Fall Agora 2020 ONLINE Starts on Thursday, October 22nd at 10 AM (CEST) with a Live Stream of the Plenary Session

Agora is a conference aimed at the topic of ICT usage by the visually impaired. Just like its Spring run, the Fall one (the 12th one in total) is going to take place in the online environment.

We are kicking it off on Thursday, October 22nd with a live stream of the plenary session, which will be followed by a selection of online workshops concerning various chosen topics in the coming weeks.

As has already become customary, Agora is an ideal place for learning about the recent developments in the field, some of which will be introduced in Czech for the first time, as well as for gaining new knowledge or deepening your current skills in the area of ICT for the visually impaired.

The Programme of Fall Agora 2020 ONLINE

What have we prepared for you in collaboration with the lecturers this time around? The programme includes 8 presentations covering various topics– we will learn about the benefits of the RightHear audible wayfinding system, about practical experiences with using the OrCam MyEye wearable camera, about news in the field of making mobile devices accessible, we’ll take at least a short virtual tour of the VIDA! (Let’s See!) Center, and we will conclude with learning about the possibilities of using refreshable Braille displays not just for blind education.

  • Idan Meir: The revolution of audible wayfinding systems
  • Tomáš Kadlec: OrCam MyEye from a Visually Impaired User’s Perspective
  • Kristýna Savaryová: What’s Going on at BlindShell: BlindShell Touch
  • Matěj Plch: Jieshuo screen reader international: A Flexible Screen Reader for Google Android
  • Jan Husák: BIG Launcher – From the Elderly to the Visually Impaired
  • Julie Tomaňová: Two Years of Science without Borders at the VIDA! Center
  • Michal Jungmann: The Orbit Reader Braille Notetaker – Experiences and News
  • Roman Kabelka: Utilizing Braille Displays not Just in Blind Education

Presentation Abstracts

Idan Meir: The Revolution of Audible Wayfinding Systems

In this talk, Idan Meir, CEO & Co-founder of RightHear will discuss the practical values of audible wayfinding systems for people with orientation challenges, including the blind and visually impaired. Idan will also emphasize the value for businesses and organizations that decided to turn themselves into more accessible environments with such systems. During the presentation, Idan will share the takeaways and insights they have learned from their case studies with the RightHear solution.

Tomáš Kadlec: OrCam MyEye from a Visually Impaired User’s Perspective

Tomáš, a visually impaired user, is going to present a practical demonstration of the OrCam MyEye wearable smart device. This device makes it possible to read text, recognize faces or banknotes, and identifies products from their bar codes. In the video, we are going to follow Tomáš on his usual shopping session and we will witness how this assistive device works directly in real life.

Kristýna Savaryová: What’s Going on at BlindShell: BlindShell Touch

During the presentation, we’ll discuss the news at BlindShell, what we’re working on and what lies ahead of us, and we will also provide a more detailed introduction to our most recent phone called BlindShell Touch.

Matěj Plch: Jieshuo screen reader international: A Flexible Screen Reader for Google Android

It’s already been 18 months since this dynamically expanding piece of software first appeared in our country. Most of you certainly know what I’m currently working on above all else. It’s exactly that – making this very promising app available to blind users.

In my short talk, I’d like to let you in on the most recent news in the software’s development, point out some of its key features, and also talk about what has changed in the international version of the screen reader. I can also promise you the complete Czech localization of the current release, thus the only task left for you will be to just throw away your prejudices and at least give this complex product a try.

I think the current conditions are finally more than suitable for that.

Jan Husák: BIG Launcher – From the Elderly to the Visually Impaired

More than a million downloads, support for 50 global languages, being preinstalled in smartphones all over the world. The Czech BIG Launcher has been one of the best apps to simplify the Android environment for the elderly and the visually impaired in the long term. However, it all started as a simple weekend project. Eight years ago. Jan Husák, BIG Launcher’s co-founder, is going to talk about the longest weekend of his life.

Julie Tomaňová: Two Years of Science without Borders at the VIDA! Center

Two years ago, our science center in Brno joined the challenge of unifying the formal and informal education for students with specific needs. We’ve been developing popularizing and educational programmes and gradually modifying the various elements of our exhibition for blind and partially sighted visitors. More about our failures as well as small successes in our attempt to move forward in the direction of better accessibility will be revealed by the "see-entist" Julie Tomaňová.

Michal Jungmann: The Orbit Reader Braille Notetaker – Experiences and News

At Fall Agora 2019, the new Orbit Reader 20 Braille notetaker was first introduced in the Czech Republic. Michal Jungmann from the Galop company will thus briefly present the experiences of its users after they’ve been using it for a year, and what’s recently emerged in the world of the Orbit notetakers.

Roman Kabelka: Utilizing Braille Displays not Just in Blind Education

Every blind screen reader user has probably encountered a Braille display at some point or another, and many of them have been asking the same question: “what use could this be to me when I’ve already been using a high-quality voice synthesis?” There are situations where this is obvious, e.g. mathematics studies, but the scope of a Braille display’s usefulness can be much broader – from gaining important literacy, language studies, all the way to professional usage in your field of expertise.

Me and my colleagues have put together a guide which I’d like to briefly introduce. It discusses the role of Braille displays as assistive devices which are important for educational as well as professional usage. The guide also puts emphasis on covering their functional possibilities, so that everyone who is interested in such a device can choose the right model for their needs.

Live Streaming

You will be able to watch the live stream in English at agora.muni.cz/program/plenarni-sekce, or alternatively at the YouTube channel of the Teiresiás Center.

Archives of the streams will subsequently be made available for those who are interested but won’t be able to join us live at the time of the event.

The Partners of Agora

Agora wouldn’t be possible without our partners, who support it financially or otherwise. We are very pleased that even this year, the collaboration with both of Agora’s main partners still continues: The Deloitte company who remains the main partner of Agora, and the Czech Radio Endowment Fund which has supported Agora thanks to the Světluška fund. We thank you for your trust and long-term partnership.

The Facebook Archive of Spring Agora 2020

In Conclusion

The plenary session will be followed by online workshops discussing chosen topics in the coming weeks. We will gradually provide you with new information at the Agora website, the Poslepu.cz blog, the Pélion portal, and on our social media.

We’ll be pleased if you join the online Agora and spread the word about it to your friends who might find it useful.

We are looking forward to meeting you.

Radek Pavlíček & Pepa Konečný
On behalf of the entire team

Fall Agora 2020 Online is part of the "High-quality Inclusive Education for Primary and Secondary School Students with Specific Educational Needs" project (project no. CZ.02.3.62/0.0/0.0/16_037/0004872), PV KA2 – School as the Central Point for Collegial Support.

About Agora

Agora is a conference aimed at the topic of ICT usage by visually impaired users. Since 2015, it’s been organized by the Teiresiás Center at Masaryk University, with support from the Deloitte company, the Czech Radio Endowment Fund (the Světluška – Firefly – fund), and other partners.

Despite its relatively young age, Agora has already built up an excellent reputation among visually impaired users of ICT. The recent runs have regularly had over 150 participants, and the number keeps increasing. Agora is the perfect place where its participants can learn, in an accessible environment, about how ICT can aid them in overcoming the barriers in their studies or career as well as in the everyday life.

About the Teiresiás Center

The event is organized by the Teiresiás Center, officially called The Center for Supporting Students with Specific Needs, which has been established by the Masaryk University in Brno in 2000. Its goal is to ensure for the study fields accredited at the university to be as accessible as possible even for blind and visually impaired students, students who are deaf or hard of hearing, who have a motor impairment or other disabilities.

The center is the guarantor of the life-long education programme for the blind, which aims to make it possible for the general public with a visual impairment to increase their knowledge in the individual subjects of the university’s accredited fields of study in a blind-accessible way, regardless of their age or social status.

More information at www.teiresias.muni.cz.

Radek Pavlíček

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