Spectronics Team Presentations and Resources from Pathways 11 Conference November 2012


Three weeks ago, Greg O’Connor and I attended the Pathways 11 Conference – the major biennial event focused on education and employment needs of people with disabilities in postsecondary education in Australia. It was held at the Adelaide Convention Centre affording spectacular views of the River Torrens and surrounding parklands from the exhibition area which we enjoyed!

We met up with many “old friends” of Spectronics while there, along with making many new friends too. Thank you to all who sat in on our three presentations over the course of the conference. In response to the many requests for us to share our links and resources, we have compiled them here for you. Please feel free to share them with anyone else you feel might find them of value.

Congratulations to Darlene McLennan, ATEND President, and to Jayne Ayliffe and her busy South Australian Conference Committee team for an awesome Pathways Conference for 2012. Might be a challenge for the 2014 Pathways Conference team in Perth to better this one!

Main Conference Program Presentation

21st Century learners with diverse needs – Making learning accessible with the iPad
Presented by Greg O’Connor

This presentation addressed the question of whether Australian institutions are teaching and delivering training opportunities using a 19th century educational paradigm. For educational and training institutions in the 21st Century, mobile technology is an essential consideration for all learners, and no more so than when providing accommodations and learning adjustments for learners with diverse learning needs. Greg then covered strategies for using the iPad as an effective accommodation and transformative tool in education and learning.

One reference which was popular during Greg’s presentation was reference to the technology hype cycle (pictured above) which characterises the over-enthusiasm or “hype” and subsequent disappointment that typically occurs with the introduction of new technologies.

Also popular were the concepts of the SAMR Model of stages of technology adoption (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition) and the principles underpinning Universal Design for Learning – well known in post-secondary learning and disability support circles.

National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) Dinner Presentation:

Assistive Technology Trends and Future Directions
Presented by Barbara Landsberg

Key influences impacting on assistive technology development and adoption were covered including:

  • Improvement in our lifetimes of tolerance of difference and disability
  • Going mobile and BYOD (Bring your own device)
  • Storage and sharing in the Cloud
  • Consumers taking control of content and technology R&D
  • Convergence of assistive tech with mainstream tools
  • Wisdom of the crowds and growth of opportunities for development of collaborative PLNs (Professional Learning Networks)

To finish off the presentation, this fun YouTube clip demonstrated how a simple piece of technology could be used to effect to create high drama in a quiet city square.

Main Conference Program Presentation

Global Collaboration Extending Assistive Technology Professional Learning Networks
Presented by Barbara Landsberg

Keeping up with assistive technologies and the successful strategies for effectively applying them in diverse learning and disability support roles is difficult. Using the time-honoured strategies of listserve participation and occasional conference attendance, as funds are available, is simply no longer enough.

However the collection of freely available resources and valuable time-sensitive advice for teams supporting struggling students and those with disabilities has grown exponentially over social media channels – supporting building of powerful Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) without geographic boundaries. This presentation covered just some of the many social media tools available to facilitate sharing and learning on a global scale. Breaking down the barriers of sharing only at University, TAFE, state or country-wide level.

Still think social media is a passing fad? The Social Media Revolution 2012 video answers that question quite convincingly!

To help guide participants through the maze of social media options available, the Spectronics team have compiled this helpful document detailing key players and forums to watch and join. Here is the transcript of the TodaysMeet online discussion which happened as the presentation was in progress too.

The session was not intended as a “how to” use the social media tools, but we fielded lots of questions afterwards re how to get started on Twitter. This blog post titled, “Mom this is how Twitter works” is one our favourites for those new to Twitter and keen to join the 500 million other Tweeters!


Download “21st Century learners with diverse needs – Making learning accessible with the iPad”

as PDF (19 MB)

Download “Building your Special Education and Learning Support Professional Learning Networks”

as PDF (411 KB)

Download “Assistive Technology Trends and Future Directions”

as PDF (6 MB)

Download “Global Collaboration: Extending Professional Learning Networks in Learning Support and Special Education”

as PDF (4 MB)

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About Barbara Landsberg

Sales and Marketing Director
BOccThy, MBA

Barbara is an Occupational Therapist who joined the Spectronics team 14 years ago. Prior to that time, she spent 17 years in occupational therapy positions working with adults and children with a variety of physical disabilities and learning difficulties. She also held the position of Coordinator of the assistive technology service of the Independent Living Centre of Queensland for three years before moving to Spectronics. On completion of her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in 2010, she assumed the role of Sales and Marketing Director at the company and, among other roles, oversees running of the exciting and innovative Inclusive Learning Technologies Conference hosted every two years by Spectronics.

Barbara has a strong interest in the opportunities for students with disabilities or learning difficulties made possible through technology. She is also a passionate advocate of the use of social media tools to promote the power of inclusive learning technologies to enable independent achievement for all – whatever form that achievement might take.

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