He added: “Frida Kahlo, a great painter, was in an accident that left her with continuing surgeries on her spine and her neck for the rest of her life. Her friends always called her sick. She once said, ‘I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint.’ That’s what we’re doing at Yahoo–giving people an opportunity to paint.”

The rest of the morning’s panel included speakers who, like Brightman, are testing new ways to help further the advancement of AT.

For example, Lawrence Grossman, co-chair of the Digital Promise project, managed to get Congress to authorize a new research center called the National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies and is now awaiting appropriations.

“Every decade, government makes a great step in the advancement of education,” he said. “I believe the authorization of this center, a center that promotes information and communications technology for the public interest, is the great step of this century. I believe it will help us to further advance in the global economy and have the ability to help students nationwide.”

Mary Furlong, president and CEO of Mary Furlong and Associates, brings new technologies to baby boomers and those over 50 years old.

“You know, older adults don’t want to be disenfranchised,” she said. “Not only are they interested in technology in general, but technology can have a major impact on their [lives]. With Web 2.0 applications, online health reports, WebMD, travel sites, social networking, and much more, baby boomers and the elderly can really be helped. There are so many resources for them, and they shouldn’t be excluded just because it’s new technology.”

Noel Gunther, vice president of Learning and Interactive Media at WETA-TV, said his station has been working on a project for the past 10 years that finally went live a few days ago: http://www.BrainLine.org.

“This site is a support site, information site, resource site, and educational resource site for those with traumatic brain injury,” he said. “We also launched LD Online, a site for students, parents, and educators on learning disabilities and ADHD.”

Gunther says he lives by a quote from Peter Ducker that says, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”


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