Real Assistive Technology for Everyone (RATE) Conference 2019

Assistive Technology to Enhance Learning for All Students

Real Assistive Technology for Everyone (RATE) Conference 2019

The Real Assistive Technology Conference for Everyone (RATE) will be held on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Rachel Carson Middle School.

Fairfax County Public Schools will host the 2019 Real Assistive Technology for Everyone (RATE) Conference. The 2019 RATE Conference is an educational technology conference focusing on the use of assistive technology to support all students, especially those with special needs. The 2019 RATE Conference is sponsored by Assistive Technology Services (ATS), part of the Office of Special Education Instruction in the Department of Special Services.  

This year's keynote speaker is Fadel, an FCPS Post-Secondary student. Fadel will be sharing how assistive technology has changed his life and school experiences.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Sessions start after the AT Hallway and keynote speaker. Please see conference schedule for details. Participants will sign up for individual sessions the day of the conference. Please see session menus for session descriptions and session time. Breakout session topics include:

  • FCPSOn supports and blended learning
  • Reading and writing strategies
  • Early childhood classroom supports
  • Communication tools
  • Google Apps for Education and many more  

All FCPS staff and parents are invited to attend. Out of county teachers, support staff and parents are also welcome. FCPS employees will receive five recertification points for attending the conference.

Conference Schedule

Time Event
8:30 - 9:30 a.m. Registration, AT Hallway and Share Fair
9:30 - 10:15 a.m. Welcome and Keynote
10:30 - 11:30 a.m. Session 1
11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. Session 2
12:45 - 1 p.m. Session Evaluations and End of Conference

Session 1: 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Boardmaker Online Basics    
Allison Schmidt and Caitlin Radek        
In this session, participants will receive an overview of the basic functions and features in Boardmaker Online. Participants will learn how to find and download pre-made activities, utilize built-in templates, and create their own visuals including communication boards, schedules, and token boards.                

Building Self-Determination Skills In the Workplace and Post-Secondary Educational Setting 
Judie Lieberman, Aphroditi Gouvousis and Blair Kersh    
This session will explore techniques to increase independence, decision making, and advocacy for students in the workplace and post-secondary educational settings. Visual schedules, creating communication opportunities in the workplace, video-based instruction and time management techniques will be explored.

Core Language to Support Early Childhood    
Jenni Pazmino, Celeste Rodrigo and Katie Fiese
In this session, participants will learn strategies to integrate core language activities throughout the day for our youngest learners. These activities will help increase language development and participation opportunities in the classroom.                                     

Google for Littles    
Genie Yurgaites and Lindsey Thoms        
Kids of all ages can do awesome things with technology! The earlier that we start exposing students to digital literacy, the more established they will be on the basics of technology. This session will focus on G Suite for Education for elementary age children. Learn how to implement a variety of ideas and Google tools in the primary classroom. 

Assistive Technology Services Web Resources: What They are and How to Find Them
Lauren Rich and Rashida Owens        
Come and explore the ATS website and discover a wealth of resources to use in all classrooms!     In this session, participants will discover quick and convenient downloads and strategies for assistive technology implementation.

Technology Tools to Support Writing for All Learners
Ruth Mendelson and Karen Hawley        
This session will focus on ways your students can get the most benefit out of the writing tools available on FCPS student computers. Participants will explore tools to support writing,  including speech recognition, graphic organizers and Google supports.
Accessible Instructional Materials: AIM-VA
Alexis Preston, Lauren Hedden and Nicci Dowd 
In this session participants will learn all about AIM-VA, a service of the Virginia Department of Education providing accessible instructional materials to eligible Virginia K-12 students who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and are unable to access traditional print. Accessible instructional materials are alternate print materials which may be used by students who are not able to use traditional print formats.

All Means All: Implementing FCPSOn in Special Education Classrooms
Lindsay Ivey and Ashley Kiley        
FCPSOn is a transformation of learning for students and educators. At its core, it provides students with equitable access to meaningful learning experiences and technology to support their learning. In this session, participants will learn how Assistive Technology Services works in collaboration with the school teams to support students in the FCPSOn environment.    

Make Learning Engaging Through HyperDocs    
Michiyo Vangellow and Eric Fleming        
In this session, participants will explore HyperDocs and how they may be used in the classroom. This tool will capture your student’s interest and will promote active learning. The integration of  Google products and features to create engaging lessons will be shared. This session will cover material that would be appropriate for students in grades 1-12. 

Session 2: 11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Eye Gaze Access: Tips and Tricks    
Betsy Komoniewski and Karen Burke        
This session will review available eye gaze access options, specifically focusing on Windows 10 eye control. Participants will learn what the accessibility program looks like, how it works and provided with implementation ideas. 
How Tweet It Is: Using Twitter to Help You Improve Your Assistive Technology Skills   
Diana Ree-Reeder and Karen Wiltraut        
Board the tweet deck to explore the basics of Twitter and why it's a fantastic tool to enhance your professional learning! Participants will leave with knowledge of creating their own Professional Learning Network (PLN) and a way to interact with colleagues in ATS all year long!    

Learning Ally    
Jenn Regardie and Jennifer Carr
Join ATS and Learning Ally, a nonprofit provider of audiobooks, delivering equitable access to books for students who struggle to read. In this session, participants will explore how Learning Ally audiobooks support struggling readers in FCPS through providing access to grade level material and a variety of educator tools.

Technology Tools to Support Reading for All Learners    
Rachel Connelly and Karen Hom        
This session will focus on the ways your students can gain the most benefit out of the reading tools that are available on FCPS student computers. Participants will explore tools to support reading, including screen readers, web browsers/websites, FCPS online subscriptions, and more.     

Home Sweet Home: Strategies for Implementing a Communication Device in your Home
Colleen Kalamajka and Jeff Powers        
Does your child use an Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) device? Are you looking for ideas on how to help your child use the communication device at home? In this session, participants will learn the basics of core vocabulary, gain ideas on how to model language and use words with your child during the day. Teachers are welcome and will gain AAC implementation ideas as well.

Let’s Chat: Creating an Augmentative and  Alternative Communication (AAC) Club    
Mary Beth Fleming, Eric Fleming and Lindsay Clark    
Come discover a fun way to give your AAC users the opportunity to learn and use core language for a variety of purposes. This session will explore how some communication clubs were set-up and activities the students participated in to get excited about using their talkers. Participants will learn how to use tools in NuVoice software to create materials and Google Hangout to chat with a virtual buddy. You’ll see examples of how to integrate devices into cooking lessons, interacting with toys, playing games and weaving it throughout your lesson.

Blended Learning: The Evolution of Classroom Instruction    
Jarrod Andros and Meaghan Tracy        
Blended learning is more than just technology integration. Blended learning is a strategic combination of online and in-person instruction. In this session, you will learn how blended learning has the potential to break the century-old factory model of education and provides students with some element of control over time, place, path, and/or pace. Come learn ways in which Google and other tools can support blended learning in the classroom.                                            

Behavior, Reinforcement, AT, Oh My!    
Malia Waller and Amber Terry        
Come and explore the different ways assistive technology can support teaching desired behaviors using AT tools, communication supports, and reinforcement. Participants will be given templates for tools that they can use in their classroom to support behavior.