Why I Use Assistive Technology As a Presenter

Earlier in the year, I posted about why my memory sucks – how a softball injury has affected me. I truly appreciate all of the kind words I received from that post, and I continue to forage on with my sucky memory. I present on things I’m passionate about to some folks who may not entirely understand why I do things the way I do.

Brief synopsis:

  • I took a softball to the face several years ago (playing softball, not a rogue bystander injury)
  • It took 2 years of a liquid diet, maxing out all of my dental/physiotherapy/massage coverage, and a jaw surgery to address the physical issues
  • I now suffer from post-concussion syndrome, and haven’t quite figured out the nuances of my new memory
  • This injury has forced me (for now) to defer my Ed.D because I am no longer confident writing 100+ page papers that require me to remember things I wrote several paragraphs earlier
  • I am still learning strategies for dealing with my memory issues and welcome any suggestions

This year, I presented at several events, notably DevLearn…where I facilitated a 1-day pre-conference certificate workshop on Introduction to Instructional Design and a BYOD session on using Variables in Articulate Storyline 360.

In both of those sessions, I addressed a big of housekeeping: why I use assistive technology to help me present. Basically, it’s so that I can get all of the information I need to get to my audience. I understand that at times I may seem flakey or scatter-brained, but I assure you it’s not because I’m making excuses for myself. As someone who also suffers from anxiety, when I trip up during a presentation, it also stresses me out. I want everyone to feel like they’ve been able to take something valuable from my sessions, and I want to seem like a competent industry professional.

But….when session evaluation time rolls around, opening the files is always a moment of induced anxiety. You’ll never please 100% of the attendees or participants, and I’m fine with that, but I always kind of hold my breath while I read through to see what folks are saying about the assistive technology. This year I was incredibly surprised by all of the supportive feedback I received. I received a lot of great suggestions that I will take forward with me in my session-delivering-journey, and again, I will always be receptive to this type of constructive criticism.

As I work to finalize a presentation for my session with the E-Learning Guild for their Spotlight, I thought I would record a quick screencast that shows you how I create my session notes.

Check out the screencast below!


  1. says

    Ashley, We all face unique constraints that impede our ability to thrive; some are easily overcome, can be life-altering. Don’t let your unique obstacle keep you from achieving your goals and fulfilling your dreams. I’d like to offer my services pro bono as one of your strategic solutions to achieving your academic goals. It’s that simple.

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