Edtech 23 @ Law Society Dublin
Has it really been a few years since the Edtech conference last took place in Dublin? Well, traveling IS good for the soul, they say! After the online hiatus for Covid, last year the conference took place in UCC and was one of the largest attendances in recent times. So this year’s return to the Law Society, was a more balanced affair (just like the scales of justice!).
This year’s program was filled with excellent presentations from a wide selection of institutions on many different topics (and yes, including A.I.).
The weather in Dublin during Edtech was brilliant and welcome. It was memorable, sitting outside in the Law Society gardens in the blazing sunshine, merrily networking before heading into the dinner. Special mention to the friendly barman handing out sunscreen to those who needed it!!! Those, probably like myself, who hadn’t really thought about applying it for the conference, I didn’t think we were sitting outside too long, but the sun was cooking us all!
The excellent audio set-up for the presentation sessions meant that we were able to use Office 365 online “Present live” to give face-to-face attendees an option to scan a QR code on their mobiles and then get a real-time live transcript to our slides, including the ability to translate it into numerous other languages.
Once this was up and running, we then launched into the presentation. Our presentation at the conference was the “Accessibility Challenge”, where attendees were asked to make a snag list or take a note of when the content of their courses had the barrier being discussed. This helped people to focus on removing barriers that are being created without realising their impact, and to have them in mind for future content.
As we went through the list of potential barriers being encountered, attendees chipped in with their own experiences, for instance one pointing out their pet hate, which was files not being named descriptively, which makes it harder for anyone else to collaborate on the correct file. Of course, just imagine students having downloaded all the slide decks from each of their 10 modules – and all called slides1.pdf or slidesnew.pdf, without the name of the topic or name of the module!
Another attendee experience, which got plenty of feedback, was the benefit of having both captions and transcripts, not just captions. Namely:
People who are deaf.
People who are hard of hearing.
People with cognitive and learning disabilities.
Using content in loud environment or where silence is required.
People less fluent in language of audio.
Better Search engine (SEO) support of content.
It really was awesome that so many wanted to learn how to make their presentations, lectures and recordings more inclusive and to reduce the barriers to participation.
Well done to the organisers of this year’s EdTech, the friendly hosts at the Law Society, the unstoppable Gasta(!), and to all the presenters and attendees for a great sharing and learning conference, and we are most certainly looking forward to next year in Sligo!