of delivering specific learning online and the advantages of remote learning and teaching and we are delighted to have them share their knowledge and experience.
Workshop: Invent your own access tools!
We’re really excited to bring you a unique workshop with Alex Cleater from design studio Snook. Snook believes in connecting deep, strategic thinking to design to tackle the most complex challenges.
At this ‘invention stand’ the goal is to invent a tool to support and enhance the learning experience for your chosen pupil. You will be given a choice of real-life situations that pupils struggle with in the classroom to use as your starting point.
You will be given 15 minutes and plenty of arts supplies to create your invention! You can work in groups and sign up throughout the day. All levels of craft ability welcome and support is there to give you some advice and guidance if wanted.
Alex Cleator is a Principal User Researcher and Accessibility Specialist at Snook, a Service Design agency. Alex is an accessibility advocate and embeds inclusive practices into client work and education. She has applied inclusive design and accessible approaches in Public, Private and Third sector organisations.
Snook is a design studio built to make the world more human. Our purpose is to design viable, sustainable and fair services with people’s real needs at their heart. By connecting deep, strategic thinking to design we can tackle the most complex challenges. And by engaging with everyone from the boardroom to the waiting room we can effect positive change together.’
Day 2 Headline Acts: Universal Design for Learning
Keynote: Ben Scott – Getting UDL Ready: How to kickstart your own UDL journey
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that optimises learning and teaching for all learners – but how do you get started on your own UDL journey? In this session, Ben Scott, Present Pal’s Customer Research Manager, will take us through an overview of what UDL is, the guidelines that underpin the framework, and examples of tools that align with the UDL principles. Ben will draw upon his research on the experiences of neurodiverse learners in modern learning environments, as well as the experiences of students who receive the Disabled Students’ Allowance, to demonstrate how UDL can be applied in the real world. At the end of the session, you will have an understanding of where to get started on your own UDL journey and what resources from the UDL community around the world can be used to support you.
Ben Scott, MA (Hons), MBPsS, Customer Research Manager at Present Pal is a Psychology graduate from the University of St Andrews. Ben has previously conducted
research on the accessibility of digital mindfulness exercises and has spoken at the 2021 and 2022 UDL-IRN Summit and the HEIR conference. Ben is currently working on a number of collaborative projects with higher education institutions both in the UK and the US, exploring the challenges neurodiverse students face with communication-based learning activities.
Workshop: Accessibility Bible with Ben Watson, Director of All Able, Digital Accessibility Lead at UCL
Ben Watson, co-founder of All Able, will cover a range of topics around the theme of understanding the entire student journey and how, as a sector, we can crowdsource our way to a more inclusive environment for everyone post-pandemic.
Ben will share examples of student journey mapping projects he has been involved with and discuss how this can be used to frame an auditing approach and raise institutional awareness of inclusive design by ensuring that no part of the student journey is out of range.
We will also look at the institutional opportunities that accessible resources present in terms of serving up information in a variety of formats for the benefit of everyone and will invite participants to join our new venture to crowdsource the ultimate list of free and open source assistive technologies and guides on how to use them.
Ben, a former law librarian and qualified teacher, has a passion for inclusive design that has led him into researching and implementing approaches to inclusive information and technology provision for education.
He has experience of working with all UK education sectors (primary, secondary, further and higher education) and many years’ experience of working to improve both the physical and digital accessibility of education organisations.
In 2015 he initiated the OPERA (Opportunity, Productivity, Engagement, Reducing barriers, Achievement) project. This project reconsidered approaches to learning and teaching, digital systems and assistive technologies and catalysed a shift towards anticipatory reasonable adjustments and inclusive practice by design. This work has been hugely influential and was recognised in 2018 with Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Support for Students.
Ben is also one of the founding chairs of the Further and Higher Education Digital Accessibility Working Group (FHEDAWG) which has worked directly with the Government Digital Service to develop guidance for the Higher and Further Education sectors to best meet obligations under the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018.
Workshop: UDL Challenges and Solutions with Rohan Slaughter
On the theme of UDL, we’ve got Rohan Slaughter, who delivers the MSc in Assistive Technology at Dundee University. Rohan will tell us more about his work, as well as looking at the challenges and solutions of UDL.
Rohan has been working to support technology in the education sector for more than 20 years. Rohan has an IT, assistive technology, and education management background. Between 2015 and 2020 Rohan worked for Jisc, the EdTech not-for-profit that provides support to colleges and universities. Rohan is a member of the Natspec technology strategy group and is currently vice chair of the Karten Network board.
Rohan joined the University of Dundee as a senior lecturer in Assistive Technology at the end of 2020. Rohan is working to support the development and delivery of an MSc in Educational Assistive Technology that aims to professionalise the assistive technologist role and to provide professional development pathways for people who wish to support the assessment, provisioning and ongoing support of Assistive Technology. The first cohort started in January 2021 with a second cohort commencing work in January 2022.
Workshop: The Value of Training
Will Marshall, a trainer with many years of experience working with students, will bring us on a deep dive into training and why ongoing investment and commitment in this area is so important.
Workshop: Social Media with Georgia Mann, Junior Consultant at All Able
While social media platforms themselves have some catching up to do to become fully accessible, there’s a lot we can do as content creators to make what we produce accessible to everyone. From checking your colour contrast, to writing alternative text, to even knowing what the platforms allow you to do (spoiler; they are all different), this workshop will show you how to apply the principles of accessibility straight onto your social media.
Georgia will cover the basics in creating accessible content while still allowing creativity to flourish. We will also take the time to look at how to navigate the in-built accessibility tools across several social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and TikTok.
Georgia graduated from the University of Greenwich with a Masters in Literary London, following on from a first-class English Literature BA. She then worked in communications for Student Services at the University of Kent and quickly became their accessibility champion, largely focussing on creating and delivering training on accessible social media.
Georgia worked closely on the Kent Digital Accessibility Conference, and is passionate about furthering the cause of accessibility in marketing, communications and social media.