Much has been tweeted and Facebooked this week about the untimely passing of Bev Evans. We have lost a friend and our timelines and news feeds are now much quieter and duller due to her silence.
For the educational ICT and SEN online communities Bev was a dependable constant. Over the last ten years as I moved from ICT teacher to advisory work to 2SimpleAnt and into parenting Autistic children and Senco, she could always share something new or bring advice from her experience.
She was one of the first teachers I knew who shared and advised online. In the early days of the TES forum she used to share her SEN resources and Doctor Who themed ideas with me. Back then you’d have to wait a few minutes for replies to appear, but her experience in special schools and as a mum meant she had a wealth of ideas, knowledge and above all empathy and enthusiasm. So much of what is written about being a parent of a child with Autism of other special need is schmaltzy or confrontational. Bev did not have time for this, she pushed all her energies into her mouse and made a difference.
Bev had an agenda, a passion and mission to tell us all about how tech could give voice and empowerment to those who had little or none of either of them. She discovered early on that technology could transform the experience of children with special needs. She tried, tested and contributed to the making of commercial SEN and ICT products, but most of the time she just made or adapted her own.
One of the most downloaded makers on the TES, she wasn’t in it for the prestige or self promotion. It was just what she did. I could go on but I want to leave space for one of my favourite Bev EVans talks, here at NAACE two years ago, she goes mostly unplugged to talk about the transformational power of technology. Here as on many other occasions she champions inclusion as more than just a word on a PowerPoint slide.
As a footnote, to my mind it would be fitting to see one of EdTech or SEN bodies to create or rebrand one of their awards as The Bev Evans Award. An award that would recognise excellence in the inclusive use of technology.