TechAbility Conference 2018: Summary

A look back at the national TechAbility Conference in October 2018

TechAbility Conference 2018: Summary

31st October 2018

We’re delighted to have seen such a great turnout to the 2018 TechAbility Conference. Assistive Technologists and experts from throughout the country attended the event to hear the latest on using technology in specialist education provision.

Throughout the day, a phrase we heard repeatedly was:

“Why are there so many good sessions? I can’t choose which to go to!” 

A great piece of feedback to hear and we owe thanks to the speakers and delegates who made the day a success with their expertise and experience.  Topics were varied, but the common thread was the difference technology makes to enable access to education and leisure.  Virtual Reality, Voice Assistants, Exam Access, Tablets, Coding, Microsoft Office were just some of the topics covered.

But technology is no use without the means to deliver it.

In his keynote speech, Alistair McNaught peeled back the ‘Layers of accessible practice’ that are required to be in place to ensure meaningful results from any investment in accessible and inclusive practice.  Alistair highlighted the role of the Assistive Technologist – the key technology link between professionals from multiple disciplines. The Keynote went on to stress that importance of strategy when delivering inclusive practice:

“All of the “dabblers” and “enthusiasts” can only make a small impact until they are combined with strategy – only then does the value of investments rise well above the cost.”

Alistair McNaught

Over lunch, delegates worked to set the wheels in motion; talking to specialist exhibitors about their products and services or huddled in earnest conversation and networking.

The day closed with an Experts Panel who discussed good practice when implementing Assistive Technology. Panel members were drawn from specialist colleges, advisory services and the third sector. Some key points drawn out from the questions were:

  • To improve AT provision, ensure that high quality assessments take place which take into account context and future planning.
  • Consider the human element first and foremost when working with technology
  • Use the range of advice and support from experts in the field
  • Remember that you can’t know everything, so work together with other organisations

The day was a fitting testament to the TechAbility service and the outcomes we aim to achieve. The themes of the day had been identified through working closely with colleges and centres. If you’re interested in what TechAbility does and how you can take advantage, visit our website.


  • conference room full of people at TechAbility 2018
    "The range of talks was impressive and forward thinking."

View our Twitter moment to see all the interactions of the day.