ISAAC is the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, of which Dan is a member. In 2015, Dan was asked to be the keynote speaker at the National ISAAC conference for the country of Brazil. This was following a presentation in Portugal where the organizers of this large event were inspired by the nature of the Nika Project. Tech for Africa was the beginning of the Nika Project, but then they realized that they could think larger than just Africa; the “Giving” project was now a global organization.
Brazil has its own chapter of this organization and it’s annual convention draws over 500 SLPs from all over Brazil, a very diverse and expansive country. Dan saw this opportunity to not only inform therapists about the components behind the Nika Project, but to also extend the project and plant the seeds for intervention in rural special needs areas of this vast country.
Opening the conference with his talk, “Making a Difference”, Dan spoke of the tenets of the Nika Project:
- Keep it simple – for success, the tools should be intuitive
- Limit apps – pick non-content applications so all work can be quickly adapted for ANY learner in ANY language
- Create content that can be seen,heard, and experienced – use the power of mobile technology
Dan used the outreach of the keynote address to travel to 2 schools in Brazil where he brought several iPads loaded with the core apps to run the program. He gave workshops in each school to the entire teaching staff to let them know about how to duplicate the project. Teachers were energized and excited and this “hands-on” experience taught them the skills they needed to make this happen immediately.
Components of this project included:
- Professional development trainings for professionals
- Training for administrators
- Program development
Students impacted: Over 350 students in 2 schools in rural areas
Teachers/Therapists impacted: Over 600 SLPs in attendance at ISAAC; 50 teachers in 2 schools