The last two days were spent at Harbour Centre Campus in downtown Vancouver, where we hosted a two day conference on the topics of mental health and autism. The Executive Director at ACT brought together an excellent collection of speakers; international, adults on the spectrum, researchers, and practitioners. This variety of speaker provides many different approaches and understanding of the topic, and also reinforces the commonalities (one of ACT’s objectives is always to break down the silos, to get the researchers, practitioners and families talking to each other productively).
This was our fourth time delivering the conference via live webstreaming, and each time it gets a bit better:
- I wrote stage directions to make sure that people stood where I wanted them to enable easier filming. This will result in a better video, too.
- There was less online “chatter” during the presentations – I hope that means that people were simply paying attention and taking notes. It did make it easier to see the questions being asked (which were thoughtful and on topic).
- I was posting links to references and support groups to our social media accounts as we went on, and that was popular amongst both attendees and the rest of our audience. The objective was to reinforce the learning for attendees (check) and to reinforce the importance and value of these events to those who did not attend. The resources that I was able to share extend our reach, and the communities lifelong learning.
- The final panel of the conference was structured (and worked!) as an opportunity for reflection and tieing things together. The speakers referenced other talks as they discussed their own learning and practice, issuing challenges to the audience. Overall, it was a powerful way to end the conference.
Monday is more summation; we’ll be trying to collect more promised links and resources to send out. The conference may be over, but the learning, change and implementation certainly isn’t.