ATIA 2015 Recap

Reposted with permission from

For those of you that didn’t get a chance to make the annual Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference I’m sure I’ll be one of the many to say that you missed a great show. With over 2600 attendees and 375 educational sessions it was the biggest (and busiest) conference yet. I’ve included a recap below so that if you missed the event you will still be in the know.


Upon arriving I was amazed to see the number of people attending pre-conference sessions this year at ATIA. Two of the pre-conference presenters I spoke with over lunch had over 50 participants in their day long sessions. Not only is this an increase from what I’ve seen in the past, but it also occurred during the “Nor’easter” snow storm that was pounding the Northeast.

ATIA’s pre-conference set the stage for an even greater main event. Sessions on a wide range of educational topics related to Assistive technology took place Thursday – Saturday. You can find a list of presentations and their associated handouts here.

Texthelp was involved early on with presentations. Martin Mckay, Texthelp’s CTO kicked things off with an 8am session on 7 New Tools to Make Google Apps for Education Accessible. These new tools included updated Word Prediction, a Speech Input tool, Simplify for webpages and more all for Google Apps users. You can find a link to Martin’s slides here.

I followed Martin’s session with a presentation on integrating Effective Strategies with Google Apps for Education that I co-presented with Jason Gibson. There we announced an exciting new professional development tool for educators that will be available soon so be sure to check back here often for details.

In addition to all of the great sessions, Texthelp held the 2nd annual Rock, Paper, Scissors Superbowl at the customer reception Thursday night. Once again it did not disappoint! Attendees chose a partner to play a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winner would then face another winner while the loser cheered them on. This repeated until there were only two winners left. The final overall winner took home a new Chromebook.

Group Playing Rock Paper Scissors

There were many other activities and Texthelp shared some major announcements including our 1 millionth Google user, the release of Read&Write for iPad and Android, and the new Read&Write version 11.5 for Windows.

To have a look at some of the on the ground action at ATIA be sure check out the twitter feed from the conference by searching for #ATIA15. There you will find many speakers, participants and exhibitors sharing their thoughts and resources from this years conference.

In Summary, ATIA 2015 was great. We reconnected with many old friends and made some new ones along the way. We’re already looking forward to ATIA 2016. Hope to see you there!

Did you attend ATIA? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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About Jason Carroll

Jason first learned of Assistive Technology while working on his undergraduate degree where much of his spare time was spent assisting a regional education centre with basic technology needs. Amazed at how this technology could benefit so many students (particularly those he grew up with) he was hooked and immediately became an expert at the centre. After receiving his Masters, Jason returned to the coop to serve as a full time Assistive Technology Consultant serving over 200 schools in the central Kentucky Region.

Since this time, Jason has trained thousands on Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning concepts throughout the United States and beyond. His focus is on integrating research based practices into the work he does and helping others ensure that what they are doing works. He specialises in assisting people to bridge the gap between operation of technology and actual implementation. Jason is a published author, has taught Instructional Technology and Universal Design for Learning at the University level, and spends a significant amount of time on e-Learning and blended learning initiatives. He is a graduate of the Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP) from California State University at Northridge and holds a Masters in Business Administration.

Currently Jason serves as Product Marketing Manager for North America at Texthelp Inc. where he oversees new product launches and speaks nationally on a variety of Assistive Technology topics.

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