SAGE first meeting report

Written by Rachel Menzies, ECHOES Project

On Monday 14th December 2009, the Specialist Advisory Group for ECHOES (SAGE) met for the first time at the University of Birmingham. This workshop brought together a group of 15 experts representing special educations, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, assistive technologies, service provision and support for adults, education psychology, parents and young adults on the autism spectrum. The group also had the expert input of a child and two young adults on the autism spectrum. The goal of this first workshop was to identify the pedagogical role of ECHOES and to ensure that design and development are cohered around this role by making visible the “real-world” experiences of the practitioner experts.

The purpose of SAGE workshops is to assist in the specification of ECHOES, and to remove some of the boundaries between technology development and technology use, bringing together experts from education and service delivery to assist ECHOES in developing a principled synthesis of education and technology evaluation and participatory design. In addition, SAGE can be viewed as a fluid community who will develop and share good practice and further training opportunities as part of ECHOES.

The first workshop was a successful event, with participants providing feedback of the highest quality to the ECHOES team, ranging from the practical implementation of ECHOES as a pedagogical intervention to the theory underpinning its development. This wide range of feedback received will now be reviewed by the ECHOES team and considered in future iterations of design and development.

For more information on SAGE, please contact Dr Karen Guldberg at School of Education, University of Birmingham. Email: or Wendy Keay-Bright at UWIC. Email:

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