Using Technology to Visit Japan

Carson Smith, DO-IT Ambassador

Recently two of my DO-IT Pals, Chris and Alexandra, and I went to Kyoto, Japan. We didn't spend much time there, about fifteen minutes was all. And, we didn't have to pay for a plane ticket! Thanks to iChat video conference technology, we didn't even need to leave Seattle.

Our itinerary simply required that we show up at the DO-IT Center at 6:00 p.m. (11:00 a.m. in Kyoto) and check in with our guide, DO-IT program coordinator Tami Tidwell. The purpose of our trip was to speak at the Assistive Technology and Augmentative Communication Conference (ATAC) where Dr. Mamoru Iwabuchi, a former University of Washington Visiting Professor and DO-IT partner, was giving a talk to teachers, parents, and service providers in Japan. We talked about college preparation and the role of technology in education. Via video, Dr. Iwabuchi asked us questions such as, "What accommodations do you have at school?" and "What have you learned from DO-IT?" He translated our answers to the polite and attentive audience in Kyoto.

As this was my first time in Japan, I was a little nervous, but I think Dr. Iwabuchi was pleased with our answers to his questions. Once we answered the questions we said "Sayonara!" and our journey ended with the click of a mouse. I didn't even get to try any sushi! Despite this, I want to thank Dr. Iwabuchi for his gracious hospitality during our short stay and sincerely hope that we were able to provide helpful input to the conference attendees in Kyoto.